Francis Janssens van der Maelen

Jean Després (1889-1980)
Pair of hammered silver metal soliflores on a wooden base Avallon (France), circa 1970
H 36.4 cm - 34 x 10 cm
Signed with a stylus under the base

Jean Després, was a French silversmith, a creator of jewels, objects and Art-deco furniture, who was born on June 15th, 1889 in Souvigny, in the Allier, and died and was buried in Avallon, in the Yonne in 1980, aged 91. Jean Després belonged to the generation which, from 1925 onwards, invented Art-Deco in reaction against the old styles. He had many friends in the avant-garde of his time: Jouve, Vlaminck, de Chirico and Braque. In the 1920s and 1930s, he took over his parents' shop in Avallon and set up his own workshop, creating 'motor jewellery,' whose pure forms, inspired by aeronautical mechanics, were quintessentially avant-garde. As a craftsman of metal, gold, silver and tin, Després shaped the material and invented new forms. Trained as a silversmith, he also took part in the renewal of the forms of goldsmithing, ridding it of its traditional ornaments, to create pieces with massive forms, in silver, tin, most often in silver-plated metal, which are foremost recognisable for their hammered appearance.