Jean Dunand (1877 – 1942)

Jean Dunand was a French and Swiss lacquer, sculptor and interior designer of the Art Deco period. Born in Switzerland, he moved to Paris at the age of 20 and became a naturalized French citizen in 1922. He began to work as a sculptor and a copper craftsman.

He then appropriated in 1912 the secret lacquer techniques of Asia from the Japanese master lacquer artist Seizo Sugawara whom Eileen Gray had studied under. Dunand became one of the first Westerners to work with true East Asian lacquer. Inspired by his sculpting work, Jean Dunand combined the traditional methods of lacquer with his own contemprary geometric patterns. In addition, he used ivory, brown or pale green pigments and materials such as eggshell or gold and silver inlays.

He contributed to the interiors of many apartments, and of ocean liners, making large decorative panels and screens. Dunand created some among the very best pieces of furniture of the Art Deco period.

His works can now be found in private and public collections such as Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), Musée d’Orsay (Paris), Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (Geneva), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Design (Amsterdam), The Metropolitan Museum (New York City), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art (Denver), The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo)…

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