The Jewish Museum presents the first U.S. exhibition focused on French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883–1950). Showcasing rare furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, as well as designs for the extraordinary Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, the exhibition brings together over 180 rarely-seen works from major public and private collections in Europe and the United States.
Pierre Chareau rose from modest beginnings in Bordeaux to become one of the most sought-after designers in France. Creating custom furniture and interiors for a distinguished clientele that included leading figures of the French-Jewish intelligentsia, Chareau balanced the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with interior designs that were elegant, functional, and in sync with the requirements of modern life. His innovative furniture, veneered in rare woods with occasional touches of exotic materials, had clean profiles and movable parts that appealed to the sensibilities of the progressive bourgeoisie.
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design proposes a fresh look at the internationally recognised designer and examines his work in the Parisian cultural context between the wars to highlight his circle of influential patrons, engagement with the period’s foremost artists, and designs for the film industry. Together with his wife Dollie, Chareau was an active patron of the arts, and the exhibition reunites several pieces from their collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by significant artists such as Piet Mondrian, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, and Max Ernst.
The exhibition also addresses Chareau’s life and work in the New York area, after he left Paris during the German occupation of the city, including the house he designed for Robert Motherwell in 1947 in East Hampton, Long Island.