Royère, Jean, 1902-1981

Life and Career

Jean Royère (1902–1981) was born into a distinguised family and worked as a banker until he was 29. In 1931, he left his career to begin a business as an interior designer. He learnt his new trade in the cabinetmaking workshops of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris. In 1934, Royère won a contest to design the brasserie for the luxurious Hotel Carlton on the Champs-Élysées. This was the beginning of an international career that would last until the early 1970s. Royère traveled extensively, opening branches of his design business in Cairo, Beirut, Teheran, and Sao Paulo. Some of his most enthusiastic patrons included King Farouk, King Hussein of Jordan, and the Shah of Iran. He also designed the interior for the Hôtel Saint-Georges in Beirut, Lebanon. His most memorable work was often considered whimsical or even eccentric, featuring unusual elements such as furry armchairs, bright pink interiors, and curly table legs. A key figure of the avant-garde in the 1950s, Royère tackled myraid decorative projects. Royère pioneered an original style combining bright colors, organic forms and precious materials within a wide range of imaginative accomplishments. In 1980, he left France for the United States, where he lived until his death. 



Though highly influential and sought-after during his life, following his death in 1981 his designs fell out of favor, and were at risk of being forgotten—until a renewed interest during the late 1990s brought attention to his legacy once again. In 1999, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris held a major museum show of his work, and in 2008, Sonnabend Gallery in New York mounted a comprehensive retrospective of over 100 pieces.