Artist: Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti

With more than $1 million in sales, we celebrate the singular and revolutionary vision of Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti whose surreal and functional body of work from the 1980s and 1990s conjures a new romanticism in the decorative realm.
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It is in fact nothing short of a re-founding of the decorative arts, far from theoretical dictates and other proponents of good taste that Garouste and Bonetti invite us—summoning us to a place where the charms of the strange and of the magical mix with the unheard of luxury of simplicity.

Pierre Staudenmeyer

Four Things to Know about Garouste and Bonetti

They debuted their first collection, Barbare at the Jansen House of Interior Design in Paris in 1981. The works earned them the moniker "les nouveaux barbares."

Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti Barbare chair $7,500

Bonetti believes the Chaise Barbare and Lune lamp are the most emblamatic works of their design sensibilites.

The duo have designed interiors for the likes of Bernard Picasso, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and Christian Lacroix.

Garouste considers a spirit of "restless wandering" to be important in their work, along with "being subversive within oneself, being at once past and future."

I was oriented toward a mystico-invented world: all inanimate objects had a soul...I was always attracted to the very theatrical world of furniture, like something out of Alice in Wonderland: terrifying objects, some merely dreamt.

Elizabeth Garouste

Auction Results Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti

There is another way of looking at our work: as being far more immediate, physical, almost carnal and spontaneous. If there is cynicism, there is also a tenderness. And there is above all a lot of irony involved in being able to create. Our objects vehicle at once irony and seriousness. The ornament hides and reveals meaning.

Mattia Bonetti

Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti

Élizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti began their illustrious partnership in 1981, designing furniture and lighting on the forefront of a new romanticism that celebrated whimsy, absurdity and luxury. Working from the basis that “good taste bothers [them],” Garouste and Bonetti returned to and re-imaged design that was highly decorative. They infused this extravagance with the wit and irony of self-awareness, bridging the sensibilities of the early and late 20th century.

Élizabeth Garouste was born in 1946 in Paris, the daughter of Russian immigrants. She studied interior design at the École Camondo in Paris. She worked designing theater sets and in the fashion industry before meeting Mattia Bonetti, a Swiss designer, born in 1952, who was trained in textile design at the Centro Scolastico per l’Industria Artistica in Lugano. He also worked as a product designer, stylist and photographer.

The duo was named Designers of the Year at the International Furniture Fair in 1991. Their work is held in such prestigious collections as the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

To learn more about a work by Garouste and Bonetti in your collection, contact our specialists.
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