The Art Nouveau found particularly beautiful expression in the collaborative work of the jeweler Georges Fouquet (1862-1957) and the designer/artist Alphonse Mucha ( 1860-1939). For a brief glorious moment, extravagant beauty reigned supreme.
Manufacturer- Georges Fouquet
Designer- Alphonse Mucha
Georges acquired his skill and taste early on through the acclaim and talents of his father Alphonse Fouquet ( 1828-1911). A pioneer in jewelry design, Alphonse re-introduced the female nude figure into his designs , a radical departure from Victorian mores. When his work was exhibited in 1878 at the Universal Exposition in Paris, Alphonse was awarded a gold prize for his exceptional skill, craft, and taste.
Although considered to have made an even greater impact concerning the of art jewelry then his father, I was unable to locate an image of Georges. His legacy will have to suffice.
Georges teamed up with his father in 1891. Alphonse had set up shop at 35 avenue de’l Opera, clearly Georges had grander plans.
Upon his father’s retirement in 1895 Georges rejected the Classicism of papa and allowed himself to be fully embraced by the seductive charms of the Art Nouveau. Who better to secure the union then the maestro Alphonse Mucha.
The collaborative efforts with Mucha created quite a buzz. Although Georges had a stable of esteemed artist on staff, the work with Mucha resulted in particular acclaim. Georges enjoyed the fruits of this fame at the Paris International Exhibition of 1900.
Flush with recent triumphs Georges opened a new shop in 1901, 6 rue Royal. A jaw-dropping masterpiece, entirely designed by that master of sublime beauty, Mucha.
As spectacular as the exterior was, the interior engulfed visitors in a heady harem atmosphere redolent of kohl eyed , ambergris scented lusciousness.
I was tickled beyond belief when I first encountered this image.
Mucha oversaw every detail, such as the exquisite peacock preening over the main jewelry case. Woe to the hapless fellow, when his lady love crossed this threshold.
I really love the voluptuous “fabric” rendered in a hard material, I am assuming glazed terra cotta.
I enclose a few un-documented images, but they do bear the distinct mark of a Fouquet -Mucha collaboration.
If they happen to not be authenticated, they do illustrate the influence of this dynamic duo.
Sadly all greatness ends, the passion for the excesses of Art Nouveau passed, 6 rue Royal was looking dated.
In 1936 the shop was redecorated. Georges’ son Jean joined the family business in 1919, and like his own father, he had a new artistic vision, the streamlined Art Deco.
I must confess I have never appreciated the chill of Art Deco glamour, I have often found it a dowdy period, 1936 particularly so.
Thankfully the Fouquets had the integrity to donate Mucha’s architectural masterwork to the Museum of the City of Paris, the Musee Carnavalet
I will focus on the glory days of Fouquet in closing with this little clip from the 1900 Exposition Universelle, Paris would not be Paris without Gustave Eiffel’s wonder and the glories of Fouquet and Mucha.