Jean Fouquet (1899 – 1984) was a French jewellery designer. He was active in Paris and was the son of Georges Fouquet. He is credited with creating an ebonite bangle after being moved by the potential offered by machine parts and chrome-plated steel fitted with a surround of ball bearings – possibly inspired by an exhibit on the stand for the French ball-bearing industry at the 1925 Paris Exposition.
The son of the eminent jeweller Georges Fouquet, he soon took a leading role in the Union des Artistes Modernes. His designs showed a distinct affection for sizeable and striking geometric forms. His preference for equally large semi-precious stones was regularly complemented by daring colour combinations, not only with the stones themselves but also with his enamelled settings.
In 1919, he joined as a designer in the family firm, 6 rue Royale, Paris; he was a friend of Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard. Between 1920—25, he collaborated on Le Corbusier’s and Amédée Ozenfant’s review L’Esprit Nouveau: Revue International d’Esthétique. In his jewellery, he developed a liking for abstract compositions. From 1931, his jewellery designs were characterized by pure and simple geometry. In 1929, abandoning the Société des Artistes Décorateurs, he became a founding member of UAM (Union des Artistes Modernes).
He combined ebony, silver, and chrome-plated steel—materials that had never or were only occasionally used in jewellery—in his avant-garde designs. He preferred grey gold that was frequently polished and occasionally grooved over platinum. Regarding lacquer, which transformed the jewellery industry, it gave him an endless colour palette for ornamenting pendants and cigarette cases.
In 1926, 1927, and 1928, Jean presented works at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs under his own name. He not only joined the Union des Artistes Modernes from the beginning, but he also took the lead as a supporter of modern aesthetics. He served as its secretary for a while. During their endless meetings, he would scream with a burning passion, “Is the ideal incompatible with self-interest?” He was renowned for his optimism. A purely graphic pendant with two diamond-encrusted bands and a central sapphire cabochon was chosen by the City of Paris to be given to Her Royal Highness Princess Marie-José of Belgium in 1929 as a result of a lavish exhibition of his work at the Musée Galliera. (Mouillefarine & Possémé, n.d.)
After the family business closed in 1936, he worked on private, unique commissions. Between 1952—55 he collaborated with enamelist Gaston Richet. They produced a series of translucent enamel works. In 1952, he organized a series of conferences, Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. He was active until 1960.
His work was first shown alongside other Fouquet designers at the 1925 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.’ Work first shown under his own name at 1926 and 1928 Salons of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs. Work was shown at all exhibitions of UAM, including the 1949—50 (I) ‘Formes Utiles’ exhibition, Pavillon de Marsan, Paris, where he was responsible for the silver-clock section. At 1937 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne’. From 1950, at ‘Métiers d’Art: Le foyer d’aujourd’hui’ section, Salon des Arts Ménagers. 1956 (I) Triennale d’Art francais Contemporain, Pavillon de Marsan, Paris; 1958 ‘Exposition Universelle et Internation- ale de Bruxelles (Expo “58).’ He organized the 1951 ‘Prévues’ exhibition, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, to show the finest jewellery that relied on high-quality materials. Fouquet’s family work subject of the 1983 exhibition, Paris Musée des Arts Deécoratifs.
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