The term Art Deco encompasses the distinctive styles in art, architecture and design, and is typified by bright bold colours, and stylized designs derived from the onset of industrialism, as well as artistic movements such as modernism, cubism, and futurism. It is one of the best loved, most influential, instantly recognisable, international, and elegant of all artistic periods.
Paris-based design firm Maison Jansen was one of the most well-known and influential interior decorating houses of the 20th century, patronised by royalty, socialites, leaders of nations, and other luminaries of elite society. It was also one of the first truly global design firms. Founded in 1880 by Dutch designer Jean-Henri Jansen (1854-1928), Maison Jansen originally sourced existing antiques or contracted outside cabinetmakers to produce furniture when producing custom interiors for clients. By the 1890s, however, the firm began to manufacture furnishings in-house. Soon, Maison Jansen’s luxury, traditional-style pieces earned an international reputation. Their most sought-after pieces reflected the influence of erstwhile designs from the Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Directoire, and Empire eras, as well as objects Jansen encountered during his travels to Japan and Turkey.
By the 1920s, Maison Jansen had offices around the world, including London, New York, Buenos Aires, Havana, Cairo, Prague, Rome, and Rio de Janeiro. By the 1930s, Maison Jansen’s five-story, Paris atelier employed over 700 highly skilled artisans and would go on to employ many famous designers, including Pierre Delbée (1900-1974), Carlos Ortiz-Cabrera, Francis Chaillou, Serge Robin, Henri Samuel, Claude Mandron, and Arthur Kouwenhoven.
Maison Jansen’s design aesthetic was forward-thinking and counter-cultural, even as the firm came to specialize in high-end reproductions. Among the many styles Maison Jansen’s furniture and interiors drew from are 18th-century Bourbon Court, the Aesthetic Movement, Art Nouveau, Art Moderne, and even mid-century modernism. The firm’s genius lay in mining the past for forms, colors, and materials that were sure to make an impact.
Maison Jansen was commissioned by an array of impressive clients, including William III of the Netherlands, Alfonso XII of Spain, the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, King Leopold II of Belgium, the Shah of Iran, the oil magnate Charles Bierer Wrightsman, Leed’s Castle, Hotel Parr in Vienna, the German Reichsbank, the Rockefellers, Bartolomé March, Coco Chanel, Elsie de Wolfe, and the Kennedys, among many others. In 1989, sixty years after the death of its founder, Maison Jansen closed its doors. Today, Maison Jansen’s designs are highly sought-after by collectors.
A showstopping case piece by one of the worlds most coveted decorating houses.