C. Jeré (sometimes referred to as Curtis Jeré) is the signature on designs by New York-born artist Jerry Fels (1917-2007) and German manufacturer Kurt Freiler (b. 1910). The two met in the 1940s and began designing costume jewelry, notably their highly popular Renoir and Matisse brands, made of copper and brightly enameled copper. After an explosion destroyed their factory in 1964, they founded the California-based metalwork company Artisan House where Freiler acted as chief of production and Fels as head of design. They created mainly wall sculptures and decorative arts in their goal to produce “gallery-quality art for the masses” (Modernism Magazine, Spring 2007). Raymor, an avant-garde New York City showroom, distributed the designs. Their wares included wall sculptures, mirrors, andirons, portrait busts, rugs, furniture and hanging fixtures, made in copper, steel, brass, bronze and other mixed media. Often highly ornamental and unconventional, C. Jeré’s well-known motifs include leafy vines, abstract geometrics, birds in flight, and spiky starbursts. Whether representational or abstract, many of the pieces capture the landscape and mood of California. Seen today as pillars of American Modernist design, C. Jeré designs count among the most collectible mid-century decorative pieces.
Fogarty, Kate (2007). “The Talented Mr. Jeré,” Modernism Magazine, Spring, p. 116.
Mitchell Owens (2010) “C. Jeré,” Elle Decor, November, p. 128-30.