Mathieu MATEGOT was born on April 4, 1910, in Tapio-Sully, Hungary. He spent four years, from 1925 to 1929, at the School of Fine Arts in Budapest, then embarked on travels to Italy, the USA, and in 1931, settled in France. He began his career as a window dresser at the Galeries Lafayette and La Toile d'avion, then from 1933, started creating furniture from rattan mounted on metal: Significant works, but anonymous. During the war, he enlisted, was taken prisoner, and resumed a new activity in 1945. He created models of decorative or utilitarian objects in transparent metal, which he industrialized; He set up a small factory in Paris and then in Casablanca. Additionally, since 1945, he designed tapestry cartoons published in Aubusson by Tabard. From 1952, he exhibited at the Salons des Artistes Décorateurs and d'Automne, of which he was a member, at the Independents, at the Maison de la Pensée Française, at the Pavillon de Marsan (The Arts of the Table), and participated in all the major exhibitions abroad, North and South America, Warsaw, London, Venice Biennale, etc…
An active member of the Society for Encouragement of Art and Industry, the Association of Painter-Cardboarders, one of Matégot's tapestries was acquired by the state. Matégot has two rigorously independent and opposing activities:
As a decorator, he chose rattan as his material but uses it in his personal technique: a frequent combination of lacquered iron and rattan but in all cases, the woven fiber is always mounted on metal;
As a colorist, he contrasts black or natural rattan with the pure and bright tones of rustic fabrics (recent installation of the bar, reading room and terrace of the Tit Mellil airfield in Casablanca).
On the other hand, and in addition to these furniture sets, Matégot is the inventor of charming utilitarian objects: Rolling tables, Umbrella stands, Baskets, Bins, Flower holders, Plant pots, etc… in transparent metal, perforated sheet metal or rigitulle sometimes pleated like fabric. For all these minor and often obsolete objects, he has designed new, practical, amusing shapes and using a manufactured material, he has treated it in his small workshop in La Villette with a technique and artisanal care. Painter, Theater Decorator, at the same time, Matégot, accustomed to wall optics, chose a more satisfying mode of expression for his Artist personality: Tapestry.
A friend of Jean Lurçat, he began after having adopted the principles of the renovation of this Art, large point and limited number of tones, by undergoing his influence then freed himself to adopt a rigorously abstract conception.
For Matégot, it is not about fashion or choice: he can only express himself through signs, rhythms, games of colors magnified, better, sensitized by the natural beauty of the woolly fiber.
Mathieu Matégot (4 April 1910 – February 2001) was a Hungarian / French designer and material artist. He was one of the most renowned French designers of the 1950s.
Matégot was born on 4 April 1910 at Tápió-Sully, a village about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Budapest in Hungary. He studied at the school of fine arts and architecture in Budapest between 1925 and 1929. He created sets for the National Theater. He then traveled in Italy and the United States before settling in France in 1931. There he took jobs that included making sets for the Folies Bergère, window dressing at the Galeries Lafayette, designing women's dresses and, in the late 1930s, creating tapestries. In 1933 he started to create his first examples of rattan furniture mounted on metal frames.
Matégot volunteered for the French army at the start of World War II (1939–45) and was taken prisoner, being freed in 1944. As a prisoner, he worked in a plant manufacturing mechanical accessories, where he learned the techniques and potential of sheet metal. After being released he became naturalized as a French citizen.
Following the war, Matégot established a workshop for making handcrafted furniture using a variety of materials such as metal, rattan, glass, formica, and perforated sheet metal. The workshop made chairs, tables, sideboards, desks and other objects that he had designed. At first based in Paris, the workshop later moved to Casablanca. All the furniture and other objects had clever, practical and amusing designs. Distributed to decoration shops in editions of 200, his work was extremely successful.
Matégot designed the three-legged "Nagasaki" chair in 1954 and the "Copacabana" armchair (1955/1956), both made of steel tube and perforated sheet metal, characteristic materials whose use Matégot pioneered. The Nagasaki chair is now held in the design collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. The Copacabana armchair is in the design collection at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Beaubourg, Paris. Matégot furnished or decorated buildings such as the Hotel de France in Conakry, Guinea, the Drugstrore Publicis in Paris and the Maison de l'ORTF in Paris (1962).
Matégot continued to work on tapestry while engaged in other design activities, and a 1962 book La Demeure et les Éditions des deux mondes présentent les tapisseries de Mathieu Matégot documented some of his more important works to that date. In early 1960s, Matégot left furniture design to devote himself full-time to tapestry work, becoming one of leaders of the modern movement in French tapestry. His tapestries today hang in many major buildings. For example, three of his works are in the National Library of Australia. When the building was opened, the "three remarkable tapestries glowing like jewels in the marble-clad foyer". He was a friend of Jean Lurçat. His work used a restrained range of colors in rigorously abstract designs. Mathieu Matégot died at Angers, France in February 2001.