Tom Thomas

20th Century European Decorative Arts


November 03, 2003 - December 12, 2003
Image of Jacques Adnet

Jacques Adnet is a seminal figure in the history of French 20th Century Decorative Arts. His career spanned almost one half century roughly from 1920 to 1970, a time of enormous change in life, culture and art. No matter what the circumstance Adnet sensed the zeitgeist and created meaningful works relevant to period and lifestyle.

Jacques Adnet: Leather Bed and Side Tables

For this reason it is difficult to classify Adnet into a category. Traditionalist, Art deco practitioner, modernist, modern humanist, post-war visionary are all relevant labels. Although there are obvious contradictions between them, all are applicable and true.

Jacques Adnet: Leather Bed detail

Born in 1900 Jacques Adnet and his brother Jean studied and worked together until 1927 when they separated. Jacques took over the firm of Le Compagnie des Arts Francais from renowned Art deco makers Louis Sue and Andre Mare and retooled it from its Art Deco emphasis to an innovative Modernist approach.

Jacques Adnet: Leather Bed detail

Jacques Adnet: Leather Bed detail

He brought in collaborators such as the painters Dufy, Leger, Lurcat and Chagall and innovative furniture designers like Francis Jourdain, Charlotte Perriand and Rene Gabrielle. This was typical of Adnet throughout his career, to bring in important collaborators and to lead the way with new fashions.

After the Second World War Adnet started in another new direction. He began to develop modern furniture composed of a sleek metal frame covered by hand-stitched leather. In this way Adnet was seeking to appeal to a new generation seeking to be un-encumbered from the effects of the war that had devastated Europe. The furniture was inspired by this new generation seeking freedom and luxury and was further inspired by the image of travel on ocean liners and the mobile lifestyle of the week-end home. The furniture took on a manly, virile character that would fit in offices and men's bedrooms and studies alike. Metal was civilized by the effect of hand-stitched leather. Adnet was able to use his well honed sculptural abilities to design light steel frames that embodied classical and modern sensibilities. He was able to appeal to tradition and innovation in the same simple, elegant movement.

Tom Thomas is proud to have an exhibition featuring rare leather works by Jacques Adnet. In particular a large bed and accompanying side tables acquired from an important collector in the environs of Chateau de Rambouillet. In addition, a desk and rare un-restored chairs in leather and plaid upholstery will be shown.

Jacques Adnet: Pair of Leather Side Tables

Jacques Adnet: Rare Leather Desk

Jacques Adnet: Rare Leather Desk