The Jewish Museum brings together over 180 rarely-seen Chareau’s works in the atmospheric scenes created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, conveying imagined functional and social contexts for his oeuvre.
Showcasing rare furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, as well as designs for the extraordinary Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, “Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design” will bring together at The Jewish Museum over 180 rarely-seen works from major public and private collections in Europe and the United States. It will also address Chareau’s life and work in the New York area, after he left Paris during the German occupation of the city, including the house he designed for Robert Motherwell in 1947 in East Hampton, Long Island.
“Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design” is organized into four main sections. The first section, which is devoted to Chareau’s furniture designs, showcases six groupings of furniture created by the architect for a variety of living spaces; video projections create the illusion of their social uses. The second section, which looks at Pierre and Dollie Chareau as art collectors, features works of art once owned by them or used in interiors designed by him. In the third section, virtual reality is used to imagine four spaces designed by Chareau. The fourth and last section is devoted to his architectural masterpiece, the Maison de Verre in Paris, which is partially recreated in a digital installation. Through these interpretive concepts and tools, exhibition visitors will experience two fused dimensions – the actual objects in the museum space, and the digital and projected overlays in virtual reality.
Through his highly distinctive artistic language, Chareau established himself at the intersection of tradition and innovation, becoming a major figure in 20th century design. The Jewish Museum’s exhibition will place Chareau in the context of the interwar period in Paris, highlighting his circle of influential patrons, engagement with the period’s foremost artists, and designs for the film industry. The architect and his wife’s active patronage of the arts – and reuniting part of their collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by significant artists such as Mondrian, Modigliani, Motherwell, Lipchitz, and Orloff – will be another important aspect of Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design at the Jewish Museum.
Between the wars, Chareau designed primarily for a cultured urban elite, and many of his patrons were Jewish. With the German occupation of Paris in 1940, his many Jewish clients were forced to depart. Chareau, whose wife Dollie Dyte Chareau was Jewish and whose mother came from a Sephardic family, fled to the United States. The exhibition will also explore the enduring consequences of Chareau’s flight from Nazi persecution, the dispersal of many of the works he designed during and after World War II, and his attempts to rebuild his career while in exile in New York during the 1940s.
Commenting on Chareau’s work and the exhibition design, DS+R’s founding partner, Elizabeth Diller, noted, “Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design is an opportunity to return to a significant figure in every architect’s education, but one primarily known through only one masterwork, the Maison de Verre. This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see so much of Chareau’s creative output brought together in one place. The challenge in undertaking its design was to provide a multi-faceted and imaginative backdrop that would highlight, but not compete with, his exceptional mastery of detailing and assemblage. By engaging with Chareau’s furniture, interiors, and collected ephemera, we are able to absorb and represent his idiosyncratic voice, which has had relatively little exposure in the U.S.”.
4 November 2016 – 26 March 2017 Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York
Curator: Esther da Costa Meyer Exhibition design: Diller Scofidio + Renfro