Monday, February 06, 2017
Georges Geffroy, A Legend
I've spent the last few days engrossed in a book that has become a new favorite: Georges Geffroy: 1905-1971, Légende du Grande Décor Français. Geffroy, the high-style French decorator known for his elegant touch, was, during the mid-twentieth century, the ne plus ultra of French decorators, boasting an impressive roster of clients that included café society stalwarts, such as Daisy Fellowes and Gloria Guinness, and couturiers, like Christian Dior and Marcel Rochas. (You'll find photos of their Geffroy-designed homes below.) Study a Geffroy-designed interior, and you'll see what true luxury is: fabrics by Prelle and Le Manach (including the latter's famous Velours Léopard, which Geffroy seemed to have employed quite frequently), eighteenth-century furniture by Georges Jacob, and Savonnerie rugs. No one-trick pony, Geffroy employed color in sophisticated and unexpected ways. Some interiors are awash in clear, vivid hues, while others are grounded by chic, muted shades of brown, camel, and drab.
Today, Geffroy's work is not as well-known as that of other star decorators, likely because he catered to a rarefied and thus small group of people. But to those of us who take our design inspiration from the past, Geffroy ranks up there with the better-known design greats. In fact, I often refer to Geffroy's work when making design decisions in my own home.
Now, back to the book...if you are a fan of those great mid-century French design books such as the Connaissance des Arts series, Decoration, as well as The Finest Rooms in France, then you will likely cherish this book. Yes, as the title suggests, the book's text is in French, which means that those of us not entirely fluent in the language might find reading the text a challenge. However, in the vein of "a picture is worth a thousand words", if you study only the book's photos, you'll still gain so much. How can you not be inspired by such gorgeous and immensely stylish interiors as these? One last note- if you already own the Connaissance des Arts series, you will likely recognize some of the photos found in Georges Geffroy. However, I don't find this a detraction. In fact, I'm happy to finally have Geffroy's work compiled into one book.