Working from the 1920s to the 1960s, French architect and designer Jacques Adnet played a large role in several important design movements such as early Art Deco, Neoclassicism and 1950s Modernism. Retaining his signature elegant classicism, he incorporated the tendencies and materials of each decade to his designs and interiors. Adnet’s global repertoire presents a mix of traditional and avant-garde design, and he has labeled himself at once “innovative and classic.” This translated visually into clean lines and refined materials and forms. After studies at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Adnet worked for designers Henri Rapin, Tony Selmersheim, and Maurice Dufrêne before joining La Maîtrise, the design workshop of the Paris department store Les Galeries Lafayette, in 1922. He participated extensively in the 1925 Paris Exposition, creating furniture for his own stand as well as for the “Une Ambassade Française” and La Maîtrise pavilions. In 1928, Adnet became director of La Compagnie des Arts français, advocating a new modernism alongside ceramicists, metalworkers, and designers including Charlotte Perriand, Paul Jouve, Francis Jourdain, René Gabriel, as well as the artists Raoul Dufy, Fernand Léger, and Marc Chagall. In this mindset, he increasingly worked with the industrial metals stainless steel and chrome while retaining traditional and refined materials such as glass, crystal, ebony, rosewood, and sycamore in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s Adnet introduced his well-known collection of leather-covered furniture and lighting. Due perhaps to his architecture background, he envisioned his furniture not as complementing elements of one space but as independent entities. On top of his commissions, ranging from ceramics to the office of the president in the château de Rambouillet (1947), Jacques Adnet exhibited his work widely, notably at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs.
Roberto Aloi, L’arredamento moderno. Milan: U. Hoepli, 1934.
Pierre Kjellberg, Le Mobilier du XXe Siècle. Dictionnaire des Créateurs (Paris: Amateur, 2000) 37-41.
Alain-René Hardy and Gaëlle Millet, Jacques Adnet (Paris: Amateur, 2009).
Alastair Duncan, Art Deco Furniture (London: Thames and Hudson, 1984), 27.