Paul FRECHET (1908 - 1949)
Paul Fréchet was born in Nantes in 1908 where his father André Fréchet (1875-1973) taught art history at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He followed him to Paris when André became a professor and then the director of the Ecole Boulle. Student at the prestigious school from 1923, his teacher was among others Maurice Dufrêne and he simultaneously studied at the Ecole du Louvre. In 1927, Paul won first prize in a competition for the furnishing of a dining room he designed for the Île-de-France liner.
André Fréchet had a great admiration for Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and students from the Ecole Boulle, who had a perfect mastery of drawing and traditional techniques of traditional French cabinet making, regularly joined his workshop. This is how Paul Fréchet was hired by his former schoolmates such as Maxime Old as a draughtsman in Ruhlmann's workshops. Building on this experience, the first pieces of furniture he designed were loyal to the elegance of his master's models. From the end of the 1920s, Paul Fréchet collaborated with his father, whose furniture was published by the Strasbourg firm Jacquemin, the Vérot firm, the Jeanselme firm and then, between 1935 and 1937, the Roche firm. André and Paul Fréchet participated assiduously in the Salons des Artistes Décorateurs and in 1932 presented dining-room furniture in varnished walnut and gilded bronzes, a young girl's bedroom in pink wood which was particularly appreciated by the critics, an anteroom as well as ladies' furniture. In 1933, father and son presented furniture for a large gallery with Beauvais tapestries and a mahogany boudoir. The 1937 Exhibition had the most creations by Paul Fréchet, including a games room, a child's bedroom, a bedroom and dining room for the Normandy Pavilion, a desk and chairs for the hall of honour of the Ile-de-France Pavilion, a large desk and a living room for the Furniture Pavilion and, last but not least, the office of the Exhibition's Commissioner General Paul Léon.
Paul Fréchet was commissioned to create numerous pieces for private clients as well as for the Elysée Palace and for the General Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies in Morocco. Jean Cocteau chose him to carry out numerous works for his house in Milly-la-Forêt and for his house Rue Montpensier. A premature death on 12 August 1949 during a trip to Porto in the company of the actor Jean Marais and the publisher Paul Morihien put an abrupt end to the career of a follower of Ruhlmann, who subsequently showed a strength of invention, using new printed woods and by fostering the simplicity of lines.