This season Atelier Courbet reveals "Puiforcat: 200 Years of Silversmithery,” a Puiforcat family retrospective with works from the Puiforcat Art Deco collections. The event, which runs through Jan. 5, features some of the venerable French silversmiths’ most sought-after pieces, including heritage pieces by Jean Puiforcat himself and brand-new works created in collaboration with Dutch design artist Aldo Bakker.
Puiforcat, a Parisian silver workshop founded in 1820 by Emile Puiforcat and his two cousins, owes most of its renown to Jean Puiforcat, from the fourth generation of the family, who became the lineage’s most prolific artist. Jean was named a master silversmith in 1920, and from there immersed himself in the wave of artistic change that characterized the period between the wars; he was one of the 1929 founders of the Union des artistes modernes, where he rubbed elbows with René Herbst, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Chareau.
He was passionate about sculpture and invented a revolutionary formal language that advocated, as was the modern taste, adapting form to suit function. His “unfussy style”—characterized by pure, architectural lines, noted simplicity and the marriage of solid silver with other precious materials such as exotic woods, semi-precious stones and shagreen—is inspired by the Art Deco movement. His work went on to pave the path toward contemporary high-end silverwork.
Puiforcat backgammon set
Highlights of the exhibition include a backgammon set, created in the spirit of Jean Puiforcat’s 1927 chess set, a 1925 handmade Art Deco lamp and several other tea and coffee sets in the true Puiforcat Art Deco style. Most notably: the Fluiditè, a tea and coffee set by Bakker.
This new set is characteristic of both Jean Puiforcat and Bakker’s creations in that purity of form transcends function and invites contemplation.
“The challenge for me was to create objects that linked to each other by one design principle: the interaction between two parts,” Bakker said. “Each product needed to express this principle in its own way, but I wanted to avoid a repetition of shapes.”
The show will be on view at Atelier Courbet, located at 175 Mott Street in New York City, through Jan. 5.