French furniture designer, sculptor and architect, André Leon Arbus was one of the most versatile designers of his time. One of his buildings is listed as an Official Historical Monument.
Image source: http://verone.se/en/designer/andre-arbus/
Who was André Leon Arbus?
He was born in 1903 in Toulouse, France. His family were furniture designers for generations. He went on to work in his father’s cabinet-making firm after graduating from the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts. He collaborated with many of the great creative forces of his time such as Gilbert Poillerat, Jaques Adnet, Raymond Subes and Vadim Androusov and worked with the finest craftsmen and manufacturers including Aubusson and Veronese.
Arbus exhibited his work at the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, where he won the silver medal for a lowboy he designed with Marc Saint-Saëns. In 1934 he won the Prix Blumenthal. Arbus has been in charge of numerous significant commissions. In 1936, he designed an interior for the French Ministry of Agriculture. This relationship with the French government would last throughout his career, as they bought many pieces from him and commissioned several interiors. Some of his works were even endowed to the heads of foreign states by General De Gaulle. In 1955 he decorated the rooms of the French Embassy in Washington.
Info source: https://www.primaveragallery.com/artist/andre-arbus/
What Made Him Famous?
He was commissioned by Le Mobilier National to design a desk for the U.S. Ambassador, W.H. Harriman, and to decorate the post World War II Medici Room of the Chateau de Rambouillet.
Arbus later focused his attention on architecture and built several farmhouses throughout France. Between 1947 and 1951, he renovated a lighthouse (originally constructed in the late 1700’s) on the Ilot du Planier, near Marseille.
In 1947, Arbus designed the new Planier Light in Marseille with André Crillon. He contributed to the interiors of the S.S. Normandie, the largest, fastest and most luxurious ocean liner of the time. At a height of 66 m, it is the twelfth-tallest “traditional lighthouse” in the world.
Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planier_Light
What Characterizes Arbus’ Style?
André Leon Arbus believed in designing comfortable furniture that was a perfect fit for the human form. His work was in opposition to the firm’s preferred style, which was very traditional and derivative of 18th century France. Although André’s furniture was inspired by the Classicism of the French Empire, his pieces are of much stronger and more dramatic proportions. Beyond the exquisite neoclassical furniture for which he is most famous, he extended his reach to a variety of creative applications, including rugs, lighting and sculpture. He also favored luxurious materials, such as fine and rare wood veneers, lacquer, parchment, and vellum like many of his colleagues.
Info source: http://verone.se/en/designer/andre-arbus/