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Adnet, Jacques - Biography

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Jacques Adnet was a furniture designer known for his Art Deco Modernist designs and was an icon of French Modernism. Distinctly avant garde, Adnet and was among the first to expect metal and glass to integrate with the structure and decoration of furniture. Adnet used exotic woods with a combination of metal, smoked or plain glass, leather, galuchat, parchment, and mirrors. Summing up his streamlined, elegant design aesthetic, Adnet remarked: "What a lot of work to achieve simplicity".

Jacques Adnet was born in 1900 near Bourgogne and he was educated at the Municpal School of Design in Auxerre and the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs where he studied architecture. Upon graduation, he established the firm J.J. Adnet with his twin brother, Jean. He was acknowledged as one of the most exciting young designers of both the 1925 Salon D'Automne and Les Expositions des Arts Decoratifs. In 1928, he accepted the directorship of La Compagnie des Arts Francais, the atelier which had been founded by Sue et Mare in 1919. CAF provided Adnet with an ideal platform from which to promote his modernist designs. These incorporated precious woods, chromed metals, embellishments such as mirror, leather, parchment and smoked glass in linear styles with decoration pared away wherever possible.

Adnet presided over the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs from 1947 to 1949. During the 50s, he created furniture and concentrated on the numerous commissions he received, such as the decoration of the private apartments of the President at the Elysée Palace or the meeting room of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. In 1959 he became the director of the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris until 1970.




His team of artists and decorators included: Francis Jourdain, Charlotte Perriand, Alexandre Noll, Serge Mouille and Georges Jouve. His style incorporated the use of the very expensive veneers. After the Second World War, he was President of the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs from 1948 to 1949 and he exhibited regularly there and at the Salon des Arts Menagers. During the 1950s he created leather-covered furniture with Hermes. He redecorated Frank Jay Gould's house, Mme. Alice Cocea's apartment, the study of the French President at the chateau de Rambouillet (1947), the private apartments of President Vincent Auriol at the Elysee, many luxury ocean liners like the Ferdinand de Lesseps (1952),Unesco (1958). In 1959, he ceased his activities with the Compagnie des Arts francais to direct the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. In 1970 Adnet became director of École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs. He died in 1984 having created a legacy of fine design that feels “modern” even today.

As Louis Cherronnet states in his monograph "Jacques Adnet", published in Art and Industrie: "Adnet is among the first to expect metal and glass to incorporate with the structure and decoration of furniture, where they will complement the ample space and bare surfaces created by the reinforced concrete and by their sparkle -- the effects of electricity."


By 1928, had become Director of La Compagnie des Arts Français (CAF) - at the age of 28.
CAF provided Adnet with an ideal platform from which to promote his modernist designs.
These incorporated precious woods, chromed metals, embellishments such as mirror, leather, parchment and smoked glass in linear styles with decoration pared away wherever possible.

He died in 1984 having created a legacy of fine design that feels “modern” even today.