The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand

La maison de décoration JANSEN

Friday 18 December 2015, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

JANSEN the house, one of the most prestigious of the twentieth century was founded in 1880 by the Dutchman Jean Henri JANSEN during the heyday of Decorative Arts and Fine Arts. The house JANSEN, JANSEN the house, as well as his forgotten contemporaries (MERCIER, Jules Allard and Sons etc) are part of the great houses that are revolutionizing the decoration in the nineteenth. Indeed, these houses disrupt traditional patterns of decoration, they appeal to many famous designers (René Joubert, Carlos Ortiz etc.) that are considered clients and not as employees. Moreover his incredible international expansion, the development, funds, the importance and unpublished resources allocated to advertising and corporate visibility make the house JANSEN a precursor, both in decoration as business strategy.

After the defeat of France against Prussia in 1871 and the exile of Napoleon III Central Union of Fine Arts applied to Industry and the Society of Decorative Arts Museum merge and give birth to the Union Centrale des Arts decorative. This organization is supported by collectors, gallery owners and manufacturers. In the politico-ideological slump following the defeat of 1871 and the dramatic events that flow from it, the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs orients production towards the celebration of past styles, memories of a time that we imagine more stable, dignified and prosperous but also to an innovative exoticism (Turkish style Japanism etc).

The house JANSEN first specialized in Turkish style and japanese influences of the late nineteenth, but it quickly develops a style issue of the eighteenth. Later, JANSEN house add to its imperial style collections (particularly for orders for the royal families). John Henry JANSEN disappeared in 1928 leaving the house in the hands of brilliant designers. Already in 1888 Stéphane Boudin enters and gives the style of the house JANSEN its pedigree. Indeed, with the arrival of this brilliant designer, the house JANSEN develops an aesthetic identity that will ensure its success for decades to come: a subtle mix and thoughtful different styles that have marked the evolution of Decorative Arts.

The success of house JANSEN is immediate, the prestigious clients succeed the royal commands. JANSEN decorate including the home of Paul, Prince Regent of Yugoslavia and Princess Olga (1934-1937), the home of Lady Honor and Henry Channon in London (1935), the White House under the presidency of John F. Kennedy (1961 -1967), the great luxury liner "Pastor" etc. The house JANSEN also imagined and realized tents, marquees and decorations for the incredible celebration of 2500 years of Iranian monarchy (1971).

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Stephane BOUDIN

Throughout the twentieth century, JANSEN workshops are renowned for the quality of their materials and their manufacture. We read in the magazine Ameublement: a walk in the workshops JANSEN, 4130 edition of April 29, 1922 : "one of the few houses in Paris, where the Parisian itself still breathing this air impregnated with the fragrance of old, where the beautiful worship is near the love of comfort, respect for old books and renew gently, according to the new requirements, arrangements with previous generations abused, the house JANSEN is worth a visit. "

J.H.JANSEN also developing a particularly audacious advertising and trade policy. In addition to promotional campaigns (shop windows, exhibitions etc.), JANSEN house shines major international exhibitions and after the Universal Exhibition of 1889, King Leopold II of Belgium, impressed by the quality of the decoration and furniture JANSEN, charged the house to redecorate the Royal Castle of Laeken. In the building of 6 Rue Royale, Jansen sets up a vitrine displaying the latest creations in order to constantly meet the most forward-thinking requests. The success of JANSEN is growing in the USA ("A Jansen Story" published in 1971 cites the names of Rockefeller, Gould and other people as regular customers of the house). With this unprecedented success, the house JANSEN began internationalization of its customers. To do this, many workshops and galleries open to the entire surface of the globe (Buenos Aires, Alexandria, Havana, London, NYC etc). Therefore, JANSEN is considered the first international home decoration. However, this internationalization leads to some disagreements with not always friendly galleries of instructions of taste to the parent company.

At the end of the twentieth century, undermined by the changes in society, the gradual disappearance of the great royal families and nobles and by the scarcity of large houses, the JANSEN house loses its influence and its customers to finally close in 1989 not without having a lasting impact on interior design and the evolution of decorative arts. For over a century, the house was JANSEN a reflection of the refinement of French taste, care and expertise craftsmen and conscientious workers and the window of a new conception of the decorator business. The house JANSEN was one of the most prestigious in the world, its customers were among the most demanding and the most knowledgeable and throughout its long existence. Visibility and celebrity were new and still the mere mention of the name JANSEN enough to remind excellence and sophistication at a time when the French were still tastefully a gold standard of decoration. The productions JANSEN are always very present on the market and regularly excel through auction records, such as a series of 8 lights 2 lights in gilt bronze and painted estimated 20 000 USD and auctioned for 62 500 USD 21 October 2011 at Sotheby’s NYC.

  • Maquette de la "ville de tente" conçue pour le Shah d'Iran pour (...)
  • Décoration de JANSEN pour le château de LAEKEN
  • Décoration de JANSEN pour le Prince Régent de Yougoslavie.
  • Décor de la salle à manger de Lady Honor et Henry Channon.
  • Commande à vantaux adjugée USD84 000.

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