At a recent Sotheby’s auction in London, the Miss Blanche armchair, from the Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata, sold for a whopping £269,000 ($409,000 U.S. dollars). The iconic plastic resin chair was named after Blanche Dubois from Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire” and was created in 1988, three years before the artist’s death.
The production of the chair was rather complex, as it required each artificial rose to be held in place for long periods of time so the resin could harden around it. The artist also experimented with using actual roses, but the acrylic resin ruined the flowers before setting. Ultimately it was decided that “fake” materials were more appropriate because Blanch Dubois was in fact superficial.
The chair was first exhibited in 1988 during Tokyo Designers’ Week in an exhibition titled KAGU at the Axis Gallery Annex. A year later it debuted in Paris at Galerie Yves Gastou where it was purchased.
At the time of the artist’s death, only 56 models of the chair had been produced. Other versions of the Miss Blanche belong to permanent collections of New York’s and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Vitra Design Museum.
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