(1876 - 1955)
One of the premiere French designers of the 20th Century, Maurice Dufrene was born in Paris in 1876. He was educated at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. By 1899, at the age of just 23, he became the director and manager of La Maison Moderne. This shop represented an association of artists who were working together to create designs which could be produced in multiples.
Dufrene's work was first shown at salons in 1902 and from 1903 he regularly exhibited at Salon d'Automne and Salons of Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. At the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (which would later give the movement "Art Deco" its name), Dufrene's designs included luxury boutiques, the living room of Une Ambassade Francaise pavilion, the music salon, and the interior of La Maitrise pavilion.
In 1904, Dufrene became one of the co-founders of Societe des Artistes Decorateurs which became a pivotal designers' organization and the facilitator of annual exhibitions that provided a venue for contemporary design and were well-documented by the press.
He was one of the very few French designers to exhibit at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco.
Dufrene designed furniture, glass, textiles, leather goods, stoneware and porcelain. He taught at the Ecole Boulle and the Ecole des Arts Appliques in Paris and was one of the principal designers of the first modernist film sets (1919 film Le carnaval des verites).
In 1922 he became creator and director of La Maitrise design studio of Les Galeries Lafayette in Paris - and the full flowering of his talent became apparent in his refined furniture designs and complete interiors.
His inspiration was taken from 18th and 19th Century designs, with a modern approach and his interiors ranged eclectically from townhouses to avant-garde to glass, metal and mirrors, to commissions from Le Mobilier National for embassies and the Palais de l'Elysee in Paris. He would remain at La Maitrise until 1952.