FRANCE (1901-1984)

In 1916, Jean Prouvé trained as an art metalworker in Nancy under Emile Robert and, from 1919, under the blacksmith Adalbert-Georges Szabò. Prouvé’s early furnishing commissions brought him into contact with avant-garde designers and architects in France, including Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Robert Mallet-Stevens. Know for his use metal in furniture design, Jean Prouvé rejected traditional techniques in favor of the electrical welding of sheet metal. He opened his own studio in Nancy in 1923 and received various building commissions. Prouvé designed his first furniture in 1923. In 1930, he established Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, located in Maxéville, near Nancy, after World War II. His workshop produced furniture for Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and Charlotte Perriand. In 1930, Prouvé developed the “mur rideau” (curtain wall) replaceable, moveable wall system, the first of its kind. Prouvé used it in the 1938 Club House on the Bud Airfield and later in the 1958 Lycée at Bagnols-sur-Cèze. His patented system of constructing small metal houses on piles was used in Beaudoin’s and Lods’s airport in Bud and Maison du Peuple in Clichy. His other structures included 1949 prefabricated houses in Meudon-Bellevue, 1953 temporary School at Villejuif, 1953 apartment block (with Lionel Mirabaud) in Paris, 1956 units with prefabricated concrete cores for Abbée Pierre, 1957 spa building (with Maurice Novarina) in Evian… In 1929, Jean Prouvé participated in the founding of the UAM (Union des Artistes Modernes), showing at its subsequent exhibitions. He frequently worked with collaborators. To serve a mass culture, Prouvé attempted to create lightweight prefabricated components that were easy to transport and erect. All his furniture was sold exclusively by Steph Simon in Paris.