Jules Leleu
French, 1883-1961
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Selected exhibitions
2015
Maison Gerard at Winter Antiques Show 2015,
Maison Gerard
Susan Weber Collection at Collective Design 2015,
Susan Weber Collection
2013
The Winter Antiques Show 2013,
Maison Gerard

Born into a family of artisans and artists—the House of Leleu had been around since the 1700s—Jules Leleu was one of the fathers of French Art Deco design. Although he “never achieved the international fame of Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Jean Michel Frank, or Le Corbusier,” The New York Times once wrote, “he was just as successful and probably more prolific than his better-known contemporaries.” Often compared with the furniture designs of Ruhlmann, Leleu’s chairs, tables, and cabinets emphasized simple shapes, exotic woods, and marquetry, and inlaid ivory and other embellishments. Leleu adored tradition and was the ultimate craftsman, but as his career progressed he grew more adventurous; in the hands of his children, the House of Leleu began to experiment with lacquer, plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass.