The 1920s

The 1920s 

 

Jules Leleu went into business in 1924 and in so doing sowed the seed of a dynasty unmatched for its special combination of genius, productivity and longevity. With his great success at the Expositon International des Arts-Decoratifs in 1925, at the height of the Art Deco period, he established an aesthetic as modern, supple and magnificently well balanced as anyone working at the time, including those of his famed competitors Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Jean-Michel Frank.

 

 

Jules Leleu (1883-1961)

FINE ART DECO SECRETARY

France, circa 1928

Walnut, original lacquered drop front, sycamore interior

The 1930s 

 

With commissions of entire rooms, and in many cases entire homes, of the Parisian elite Jules Leleu fine-tuned his aesthetic, seeking subtle curves and simplified geometries. He used metal or ivory sparingly as details or borders and achieved what Françoise Siriex refers to most accurately as a “restrained elegance.”

 

 

 

 

 

                                Jules Leleu (1883-1961) 

                                       FINE AND RARE MODERNIST TWO-DOOR CABINET

                                       France, circa 1936

                                       Mahogany, mirrored glass, chrome-plated metal base and door pulls.

                                       Metal work by Raymond Subes (1891-1970)

The 1930s
1930s part deux

Art & Decoration 1936, p. 178

1930s part deux

Mobilier & Decoration 1938, p. 386

The 1940s and 1950s

 

In 1948 Jules Leleu famously said of Le Corbusier’s emphasis on function, “Today, everybody knows and proclaims that the first aspect of a piece of furniture is to be appropriate to its function, […] but I do not believe this to be incompatible with other elements of beauty.” This was not the Jules of the mid ’30s. Or at least not quite.

The 1940s and 1950s Pictures only
The 1940s and 1950s Pictures only
1940s and 1950s text and photo

In the post war period Leleu was lauded for the ornate classicism of his furniture and interiors. These years were marked by Jules’ use of extravagant inlays and lavish ornament. The company’s palette of materials expanded with time, but Leleu's legendary technique and impeccable attention to detail never wavered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jules Leleu (1883-1961)

Meuble feu d'Artifices 

EXCEPTIONAL FIREWORKS CABINET

France, circa 1946

Mahogany with mother of pearl and ebony inlay by Messager, gilt bronze details and ornaments

 

The 1960s Header

                                                                       The 1960s and 1970s

 

In the early ‘60s Maison Leleu took on a variety of ambitious projects, first for private clients, and then, increasingly, for government agencies and corporations. After the death of Jules in 1961 Andre and Jean took the helm of their father’s business. 

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This changeover gave birth to new era–with their new designs, the brothers managed to pay tribute to Jules’ legacy while simultaneously forging ahead in a bold, fresh direction. The pair incorporated aluminum, glass, steel and fiberglass with greater frequency, and their furniture took on a sleek functionality never before seen, encouraged, and perhaps inspired by, a new corporate clientele.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       

 

                                                 

                                                      Maison Leleu 

                                                      PAIR OF BOOKCASES

                                                      France, 1963

                                                      Mahogany, gilt and patinated metal base by Granec

Text and Image - Right

Maison Gerard and Maison Leleu

Maison Gerard and Maison Leleu

For many years Maison Leleu has been a source of particular passion for Maison Gerard. We have devoted five exhibitions to the famed French design house alone, the most recent of which, in 2014, was Maison Leleu: 1960’s, a display of the historic Médy Roc collection from the Cap d’Antibes. In 2007 the gallery provided the introduction to Françoise Siriex’s definitive text, The House of Leleu: Classic French Style for a Modern World, 1920-1973.

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