The French Union of Modern Artists (Union des artistes modernes; UAM)

Democratic Design of the Union des Artistes Modernes

The French Union of Modern Artists (Union des artistes modernes; UAM) was a movement made up of decorative artists and architects, founded in France on 15 May 1929 and active until 1959.

Initially made up of about 20 dissidents of the Société des Artistes-Décorateurs (SAD) and led by Robert Mallet-Stevens, the UAM proposed a powerful and aggressive alternative to the SAD. Motivated towards making a clean break from the past and struggling against objects in style, artists of the union proclaimed ‘We must rise against everything that looks rich, against whatever is well made, and against anything inherited from grandmother…impose will where habit is not invoked…overcome the habit of the eyes’. Young jewellers entered the union intending to produce works of art in their field through the use of less costly materials, making them more affordable than the current pattern of expensive jewellery whites.

The members of the UAM participated annually in the Salon d’Automne with an exhibition created by The Group’ and emphasised design over decoration. The interiors were designed to work with the architecture of concrete, steel and glass, and the furniture made of metal structures was arranged inside without additional decoration. Numerous shows and manifestos reinforced Their message (it’s first in 1934 ‘For Modern Art as a Frame for Contemporary Life’) and their activity peaked at the 1937 World Fair in Paris, where Francis Jourdain’s rationalist work was seen in his interior design for A Workers Home. The storage and organisation capabilities of Marcel Gascoin were shown in his library exhibition.


Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 7). The French Union of Modern Artists. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:42, December 19, 2020, from

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