Arbus André


French architect, sculptor and designer André Arbus was destined to become one of the 20th century’s finest furniture makers. According to him, the craft was in his blood. “I come from an old family of cabinetmakers,” he once said. “From father to son for a very long time. In other words, I was born in a cabinet-making workshop.”

Born in Toulouse in 1903, Arbus spent his childhood working in his father’s business which sold reproductions of 18th century French furniture. He later studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse under sculptor Henry Parayre. 

After graduating, Arbus returned to work with his father as the business’s artistic director. When his father retired, Arbus transformed the company from selling furniture reproductions to one that produced his own formidable designs, including cocktail tables, sofa tables and floor lamps that merged neoclassicism with Art Deco and featured alluring modernist characteristics.

In 1925, Arbus exhibited at several shows, including the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, Salon d’Automne, the Gallery L’Epoque and won a medal at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, which brought the Art Deco style to the global stage.

Arbus moved to Paris in 1932, won the prestigious Premier Prix Blumenthal in 1934 and opened his own gallery in 1935. His sconces, chandeliers and dining room tables attracted a steady clientele of some of Paris’s wealthiest. Arbus exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York and, throughout the 1940s, received numerous notable commissions. The French government gave many of his pieces as gifts to visiting foreign heads of state. He furnished several luxury ocean liners, collaborated with Maison Veronese on a line of lighting fixtures and was tasked to build a jewel cabinet for Princess Elizabeth.

In 1946, Arbus participated in the refurbishment of the Élysée Palace and the Château de Rambouillet with fellow French architects and designers Louis Süe and Jean-Charles Moreux. 

Arbus focused on sculpture throughout the 1950s until he died in 1969, drawing inspiration from eminent sculptors such as Vadim Androusov and Sylva Bernt. Today, Arbus’s works can be found in museums around the world.

Author's Works