JEAN DESPRÉS (1889-1980) 

BIOGRAPHY

Born in 1889 in Souvigny, Burgundy, from glass blower parents, Jean Després starts his apprenticeship with a Parisian goldsmith, friend of the family, in 1905.

First an industrial drawer for the military aviation during World War I, he took over his parents’ shop in 1920 and launched his goldsmith and jeweler workshop. He revealed himself to be an innovative creator with a unique way to work metals, and with new drawn shapes never seen before. He participated to his first show in 1926 at the Salon des Indépendants. Many shows and exhibitions then followed, such as the Salon d’Automne, the Salon of Decorative artists, and the Tuileries Salon.

Jean Després chooses massive shapes rather than the classical goldsmith ornaments and avoids the use of precious gemstones in his jewel collection. His jewel production is defined by necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings where metals are combined with ivory, lacquer, ebony, onyx and sharkskin.

His goldsmith pieces are inspired by the aviation aesthetic, crafted using hammered metals, and ample, generous and modern shapes. In the 1940’s, Jean Després is nominated President of the Goldsmith Syndicate, after receiving the Legion d’Honneur, in 1938. The artist’s works will be collected in France and worldwide, even after his death in 1980.

ARTWORK