Raymond Subes


At the beginning of his career, the blacksmith Raymond Subes did not draw inspiration for his designs from contemporary art, but rather from Philippe’s furniture style. As a disciple of Emile Robert, he represented a traditionalist craftsmanship consciousness far more than most of his colleagues in the 1920s. It was only from 1930 onwards that his style was clearly based on the spartan, angular forms of Art Deco.

Subes was extraordinarily productive and worked for an exclusive clientele. His wrought iron works were found in the French pavilion at the International Exhibition of 1925, in the Colonial Museum and in the three ocean liners Normandie, Atlantique and Ile de France. For the International Exhibition of 1937 he created a fountain in the Radio Pavilion and a Madonna statue for the Papal Pavilion.

In addition to his wrought iron furnishings, Subes showed his extensive range of lamps at the exhibitions of the Autumn Salon and the Société des Artistes Décorateurs from 1919 to 1939. The lighting objects were also made of wrought iron, which was patinated, gilded or chromed to vary the surface. Polished steel, bronze or chased copper also served as decorative enrichment. For the lampshades he used alabaster, Levantine marble, frosted glass and, in the early 1920s, embroidered silk shades, which he had handcrafted by the Lehuché-Méry salon.

In 1920 and 1921, Subes exhibited bedside lamps made of marble and copper – a rarity for a blacksmith who, according to conventional wisdom, was precluded from making small and intricately designed objects. His ‘heating light vase’ from 1932 also received a lot of attention as a novelty: it was a light vase mounted on a radiator that cast its light onto the ceiling. His illuminated vases made of fluted and lacquered columns were very successful in their bold simplicity.

Source: Alastair Duncan, Lampen Lüster Leuchter, Jugendstil Art Déco, Prestel-Verlag, München 1979, p. 186-187

Picture: Alastair Duncan, Lampen Lüster Leuchter, Jugendstil Art Déco, Prestel-Verlag, München 1979, Picture 133

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