New York City, NY
The Jewish Museum presents the first U.S. exhibition focused on French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883-1950). Showcasing rare furniture, light fixtures, and interiors, as well as designs for important projects in Europe and America, including the famous Maison de Verre in Paris and the Robert Motherwell House in East Hampton, Long Island, the exhibition will bring together rarely-seen works from major public and private collections around the world.
Pierre Chareau rose from modest beginnings in Bordeaux to become one of the most sought after designers in France. Creating custom furniture and interiors for an elite clientele that included leading figures of the French-Jewish intelligentsia, Chareau uniquely balanced the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with the clean lines and industrial materials of Modernism. Through his highly distinctive artistic language, Chareau established himself at the intersection of tradition and innovation, becoming a major figure in 20th century design.
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design proposes a fresh look at the internationally recognized designer in order to showcase his beautiful pieces in a fuller cultural context between the wars, highlighting his circle of influential patrons, engagement with the period’s foremost artists, and designs for the film industry. Chareau's active patronage of the arts—and his collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by significant artists such as Picasso, Braque, Lipchitz, Mondrian, Chagall, and Modigliani—will be another important aspect of the exhibition.
The exhibition will also explore the enduring consequences of Chareau’s flight from Nazi persecution, the dispersal of many of his pieces during and after World War II, and his attempts to rebuild his career while in exile in New York during the 1940s.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design , explores the life and career of the designer and architect Pierre Chareau, who was a pivotal figure in modernism. His extraordinary Art Deco furniture is avidly collected and his visionary glass house, the Maison de Verre, is celebrated, but the breadth of his design genius has been little explored. Chareau linked architecture, fine arts, and style; designed furniture for avant-garde films and chic homes; collected artists such as Picasso and Mondrian; and was a radical innovator in the use of materials. Essays by leading scholars embrace the full scope of his invention, offering detailed analyses of individual projects, the interdisciplinary nature of his work, his Jewish background, his place in the avant-garde of Paris between the wars, and his more recent reception. Extensive illustrations present a rich sampling of Chareau’s furniture, architecture, interiors, fabrics, and wallpapers, as well as his own important art collection.