Jean Dunand (1877 – 1942) 🇨🇭 Swiss sculptor, metalworker, artisan

Jean Dunand Art Deco Lacquer and Eggshell Cigarettes Case 'Signed'
Jean Dunand Art Deco Lacquer and Eggshell Cigarettes Case ‘Signed’

Jean Dunand (1877 – 1942) was a Swiss sculptor, metalworker, and artisan.

Education

He studied at the École des Arts Industriels, Geneva.

Biography

He settled in Paris in 1896. He began working with sculptor Jean Dampt, an admirer of John Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts movement. He worked as a sculptor from 1896—1902; studied coppersmithing in Geneva and turned to metalworking. In 1903, set up a studio in Paris. In 1905, exhibited his first vases in the Art Nouveau style in hammered copper, steel, tin, lead, and silver. In 1909, seeing the work of Paris-based Japanese craftsmen, he turned to lacquer and changed his name to Jean Dunand. In c1913, moved from Art Nouveau to geometric form. In 1912, learned lacquering from Japanese artist Seizo Sugawara, who had taught Eileen Gray.

In 1919, he began producing lacquer panels, tables, chairs, and other pieces of work for Pierre Legrain, Eugene Printz, Jean Goulden, and Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann to incorporate into their works. His furniture designs after the war, in straight lines and planes, ideally suited lacquer decorations in near natural colours or tinted with black and red and in tortoiseshell effects. Dunand is credited with inventing the use of crushed eggshell in lacquer, known as coquille d’oeuf. In 1919, he opened a workshop, 70 rue Hallé, Paris, to meet the rapidly growing demand for his goods that including lacquer, metal, and cabinetry. His infrequent collaborators included Serge Rovinski, Georges Dorinac, Henri de Varoquier, and Bieler. He created monumental screens from his own designs and those by Paul Jouve, Frangois-Louis Schmied, Ruhlmann, Printz, Gustav Miklos, and Jean Lambert-Rucki. His clients included clothing designers Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne Lanvin, Ambassador Bertholet, Mme. Yakoupovitch, and Mme. Labourdette. For Mme. Labourdette’s smoking salon, he produced four large decorative murals in lacquer with sculptured relief.

Other commissions included lacquered panels for the 1927 Ile-de-France, 1931 Atlantique, and 1935 Normandie oceanliners. Dunand and Lambert-Rucki collaborated on widely published lacquer screens and decorative pieces. Dunand diluted lacquer to paint fabrics for scarves and dresses for Agnés; designed handbags and belt buckles for Madeleine Vionnet.

Exhibitions

His work was first shown (as sculptor-metalworker) at 1904 Salon of Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Work shown regularly at Salons of Société des Artistes Décorateurs and at 1910 Brussels ‘Exposition Universelle et Industrielle.’ In 1921 in group exhibition with Paul Jouve, Francois-Louis Schmied, and Jean Goulden, first pieces of lacquered furniture, screens, and panels shown at Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. Lacquer work in smoking room of ‘Une Ambassade frangaise’ and (with Ruhlmann) Hotel du Collectionneur at 1925 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décorat- ifs et Industriels Modernes’ and in 1931 Paris ‘Exposition Coloniale.’ Work subject of exhibition 1973 ‘Jean Dunand—Jean Gouden,’ Galerie du Luxembourg, Paris.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

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