Paul Follot (1877-1941)

French Designer of luxury furniture and decorative art objects, Paul Follot was one of the leaders of the Art Deco movement and had huge influence in France. He became head of the Pomone decorative art workshop of Le Bon Marché department store.

Portrait of Paul Follot, 1927

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About His Life

Paul Follot was born in Paris in 1877. Between 1901 and 1903 he made Art Nouveau silver objects, fabrics, bronzes and jewels for the Paris showroom La Maison Moderne by Julius Meier-Graefe. From 1904 Follot headed his own decorating company, catering to a wealthy clientele, and gained a reputation for quality and elegance. He made luxury furniture for his company and made china designs for the Wedgwood company of England. In addition, during 1910s he designed new forms of jewelry. In 1923 Follot took charge of the Pomone decorative art workshop of Le Bon Marché department store, which made affordable, good quality furniture and decorations.

Art Nouveau entrance with ceramics of Follot’s house built in 1911 at 5 rue Schoelcher, Paris

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What Were His Major Works?

  1. Silver tea and coffee service: It represents a rare and important French Art Nouveau silvered metal coffee and tea service by Paul Follot. The set includes a tray, a tea and a coffee pot and containers for sugar and cream. The set is decorated with whiplash curves, folds similar to fabrics and splashes of leaves. The model is in the Musee d’Orsay, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Brohan Museum, ca 1902. In the year 2000, an identical set was exhibited: Art Nouveau 1890-1914 at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Gallery of Art, ca 1904.

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French Art Nouveau Silver Tea and Coffee Service, 1900-05 ca

2. Art Deco Chair: Paul Follot was a top Art Deco designer who combined traditional forms with rich decoration. This gilt bergère was created by the iconic designer during the second quarter 20th century. It has a softly curved form that’s been covered in a soft cotton/linen blend. The wood frame is accented with gilt over a red underlay, which gives the finish gorgeous depth.

Paul Follot Art Deco Chair

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How Can We Identify Follot’s Style?

Follot’s early designs reflect the Gothic revival, with foliated motifs. Follot has acquired a taste for wood motifs and Grasset’s sculptures. He made well-upholstered pieces in delicately curved and ornate gilded wooden frames and liked to use rare materials, with inlays of contrasting colors and gilded bronze friezes. His furniture has approached the styles of Louis XVI or the Empire rather than the contemporary Art Nouveau.

Silver-plated metal, 1903 Musée d’Orsay, France

After 1910, Follot’s designs became quieter and more classic as his style evolved towards the Art Deco. The set of dining rooms of Follot in sycamore, ebony and amarato, exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1912, is considered one of the first examples of Art Deco. Follot was a “purist” art deco, and saw his work as the refinement of classic French design. Follot designed fabrics and wallpapers in traditional and modern styles. In 1928, Follet said: “We know that the “necessary” alone is not enough for the man and that the superfluous is indispensable for him, otherwise we also suppress the music, the flowers, the perfumes … and the smile of the ladies!”

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