René Kieffer (1875 -1964) – French Bookbinder

René Kieffer was a French bookbinder and publisher; active Paris. He studied Ecole Estienne, Paris, in 1889.

René Kieffer - book cover
René Kieffer – book cover

Biography

He was a gilder at the Chambolle-Duru bindery for ten years. In 1903, he set up his workshop at 99 boulevard St-Germain, Paris. Later he moved to 41 rue St-Andre-des-Arts and finally, in 1910, to 18 rue Seguier.

A disciple of Henri Marius ­Michel, his work shifted from classical forms to motifs in the Art Nouveau style. He was known for his use of bright colours in careful designs. Between 1917-23, he produced the designs of Pierre Legrain for Jacques Doucet’s library. His clients including Franchetti, Freund-Deschamps, Dr Henri Voisin, Count de Verlet, R. Marty, A. Ramuz, and Henri Vever.

René Kieffer - book cover
René Kieffer – book cover

In the 1920s, he began to publish books, some with George Blaizot. In the 1930s, his covers incorporated metal disks encrusted with cabochons of iridescent glass and red glass beads, seen in Luxures by Maurice Rollinat and Roman de Renart shown at 1937 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Technique clans la Vie Moderne. Other books included Petrone et Anac­reon and Le crepuscule des Dieux, which showed metal panels and portrait medallions.

Recognition

His work was first shown at 1903 Salon of the Societe des Artistes Decorateurs. As a binder and publisher, he was vice-president of the book division of 1925 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes.’ Work shown at 1937 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne.’

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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