Raymond Subes (1893–1970) was a French metalsmith.
From 1916 on, he worked in Enghien-les-Bains at a small shop run by Emile Robert. In 1919, he started working for Robert’s metal contracting company, Borderel et Robert, at 131 rue Damrémont in Paris. He became head of the design department and then head of the wrought iron workshop.
He worked with a number of architects and quickly became one of the best metalwork designers and makers. In the 1920s, he worked a lot with wrought iron, making things like the pulpit of the cathedral in Rouen, the grilles of the choir entry at the church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and the telescoping lights on the Carousel bridge in Paris.
He also worked with sculptor R. Martin on the monument to General Leclerc at Porte d’Orléans, and with architect Laprade on the tomb of Marshal Lyautey. In the 1930s, he made furniture out of chrome-plated tubular metal for Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann’s nephew and architect Alfred Porteneuve. In 1931, he made a grille for the Permanent Colonial Museum.
He also made a lot of ironwork for the oceanliners 1931 Atlantique, 1926 Ile-de-France, Pasteur, and 1935 Normandie. He also made ironwork for the Banque de France and National City Bank, both on the avenue des Champs-Elysées, and for the Institut Pasteur, Caisse des Dépots et Consignations, Musée de la France d’Outre.
He mostly used patinated, chromed, or gilded wrought iron, polished steel, bronze, and repoussé copper in his work. He used alabaster, Levantine marble, frosted glass, and embroidered silk shades, which Mme. Luhuché-Meéry made for him in the early 1920s. After World War II, he worked as a metalworker and became the head of Borderel et Robert.
Subes work was more austere than his contemporaries. He used welding but preferred to leave on his metal the impress of the hammer. He was frequently employed to materialize the conceptions of others, but generally, the architects who patronized him do so because they like his solidity of expression. Subes represented straight lines and geometrical simplicity.
In 1919, he had his first show. Together with Ruhlmann, he made a lacquered metal bookcase and console for the “Hotel du collectionneur” at the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in Paris in 1925. At the 1937 Paris “Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne,” he made the fountains for the Radio pavillion and a Madonna and Child for the Papal pavillion, as well as many screens, consoles, and grilles for other sections. In 1958, he became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
Paris, F. (1929). The Rejuvenesence of Wrought iron. The Architectural Forum, 50(2), 241–248.
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