Louis Majorelle

Louis Majorelle
Louis Majorelle.png
Picture of Louis Majorelle, undated photograph.

(1859-09-26)26 September 1859
Toul, France
Died(1926-01-15)15 January 1926
Resting placeCimetière de Préville, Nancy, France
  • furniture maker
  • decorator
  • artist-craftsman
  • Marie Léonie Jane Kretz
    (m. 1885; death 1912)

Louis-Jean-Sylvestre Majorelle, usually known simply as Louis Majorelle, (26 September 1859 – 15 January 1926) was a French decorator and furniture designer who manufactured his own designs, in the French tradition of the ébéniste. He was one of the outstanding designers of furniture in the Art Nouveau style, and after 1901 formally served as one of the vice-presidents of the École de Nancy.

Louis Majorelle is one of those who contributed the most to the transformation of furniture. Thanks to posterity, we recognize today a piece of furniture from him as we recognize a piece of furniture from André Charles Boulle and Charles Cressent, the french Prince regent's favorite artists. During the early 18th century, Cressent replaced the magnificence of ebony and tortoiseshell associated with tin and copper by the softer harmonies of foreign woods. Like him, Louis Majorelle dressed the elegant structure of Art Nouveau furniture with exotic wood inlays.

The palette he composed with wood from France and abroad, resembles that of a painter. Oak, walnut, ash, elm, holly, plane, chestnut, cherry, pear and beech provide the soft tones and the enveloping range of grays; they serve Majorelle in calm and deliberately monochrome compositions. Rosewood provides the delicate colors and patterns of the flower. The tender yellow lemon tree, the silver maple, the purple amaranth, dear to Cressent, the jacaranda wood, the red satin, the amourette, the orange clairembourg, the black or green ebony, the red or black palm, etc., constituted for him, among the foreign essences, the most extensive colored swell, where his painter instincts could flourish.