JEAN E. PUIFORCAT 1897 - 1945

Jean Puiforcat's research in new geometries and increasingly united surfaces defined a revolutionary style in the civil and religious silver work of the 20th century. This style, particularly accomplished at the time of the World's Fair of 1925, aroused the admiration of artists and critics of the period: supple surfaces with impeccable contours, without superfluous elements, and simple pieces with dimensions calculated precisely according to the Golden Ratio. According to the Parisian jeweler Fouquet, Puiforcat's secret is his contruction and the reasonable agreement between the object and its function; it is the harmony of proportions ("c’est la construction et l’accord raisonnable entre l’objet et la fonction, c’est l’harmonie des proportions"); another one of his close friends, the jeweler Templier, emphasized that his art is marked by reason, logic, robustness, and a precision filled with sensitivity ("son art marqué par une raison, une logique, une robustesse, une précision pleine de sensibilité"). A young generation of silversmiths and jewelers surrounded Puiforcat (Raymond Templier, Jean Fouquet, Gérard Sandoz), which joined with decorations (Pierre Chareau, Pierre Legrain and Dominique), to found a group of five which collectively exhibited in 1926 and 1927. The approached contemporary decorators Charlotte Perriand and René Herbst, with whom they created, in 1929, the Modern Artists Union (l’Union des artistes modernes, UAM), in opposition to the Artist Decorators Society (Société des artistes décorateurs, SAD), judged to be too conservative. The vase of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is a late piece in Jean Puiforcat's production. Starting in 1932, the artist introduced flared cylindrical volumes into his forms, bringing more sensuality to his constant geometric rigor. Haunted by memories of the First World War, he could not stand the approach of a second conflict or the fascism which began to corrupt Europe. After a brief time in Madrid, then in Lisbon (with his children sheltered in Switzerland) he chose to move to Mexico with his wife Marta Estevez in 1940. By 1942, it was there he had produced the pieces of his last years of creation, including this vase, which constitutes a purified synthesis: its conical shape, on a high cylindrical pedestal, around which are wound two springs placed as a double festoon, recalls, through its imposing construction, some earlier religious creations, executed around 1937. This type of decor, with a repetitive motif was regularly repeated during this brief Mexican period, taking different forms, but with the same heightened sense of volume in the round.