Line Vautrin (1913-1997)
Born in Paris in 1913, Line Vautrin was an artist, designer and creator of jewellery and decorative objects. A unique and fiercely independent artist, she worked in post-war Paris to create pieces renowned for their intensity and poetry.
Line Vautrin was obsessed with creating things from an early age, and her first pieces date from when she was just twenty-one. In 1937 she had a stand at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques where she presented a range of powder compacts, boxes, brooches, necklaces and ashtrays in gilt bronze. Often engraved or enamelled, their intricacy reflected jewellery design, their form, sculpture. Her work was highly acclaimed, and it was here she found her first clients. Having initially been installed in a tiny boutique in rue de Berri in Paris, her success enabled her to open a boutique in rue du Fauborg Saint Honoré, the area known for its couturiers, before she moved again to 106 rue Vielle du Temple.
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In 1953, still in search of novelty, Line Vautrin discovered a mysterious resin made of cellulose acetate, she patented the substance at the INPI (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle), naming it Talosel in the late 1960s when she moved to the Quai des Augustins. This substance is made up of thin layers of resin that have been scratched or sanded, worked over heat, inlaid with minute shards of mirror and so subtly coloured that the final product resembles slate or shale, bone or wood worked by time.
Following this discovery, Line Vautrin continued to transform the materials at her disposal. Her mirrors are famous for the way they lure you in, deforming reality through their witches’ eyes, the convex mirror always at the centre of her creations. It wasn’t long before her name was soon known both throughout France and abroad. In the 1960s, she also used Talosel to make chests, lights, lamps, frames, coffee tables, screens and chandeliers. She also returned to her roots as a jewellery designer, substituting gilt bronze with this new substance, and forming necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches and cufflinks using Talosel inlaid with tiny mirrors.
In the June 1948 edition of Art et Industrie, Line Vautrin explained her approach: ‘I think that most of the time, it’s rhythm that pushes me to do something, and then the idea becomes embodied in the play of forms and surfaces… In a way instinct translates into rhythm, intelligence into the often unexpected fictions the rhythm evokes, sensuality into the modelling of the shape… A model must be pleasant to the touch; the hand must judge as much as the eye.’
The Chastel-Maréchal Gallery first devoted a large exhibition to Line Vautrin in 1998, followed by another in 2004 that focused on mirrors and objects in gilt bronze. To mark this last event, the gallery published a monograph which is the only existing reference book on Line Vautrin’s mirrors available today.
The Chastel-Maréchal Gallery was drawn to Line Vautrin’s work from the start, and has played an important part in the rediscovery of the artist and in the still rising value of her work on the art market. Her creations – particularly those made from Talosel – are highly sought after and sell for significant amounts today.
Line Vautrin has found her place in the history of 20th century decorative art, and her pieces can be found at the biggest international auctions and in the most important private collections around the world.
The Chastel-Maréchal Gallery continues to search for the rarest models, colours and forms, in order to present only the most exceptional pieces.
Devoted to collectors, the gallery always promises to follow-up on pieces sold in order to ensure their optimal conservation.