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Elise Djo-Bourgeois: a modern woman and artist

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Pierre Frey celebrates the original talent of Elise Djo-Bourgeois, a modern woman and artist. 

 

The 1920s were marked by the emancipation of women. They became explorers, patrons of the arts and many of them finally dared to define themselves as artists such as Sonia Delaunay or Tamara de Lempicka. Elise Djo-Bourgeois is one of them.

DJO-BOURGEOIS : ELISE & GEORGES, AN INDIVISIBLE COUPLE

Behind this name hides a couple: Georges and Elise. Like many artists of the time, they created as a duo after their marriage in 1925. The first worked on space and imagined furniture that the second dressed.

Who is Elise Djo-Bourgeois?  

Born in Oran in 1894, Elise received at an early age an education in the arts. As a student, she attended the Académie Julian and Les Ateliers Montparnasse allowing her own geometric and modern style to blossom, which was fully expressed between 1920 and 1937.  

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The geometric pattern as a pictorial language

Deliberately limiting herself to three or four colours, her compositions offer an elaborate combination of circles, rectangles, triangles and broken lines. The ever-present white marks the relationship between form and colour. The chromatic range used by the artist is subtle and wide, from pastel tones to more contrasting colour combinations.
Her work echoes the aesthetic research on the interaction of colours carried out by the Bauhaus school or Sonia Delaunay. Elise’s creations are all printed by hand with the block printing technique. This artisanal technique generates a certain irregularity in the graphic pattern, thus removing any stiffness.

 

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Georges Bourgeois, known as Djo-bourgeois

Architect, interior designer and furniture designer graduated in 1922 from l’Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, Djo-Bourgeois is known for his total commitment to modernity. His style is rigorous, minimalist. In his projects, he follows the paradigms of modern architecture: large bays, simple lines, terrace and cement. He assembles plans and simple volumes by playing on the cylinder, the cone, the rectangle.  We find the same approach in his proposals for furniture. However, he remains attentive to the harmony of volumes, colors and materials. He quickly became very successful with a clientele looking for a new aesthetic in keeping with modern life. His sudden death in 1937 ended a dazzling career.

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Discover the collection

Villas Cavrois & Neutra, a modernist architecture to showcase the Elise Djo-Bourgeois collection.

Villa Cavrois

Designed between 1929 and 1932, the Villa Cavrois is the most emblematic work of the architect Mallet-Stevens. Classified as a historic monument in 1990 and then purchased by the State in 2001, this villa is characteristic of modern architecture: stripped volumes, banded windows, absence of ornamentation in the decor, multiplication of roof terraces, use of industrial materials and state-of-the-art equipment (heating, telephone, elevator).

Villa Neutra

The only building in France by Richard Neutra, maestro of California modernism, this last project of the architect, who died in 1970, is a little known masterpiece. Built in the heart of downtown Croix (North of France) in 1968 for the industrialist Marcel Delcourt, the villa uses the principles of modern architecture to merge the home and the landscape. Its filiform structure, built on a base of filiform posts and beams, the open plan, the large glazed facades, the curtains and the mobile partitions allow a real permeability between interior and exterior. It is listed as a historical monument since July 2000.