Expert voice : Aurélien Jeauneau, the French Reconstruction furniture

Every week, this young antique dealer passionate about History presents much more than functional furniture, but real archives evoking this period of the post-war period so rich in innovations. Discover this timeless furniture origin that was born out the French Reconstruction architects idea.

What is your background ?

I was introduced to the flea market by my father, antique dealer specialized in Belle Epoque furniture. Very young collector, I was attached to everything that appealed to the 50's - 60. I had to be barely 10 years old when I started a collection of chairs! After a classical university course in Art History that destined me a career as an art teacher, I integrated a furniture gallery. With this experience that was tracing a new path, I moved to Paul Bert Serpette , the place to be! I settled here 6 years ago, at a time of great renewal, where each new antique dealer arrived with a solid school background, a first experience as a trainee or gallery assistant and a strong appetite for this work, with a rather fixed idea of what we wanted to defend. A crazy emulation!

Tell us about your specialty

I am a specialist in post-war French design, which can be located between 1950 and 1965. It is at this time that the furniture industry as designed today is emerging. The designer draws, the publisher realizes and the broadcaster distributes. All these designers, such as Pierre Paulin, Pierre Guariche or Joseph-André Motte were born between 1925 and 1930 and graduated from the School of Decorative Arts or School Camondo, between 1947 and 1950. First trainees at prestigious design houses that design innovative and rational furniture, they will be quickly put to use in this post-war France, where the industry is pushed by the Ministry of Reconstruction. The design of this period draws its essence in this emergency. We will ask them to design the furniture that will embellish the habitat of the future. They will be expected for their fersh and young vision. If today the design appears as something quite elitist, in 1950 this is not the case, the furniture is a necessity and the designers are literally at the service of the population.


Why does this particularly affect you?

The design of this period speaks of our history The added value of these pieces lies in the fact that we do not only sell a seat, but a part of our history that it is possible to possess. This story evokes the flourishing industry of a France that had known hell and wanted to live fully, in total happiness. It was a time when everything was possible, where the creators enjoyed the absolute confidence of the manufacturers and where people bought this furniture with the guarantee of a longevity worthy of a Norman wardrobe! This is a time when the "low-end" does not exist yet.

Today, beyond a fad, this furniture is something timeless. I am convinced that in 20 years, a pair of 50s armchairs will perfectly match with a dresser from 2030. This modernity, we are still not out at the moment, nothing has been invented again. It is interesting to go to the origins of our society, because ultimately it is what we speak with this furniture. It is human. It is a rational, very anchored in modernity, which was based on the principle that we had to stop reproducing the decorative elements of furniture of the 1940s and the surcharges considered as elegant. Pierre Guariche will seek the quintessence of the piece by making so that the form serves the function. It was an incredible designer and draftsman, his archives are filled with drawings of a thousand pieces that have not been edited.


Can you show us a piece of your booth?

I love this pair of Memphis fireside chairs from 1964, edited by Meurop. It's a fireside chair that we also called "television seat", comfortable, welcoming, it prefigures the ground-floor seating that we find at dawn from the 70's. The curve found on the seat is that of the backrest, but in negative. All its lines meet each other, it is a jewel of curves, bias, and rounded. Pierre Guariche signs here probably one of his most beautiful models!


What does Paul Bert Serpette represent for you?

For me, Paul Bert Serpette is above all a story of passion, of course, of human! This market represents the requirement and a transmission of the antique dealer trade who has always been ultra serious here. These are rigorous antique dealers, offering a demanding service and a qualitative welcome. Paul Bert Serpette is a force in the defense of the design. The antique dealer trade is old and antique dealers are able to reinvent it to perfection by offering customers every day new things. Paul Bert Serpette is a travel-time!


Photo credit : Grégoire Hababou/Sloft Magazine


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