Robert Mallet-Stevens

1886–1945

Robert Mallet-Stevens was born in Paris in 1886. He studied at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and was heavily inspired by the Cubist movement. His most famous architectural works include the Villa Paul Poiret, the Villa Cavrois, the Villa Daniel Dreyfuss and the Villa Noailles which would feature prominently in Man Ray’s film Les Mystères du Château du Dé, (The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice). Mallet-Stevens was also active in the film industry, designing twenty film sets and working with Fernand Léger, Pierre Chareau, and Rene Lalique on the film L’Inhumaine. He utilized the same heavy linearity employed in his architecture in the decorative works that he created for Maison Desny. Mallet-Stevens died in 1945, and although he left behind an abundant artistic œuvre, his work has been largely unrecognized. His well-earned retrospective in 2005 at the Centre de Pompidou has renewed interest in the work of this esteemed French Modernist.

Mallet-Stevens’ model for a house, 1924


Robert Mallet-Stevens 1886–1945

Robert Mallet-Stevens was an anomaly of the modernist era of design—while most were moving toward a sober, subtractive approach, Mallet-Stevens was designing buildings and interiors with a decorative, mannerist flair, blending various styles to create unique spaces for a wealthy, avant-garde clientele.

Mallet-Stevens was born to a privileged family in 1886 in Paris and his father was an art collector, placing him in the milieu of French high society. He entered the École Spéciale d'Architecture in 1905, a progressive institution focused on modern rationalism. After completing his studies, he built a network of avant-garde artists and actively exhibited his drawings and models in Paris and abroad. Mallet-Stevens served in the air force from 1914 to 1917 and upon his return to Paris, he worked on various commissions for small private homes and the interiors of gas stations, ocean liners and showrooms.

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