Victor Prouvé, the master of Art Nouveau in Issy – La Tribune de l'Art

Victor Prouvé, the master of Art Nouveau in Issy – La Tribune de l’Art

A multi-talented artist, Victor Prouvé remains insufficiently known to the public. After the retrospectives of 1947 and 1958 in Nancy, the exhibition organized in 2008, still in the Lorraine metropolis but within several museums, made it possible to deepen many aspects of its activity, and in particular its contribution to Art. new. However, the wealth of its interests and collaborations allows for other approaches. Thus, the French Playing Card Museum evokes in the exhibition it devotes to the master several aspects of his work but focuses above all on his work as a great decorator. We owe the painter several fine works in this area, including the one that adorns the staircase of the town hall of Issy-les-Moulineaux and to which a recent restoration has restored all its splendour. We should be delighted that this town pays homage to Prouvé thanks to a heritage preserved and maintained in such an exemplary manner. The decorations of the Third Republic form an extraordinary “living museum” throughout France and if certain municipalities care about it (the city of Courbevoie will for example soon undertake the restoration of the wedding hall of its town hall decorated by Alexandre Séon), others don’t have the same priorities… In Issy, the means implemented and the construction site were irreproachable, as evidenced by an exciting video projected in one of the exhibition halls.




1. Émile Gallé after a decor by Victor Prouvé

Home vase Pity Where Charityaround 1899-1900

Baluster vase on pedestal, wheel-etched multilayer glass, H. 27.8 cm

Monaco, Robert Zehil collection

Photo: Robert Zehil Gallery.

See the image in his page


Painter, sculptor, engraver, draftsman, Victor Prouvé works in all fields and participates in the effervescence that agitates the decorative arts at the turn of the century. Born in 1858 in Nancy, he studied in his city then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the class of Alexandre Cabanel from 1878 to 1882. If this obligatory passage in the studio of an academic master characterizes a number of artistic career of the time, he should in no way be underestimated. It is likely that Prouvé’s mastery of drawing owes a great deal to this teaching and to Cabanel, a magnificent artist, in particular. But the involvement of the young man in the most innovative circles of the end of the century is rapid. His first submission to the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (1882) was a portrait of Émile Gallé’s wife and daughters. In fact, the artist has known the glassmaker for years since he was already collaborating with him in 1874; he then draws animal motifs for table services. In 1892, Prouvé produced the portrait of Gallé himself, hard at work, in a staging that idealized the creator with his vehement gesture and hallucinated gaze. The tone is set.




2. Victor Prouve

Maternity Where Kiss after bath1902

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