ANDRE MARE
 

(1885-1932)

Charles Andre Mare (1885-1932) was a French painter and designer, born in the Argentan, Normandy area of France. He was childhood friends with Fernand Leger and in 1904 enrolled in the school of decorative arts.  In 1906 he exhibited at the Salon des Independants and the Salon d’Automne in Paris where he was recognized as one of the leading designers.  At the 1912 Salon d’Automne, he and Raymond Ducham-Villon – in collaboration with Marcel Duchamp, Jean Metzinger, Alber Gleizes, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Leger and Roger de La Fresnaye – created La Maison Cubiste (the Cubist House), which made his reputation.

During World War I, Mare worked on camouflage for the French army, and, with his friend Fernand Leger and other painters, he also worked for the British and Italian armies. They applied the principles of disruptive coloration camouflage using forms derived from Cubism, and in colors chosen to overlap with those of the surrounding landscape. Badly wounded in 1916 on the front in Picardy, he was awarded the Military Cross by King George V of England.

After the war, in 1919, he combined his talents with the skills of architect Louis Süe (1875-1968) and together they became leaders in the Art Deco movement using the name of the design firm he had founded, la Compagnie des Arts Francais.  In a 1921 article in Arts and Decoration, Volumes 16-17, Leo Randole expounded upon “Art Wedded to Industry: A coterie of French Modernists who are spreading the gospel of beauty.” And further, “To speak of ‘Sue et Mare’ is to enter at once into the realm of the intellectual. . . In French decorative arts this interesting phase has found the highest expression through the medium of Louis Sue and Andre Mare.”

For the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925, they designed two pavilions, including the one called the Museum of Contemporary Art.

By 1927 Mare had decided, for health reasons, to devote himself exclusively to painting. In 1932 he died prematurely of tuberculosis following serious mustard gas poisoning in the war.