• Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design
    Esther da Costa Meyer and Daniel S. Palmer
    The Jewish Museum, New York
    Nov 04, 2016 to Mar 26, 2017
    The Jewish Museum

Pierre Chareau, Maison de Verre exterior, 1928–32, Paris. Copyright: Mark Lyon.

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design is the first American museum retrospective of the French furniture designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883–1950), whose prolific career spanned traditional French decorative arts and modern architecture. Featuring an innovative display of over 100 original furniture pieces, architectural drawings, watercolors, pochoir prints, archival photographs, and film clips, Pierre Chareau offers new perspective on the modern master. Alongside his iconic designs, Chareau's life is presented within a rich biographical and cultural context—beginning in Paris, where the majority of his clients were Jewish and prominent members of the French progressive intelligentsia, and culminating with his exile in New York as a refugee from Nazi-occupied France. The exhibition also reassembles his noted art collection for the first time since its auction sixty years ago. A companion book copublished with Yale University Press includes essays by leading Chareau scholars and previously unpublished photographs.

Pierre Chareau (1883–1950) was one of the most influential architects and designers (interior, lighting, and furniture) of the twentieth century. He was born in Bordeaux, France, to a Jewish family of shipbuilders and studied architecture at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Chareau's primary interest was in furniture design, and he is recognized for creating furniture that transformed to perform multiple functions, as well as for his innovative incorporation of new industrial materials, including hammered metal and glass. His residential masterpiece, the Maison de Verre (1928–32), was the first house built exclusively of steel and glass, and is considered an icon of modernist architecture. Chareau belonged to a dynamic group of Parisian artists, designers, filmmakers, and craftspeople, who often collaborated on projects. Forced to flee Nazi-occupied Paris in 1940, he relocated to New York, where he spent the final decade of his life.

Esther da Costa Meyer is professor of modern architecture at Princeton University. Currently, she is completing a book on urban change and social history in nineteenth-century Paris. Her published work has focused on the formal and theoretical issues informing architecture of the past decade, and she has published on architects Lilly Reich, Charlotte Perriand, and Lina Bo Bardi. Her curatorial work includes Frank Gehry: On Line at Princeton University Art Museum, and Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider at the Jewish Museum.

Daniel S. Palmer is the Leon Levy Assistant Curator at the Jewish Museum. He is also a PhD candidate in art history at the CUNY Graduate Center and was the recipient of the Graduate Center Dissertation Writing Fellowship, the Marlene Park Memorial Fellowship, and the Holocaust Educational Foundation Fellowship (2011) at Northwestern University. Palmer has researched twentieth-century American art for the Whitney Museum, and has taught the history of art in Paris, at York College (Queens, New York), and at the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College (New York).

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, exhibition designer, is a New York-based interdisciplinary design studio led by Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro. Founded in 1979, the firm integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. Their international body of work includes redeveloping the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, High Line Park in Chelsea, the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Blur Building, a pavilion built of fog on Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Diller Scofidio + Renfro are recipients of the National Design Award, MacArthur Fellowships, and numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects.

Catalogue contributors:

J. Abbott Miller is partner at Pentagram in New York. Miller pioneered the concept of "designer as author," undertaking projects in which content and form are developed in a symbiotic relationship. He has received many design honors, including medals from the Society for Publication Designers, three nominations for the National Magazine Awards, and the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. Miller is coauthor of four books, and his work and critical writing has appeared in Eye, Print, I.D., and other publications.

Bernard Bauchet is an architect and coauthor of La Maison de Verre: Pierre Chareau, the definitive monograph on the building. He served as principal technical authority for the restoration of the Maison de Verre.

Brian Brace Taylor is professor of history and theory of architecture at the New York Institute of Technology and a leading scholar on Pierre Chareau. He previously taught at the École d'Architecture de Paris–Belleville and was curator of drawings at the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris. He is a former editor of L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui.

Olivier Cinqualbre is an architect and architectural historian, and chief curator of architecture at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His numerous publications on modern architecture include La Maison de Verre/Pierre Chareau (Jean-Michel Place, 2001), and the edited collection Pierre Chareau, Architecte: Un Art Intérieur (Centre Pompidou, 1993).

Kenneth E. Silver is professor of modern art at New York University; adjunct curator of art at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut; and a contributing editor to Art in America magazine. Among his publications are Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War (1989) and Making Paradise: Art, Modernity, and the Myth of the French Riviera (2000). For the Jewish Museum, most recently, he contributed the essay "Fluid Chaos Felt by the Soul: Chagall, Jews, and Jesus" to Chagall: Love, War, and Exile (copublished by the Jewish Museum and Yale University Press, 2012).

Robert M. Rubin is an independent curator and cultural historian, pursuing a doctorate in architecture from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He has written on Richard Prince, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Chareau, and most recently, Allen Ginsberg and Richard Avedon. He restored Pierre Chareau's Maison de Verre, Paris, and Jean Prouvé's Maison Tropicale, now in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Jean-Louis Cohen is the Sheldon H. Solow Chair for the History of Architecture at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts and former director of the Cité de l'Architecture Museum and Research Center, Palais de Chaillot, Paris. He has published widely on twentieth-century architecture and urban planning and has curated numerous exhibitions, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and other venues.

Founded in 1904, the Jewish Museum located on New York City's Museum Mile serves as a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Known for its distinguished exhibitions and dynamic education programs that reveal a deep and rich exploration of Jewish culture and identity, the Museum also maintains an unparalleled collection of nearly 30,000 works of fine art, Judaica, and broadcast media, spanning more than 4,000 years.