First U.S. Exhibition for French Modernist Joseph André Motte Opens in New York

First U.S. Exhibition for French Modernist Joseph André Motte Opens in New York

Demisch Danant presents Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living, the first American exhibition devoted exclusively to the work of one of the most highly influential and innovative figures of post-war French design. With rare examples presented in period environments, the exhibition brings together thirty unique pieces - many never before been shown publicly - that shed light upon the vision and talent of an overlooked modernist master.

Born in France in 1925, Motte was among a group of young designers who emerged in the wake of World War II, dedicated to an optimistic vision of industrialization and convinced of design’s ability to improve the lives of their nation's citizens. Following the reconstruction period, these designers embraced mass production and new, more affordable industrial materials as the means to realize their radically inventive forms. A stolid devotion to contemporary aesthetics, expressed through both traditional and newly invented materials and techniques, established Joseph André Motte in particular as one of the most visionary figures of this group. At Demisch Danant, Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living highlights the diverse breadth of materials that characterize Motte’s oeuvre and presents many of his most important innovations in modern style. Among these are rare examples of the designer's early work in rattan during 1954, and objects that evidence his transition to production furniture with the company Charron in 1958-60.

On view through February 9, 2013, the exhibition is the first of a series of solo shows that will focus upon the distinctive periods of this illustrious designer’s oeuvre.
Based upon a 1954 presentation by Charron, this first show explores Motte’s early work in plywood and rattan and features a pair of his 1949 Tripod Chairs and a 1954 rattan Sabre Chair, placed within a living room interior. These iconic designs exemplify Motte’s distinctive practice of using traditional craft techniques to realize innovative modernist forms. Motte’s designs for mass production and his experimentation with affordable materials then new to the market - plastic, foam, and Formica -- are represented in the gallery's recreating a 1960s chambre. This environment includes a rare vinyl bed, the 1959 Light Table, and a pair of nightstands made in luminous white opaline glass.

Demisch Danant is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 11AM to 5PM, and on Saturday from 12PM to 6PM.  Additional information about the gallery and its programs is available online at