Following the partition of India in 1947, the State of Punjab had been divided between Pakistan and India. The Indian Punjab needed a new capital to replace Lahore, now Pakistani.

The Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister, decided to build a "new city, symbol of freedom of India freed from traditions and past ... which is an expression of the confidence of the nation in its future.'' After Albert Mayer renounced the project in 1950, Jawaharlal Nehru called upon the Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

unnamed-42 Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier

Along with Maxwell Fry, Jane B Drew and Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier's cousin, created the new capital of Punjab in 1951. In less than 10 years, a city had been born, which today, is the largest concentration of works by Le Corbusier on the planet.

Chandigarh-India-Le-Corbu-007 The Chandigarh Legislative Assembly building

dsc_0660 Le Corbusier's High Court

On March 12, a selection of pieces from this incredible triumph of design will be going under the gavel at Oise Enchères.

If his famed cousin and longtime colleague Charles-Édouard Jeanneret — better known as Le Corbusier — was the visionary, then Pierre Jeanneret was the doer - realizing his cousin's visions. In recent years, Jeanneret has emerged from Le Corbusier’s shadow, as collectors have discovered his simple and striking furniture creations.

Jeanneret studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva. After he graduated in 1921 he became a partner in Le Corbusier’s office in Paris. The pair collaborated on numerous residential projects, most notably the Villa Savoye, the iconic modernist house in suburban Paris which he completed in 1931. Jeanneret also worked with the great Charlotte Perriand on the Grand Modele line of tubular metal furnishings that was a sensation at the annual Salon d’Automne design expo in 1929.

Pierre Jeanneret set of two "senate-committee Chairs" in teak Pierre Jeanneret set of two "senate-committee Chairs" in teak

Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret judge chair Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret judge chair

A rift developed between Jeanneret and his cousin during World War II, as the former joined the French resistance, while Le Corbusier cooperated with the occupation Vichy authorities. The two did not work together again until 1950, when Le Corbusier persuaded Jeanneret to help execute the master plan for the new city of Chandigarh in Punjab, India. Jeanneret lived and worked there until the final years of his life.

Pierre Jeanneret solid teak desk and teak veneer. Rectangular tray with falling sides and supported by a double "compass" leg. Pierre Jeanneret solid teak desk and teak veneer. Rectangular tray with falling sides and supported by a double "compass" leg.

A hallmark of Jeanneret's furniture designs is his great sensitivity to materials. In contrast to the tubular-steel chairs produced by Marcel Breuer and other members of the Bauhaus, the chrome metal pieces designed by Jeanneret and Perriand — including such as the now-classic LC/4 chaise longue and the Grand Confort lounge chair — have a sensuous, relaxed and welcoming look.

Pierre Jeanneret set of two "office cane elegant chairs." Pierre Jeanneret set of two "office cane elegant chairs."

While Jeanneret uses essentially geometric forms for his wooden seating pieces, they exude warmth by nature of the material. One of his first manufactured designs in wood is the Model 92 Scissors chair, licensed by Hans and Florence Knoll when they were touring postwar France.

Pierre Jeanneret storage cabinet for plans, four drawers in front, resting on four inclined feet. Teak wood. Circa 1959-1965. Pierre Jeanneret storage cabinet for plans, four drawers in front, resting on four inclined feet. Teak wood. Circa 1959-1965.

Jeanneret's finest work in furniture was done in Chandigarh, and these are the pieces that have earned him his very recent recognition as a great designer. Crafted in teak, the designs range from low-slung lounge chairs and armchairs with cane seats to desks and tables, most with Jeanneret’s signature drafting compass-shaped legs. Many such pieces on the market today are refurbished, having been found by dealers languishing in scrapyards in India in the late 1990s. Chandigarh is now taking better care of its modernist heritage, making Jeanneret works all the more rare on the secondary market.

All pieces featured will be part of Oise Enchères' auction on March 12. Check out full catalog here.

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