There are some artists who were stars in their time and glittered on the stage of celebrity, but are unfairly forgotten today. However, in the treasures of French applied arts I am referring to the renowned Art Deco Metal Smith: CLAUDIUS LINOSSIER (1893-1953). Linossier’s work was unique, and full of subtle beauty. He was a craftsman who is considered as the greatest purist of the Art Deco period for his incredible creation of works on metal and favored geometric patterns, but created figurative designs as well. He was drawn to the technique referred to as dinanderie, which took its name from the Flemish town of Dinant, a center for brass works during the Middle Ages. Today galleries and collectors are rediscovering the exceptional artist from Lyon. Claudius Linossier’s work comes full circle in the art world on view at the Primavera Gallery, in New York City and at the Galerie Michel Giraud in Paris.
MASTERY OF METAL Linossier was an admirer of Etruscan pottery, and used this as inspiration for many of his forms. For those unfamiliar with the work, metal incrustation is a painstaking and demanding technique. He began with silver and copper, hand-raising each piece, and adorning it with silver and inlay, but soon he wanted more color, and began developing his own alloys. During Linossier’s lifetime his work was represented by the greatest galleries and respected and admired. Today his oeuvre has been sustained by the most important art lovers, collectors and patrons around the world and his art works are commanding soaring prices at auction houses.
STUDY WITH DUNAND The artist started working metal very young, first in a goldsmith shop in Lyon, his home town, and later in two Parisian workshops. Then it came a time to work for the Master Dinandier Jean Dunand. In the opposite of Jean Dunand, who finally devoted himself only to his famous lacquer, Claudius Linossier was faithful to the dinanderie tradition during all of his production, creating cubist decors, through an exceptional hand-made process. His decorations, geometric or in stylized archaism, were composed of metal encrustations. The bodies of the pieces were brightened either by the shaded grey of silver, by the pale gold of yellow copper or by the dark purple of red copper, magnified by the violent action of fire. Part of Galerie Michel Giraud’s booth at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaries 2012 was dedicated to works of Linossier and drew record visitors. If you want to see some of Linossier’s magnificent vases visit Primavera Gallery at 210 11th Avenue at 25th Street,, Floor 8, New York. Tel 212.924.6600.
Linoissier’s work was featured in several stands at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decorarifs et Industriels Modernes,, Paris, Salon of Societe des Artistes Francaise and Salon d’Automme. In 1932, Linossier was elected to the Legion d'Honneur.
Polly Guerin Author: The Cooper-Hewitt Dynasty of New York (History Press 2012) Go to http://www.pollytalk.com