Artists Jacques Adnet

Jacques Adnet

The Adnet twins (1900-84), Jacques and Jean, were born at the turn of the last century into a world astounded by its own inventiveness. Adnet’s designs pay tribute to the century of speed & steel, aeroplanes & electricity. His clean lines were fit for the new arts of photography and cinematography. Adnet was not at all nostalgic for the aristocratic aesthetics of empire, but rather adapted a Louis Seize purity of form and refinement to the dictates of 20th century functionalism.

Jacques & Jean spent their adolescent years during the First World War studying at the Municipal School of Design in Auxerre, before transferring to L’École des Arts Décoratifs to study architecture under Charles Genuys (1852-1928). Adnet’s formal training in architecture and subsequent professional career as one of the very first ensembliers-décorateurs (set designer/artist-decorator) reflects the burgeoning camaraderie and overlapping identities of architects, designers & artisans of the time.

After the war, the brothers joined La Maîtrise, the in-house studio set up by Galeries Lafayette (1921), where they trained under the aegis of Art Déco designers Henri Rapin (1873-1939) and Maurice Dufrêne (1976-1955). The Adnet brothers and Art Déco design concurrently reached maturity in the mid-1920s. Jacques & Jean enjoyed much success together, exhibiting at the Salons under the joint name J.-J. Adnet, including the famed 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, from which the contracted name for the ‘Art Déco’ category is derived. The brothers exhibited work in La Maîtrise, the Ambassade Française, and at a stand of their own on the Esplanade des Invalides. Their stand was illuminated with what would become Adnet’s signature tubular glass fixtures, often arranged at right angles or in zig-zag formations that effected an almost kinetic energy. Adnet created forms fit for the still new spectacle of electricity as it was incorporated into the home. He eschewed excessive ornamentation in the ivory, mother of pearl, or gilt bronze typical of luxury Art Deco work, instead integrating glass and metal in both construction and decoration.

At the age of twenty-eight, the twins parted ways as Jean became sales manager at the Galleries Lafayette and Jacques took over La Compagnie des Arts Français (CAF). CAF was founded in 1919 by Louis Süe & André Mare, but failed to prosper until Adnet’s avant-garde directorship. Here, Adnet transcended the genre that had nurtured him, moving stylistically toward a sober yet sumptuous aesthetic with the linear arrangement of smoked glass, precious woods, chromed metal, mirror, and leather. Jacques remained at CAF until its closing in 1959, and then accepted the directorship of its successor institution, L’Ecole Nationale Supérreure d’Art Décoratifs.

By the end of the Second World War, Adnet was widely imitated and enjoyed many prestigious commissions, including a mansion for the Riviera casino owner Frank Jay Gould, a studio for the French President at the chateau de Rambouillet, the private apartments of President Vincent Auriol at the at the Palais de l’Élysée, and the meeting room at UNESCO’s international headquarters in Paris. During the 1950s, Adnet’s collaboration with Hermès resulted in a range of now iconic leather-covered furniture, as well as the popularization of glass-topped tables. His perennially elegant designs feel modern to this day, and remain among the most coveted pieces in the world.

From the collection :

  • Table Lamp $ 8,500

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11609

    Table Lamp

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11609

    $8,500

  • Set of Four Chairs $ 27,000/pair

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11613

    Set of Four Chairs

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11613

    $27,000/pair

  • Pair of Coat Hooks $ 5,500

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11572

    Pair of Coat Hooks

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11572

    $5,500

  • Table Lamp/Sculpture $ 9,500

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11040

    Table Lamp/Sculpture

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-11040

    $9,500

  • Desk $ 28,500

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-9917

    Desk

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-9917

    $28,500

  • Sideboard $ 55,000

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-6739

    Sideboard

    Jacques Adnet (1900-1984)
    Code : N-6739

    $55,000