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PIERRE CHAREAU (1883-1950)

Born in Bordeaux in 1883, Pierre Chareau was one of the first modern French architects to use new materials such as glass and steel, but he was also a decorator, furniture maker, inventor and designer.

From 1899 to 1914, he worked as draughtsman for the British firm Waring & Gillow. It was only after the First World War that Pierre Chareau opened his own furniture design studio at his home on rue Nollet (17th) in Paris. His success at the Salon d'automne and Salon des artistes décorateurs in 1922 soon enabled him to open a store called La Boutique in the Montparnasse area.

 In the manner of Le Corbusier or his friend Mallet-Stevens, he chiseled every unique wooden work with a spring equalling that he gave to the making of furnitures in series. The modular fittings and equipments he realized for private clients meet the various film sets he designed, especially for Marcel L’Herbier, The Inhuman (1924) and Vertigo (1927). For the purpose of the Exposition internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in 1925 in Paris, Pierre Chareau designed an office-library in the Pavilion of the French Embassy, a set which is now reconstructed at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. In 1926, on the occasion of the XVIth Salon des artistes décorateurs, he founded the « Groupe des cinq » composed of Pierre Legrain, Raymond Templier, Jean Puiforcat et Dominique. They deprecated the Société des Artistes Décorateurs because of their high praise of classicism. He was also called by Mallet-Stevens to decorate part of the Villa Noailles in Hyères.
If his architectural work is narrower, it is just as remarkable. After designing the Beauvallon Golf Club House and the Villa Vent d'Aval, he created for his friends the Dalsace his real masterpiece : the Maison de Verre (1928-1931).

Forced to flee France with his wife Dollie in 1940, Pierre Chareau settled in the United States where he ended his days leaving behind him his ultimate achievement, the "One-room" House of the painter Robert Motherwell.