The French painter, ceramicist and tapestry designer Jean Lurçat was born on 1st July 1892 in Bruyères (Vogesen). He is regarded as the most important contemporary representative of tapestry. During the beginning of his artistic career, his work was influenced by impressionism, and later, cubism.
Jean Lurcat studied under the painters Prouve and Laffitte in Nancy, and subsequently attended the Ècole des Beaux-Arts and the artist Filippo Calarossi’s private art academy. In 1917 Jean Lurçat executed embroidered wall carpets in Stramin and during the interwar years was already a well-known painter. In 1933 Lurçat had his first tapisserie manufactured in Ausbusson. During World War Two, Jean Lurçat was actively involved in the French resistance to the German occupation.
Following the war, his aim was to take the "The tapisserie virus throughout the whole world". Over the following 20 years, he held large exhibitions of his tapestries, paintings, drawings and ceramics on all continents. In 1957, he began a series of monumental tapestries, the "Chant du monde" (Songs of the World). This ten-part work depicts a modern 20th century apocalypse and is now held in the Musée Jean Lurçat in Angers.
In 1959, the artist participated in the "documenta II" in Kassel and in 1962, he founded the International Centre for Old and New Tapestries, which organised the "International Tapisserie Biennale" in Lausanne. Jean Lurcat’s tapestries decorate numerous famous buildings, such as the UNO-Building in New York City and the Mercatorhalle in Duisburg, which contains the "The Tree and the Man" (1960) and "The Sun and the Sea" (1961). Jean Lurçat died on 6th January 1966 in St. Paul de Vence.
Some years after his death, the Jean Lurçat society was founded in Eppelborn (Saarland). In 2002 the society opened the Jean Lurçat-Museum, which contains 300 works, providing visitors with a broad overview of Lurçat’s artistic output.