The two brooches on the next page of this post demonstrate that Georges Fouquet adapted to change extremely well. Living through so many style eras, world events and cultural changes in his long, 95 year lifetime (1862 – 1957), this is just as well. In any case, we have an Art Nouveau brooch – a well known and important piece – and an Art Deco brooch that tell the tale more clearly than words.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Fouquet ran a successful jewelry business and employed a group of designers to create jewelry under the Fouquet name, as well as continuing his own work as a designer.
Before we look at them however, it’s worth checking out his Paris jewelry store (a word that seems inadequate, measured against its Art Nouveau magnificence!), to catch a glimpse of the Georges Fouquet who joined his father’s jewelry business in 1891 and quickly became absobed in the atmosphere and ideals of Art Nouveau.
The store was designed by one of Fouquet’s jewelry designers, Alphonse Mucha, in 1901. Mucha designed all aspects of the 6 rue Royale shop, both exterior and interior, which can now be seen in its entirety at Musée Carnavalet – Fouquet had the foresight to donate it in 1941, when the shop was refurbished. Untapped Cities writes:
The entire room is from the original store designed by Alphonse Mucha; Fouquet donated his rue Royale shop in its entirety to the museum, and it was reassembled as it was. It’s a small room brimming with colour and grandiose, a completely preserved Belle Epoque work of art housed in one of the most interesting yet rather underrated museums in Paris.
In fact it is an Art Nouveau period piece in terms of style (not Belle Epoque, though that describes the historical fin de siecle time period) and I believe it was donated to Musee Carnavalet in 1941. This museum is worth a visit, not just for Fouquet’s shop:
Carnavalet museum, devoted to the history of Paris and its inhabitants, holds collections that illustrate the evolution of the city from prehistoric times to the present. (It) presents in a hundred rooms a wide choice of works of art, souvenirs and models showing the appearance of the capital at various times and evoking (its) daily and intellectual life. The magnificent reconstructed historical settings form an evocative setting for a walk through the centuries, a source of enrichment and pleasure.
So now let’s look at the two pieces of jewelry, on the Next Page…