Maurice DUFRENE ((1876-1955))
Maurice Dufrêne by the Dictionnaire des Artistes Décorateurs, Mobilier et Décoration, n°8, 1953 :
"Born in Paris on January 7, 1876, Maurice Dufrêne was meant for the Ecole Centrale but his tastes turned him away and he passed brilliantly through the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, then in 1899, entered the "Maison Moderne", with Van de Velde, Horta, Seurat, Plumet, Sellmersheim.
Since 1900 he exhibited at the Société des Artistes Français, then at the Nationale: he participated in the beginnings of the Salon d'Automne and contributed, with René Guilleré, to the foundation, in 1902, of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs. From then on, he devoted himself to all works of decoration: furniture sets, interior architecture, objects, fabrics, jewelry... in 1911 he was a professor at the Ecole Boulle, then at the Ecole de la Ville, rue Madame, at the Ecole Normale de dessin and at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs.
Vice President of the Salon d'Automne for the Decorative Arts section, President of the Society of Decorative Artists, of the furniture class at the 1925 exhibition, of the general admission committee in 1937 and Vice President of the International Superior Jury. He gave numerous conferences in the provinces and abroad and organized, for the various ministries concerned, exhibitions in France and abroad.
In 1920 he founded the "La Maîtrise" workshops at the Galeries Lafayette, which he managed for over twenty years. He decorated and furnished the private residences of personalities of arts and letters. The State entrusted him with numerous commissions for Les Gobelins, Beauvais, the Mobilier National, embassies and for the Elysée Palace. He also designed theater decorations. Expert to the Tribunal de la Seine and the Court of Appeal, Maurice Dufrêne is Commander of the Legion of Honor.
Maurice Dufrêne is at the origin of the contemporary decorative art that did not exist before 1900. He is one of those, with Plumet, Sellmersheim, Bonnier and especially Frantz Jourdain who invented it, fought to impose it. Very quickly Dufrêne, convinced of the renovation to be undertaken, attacked all the branches of interior decoration that he marked with his imagination and his personality. His extreme skill extended the field of his experiments: everything was feasible for him. Logical spirit, independent who was never influenced by the fashions coming from abroad, he conceived the architecture, the construction of the furniture, the objects, by speaking about the matter. (...)
He realized installations of great luxury at a time when all refinements were allowed: white morocco furniture and black lacquer supports: room in gilded bronze and Baccarat crystal trimmed with black satin and at the same time he knew how to harmonize resolutely modern furniture in an old frame (...)".