Jacques SITOLEUX

(1930-)

Jacques Sitoleux was born in Paris, france in 1930. He spent a large part of his youth in a small village named Sambin, in the "Vallée de la Loire" area. He joined Christofle in 1966 as the director of what was to become the Bureau de Création des Modèles (BCM) and he spent his whole career there, retiring in January 1996.

In 1969 He created the amazing collection Christofle Contemporain. It was Henri Bouilhet who launched the idea of a new collection. He clarified his intentions in the release note which accompanied the launch in 1969: Christofle should not be only the “Specialist of past styles”; he wanted the pieces for this new collection "to be at the forefront of contemporary trends". In further reference to the new products, he specified: ‘their life span will be... more ephemeral than that of past style pieces... But it is certain that one will note in decades to come that these contemporary pieces will have defined their time’. The collection Christofle Contemporain was launched in October 1969, intended to be avant- garde in reflecting the evolution of ways of living, in techniques and style. The models were to be mass-produced, similar to Christofle’s classic collections and created in silver-plate of the same high quality. To avoid increasing production costs, they had to be manufactured without creating new tools. Christofle manufactures its own tools, whose cost significantly affects the pieces’ sale price. 

Vase orgues

This constraint was to have a strong influence on the aesthetic of the collection.The team of the BCM explored and experimented with the factory’s resources using tubes, sheets, and existing tools. The first models of Christofle Contemporain were created by Sitoleux and Paultre. The former liked to match geometric volumes, the latter favored curves. The vase "Orgues" designed by Jacques Sitoleux in 1969, and illustrated in this article, is a perfect example of the high quality of this collection.

Having joined l’Ecole Boulle in 1945, he graduated with a specialist diploma in etching and jewelry and practiced etching all his life.
His professional career began in 1952 with the jeweler Mellerio, where he designed jewelry and religious artifacts. He became very close to Albert Bouilhet, with whom he shared a love of life, a sense of humour and a passion for the craft. Curious about everything, an excellent and rigorous draftsman, his sensitivity and his instinct enabled him to
create well-structured pieces in which curves, as he said, “run lovingly”.

The draftsman Bernard Yot (b.1944), who joined Christofle in 1964, underwent the same training as Sitoleux, with the same specialization in etching and jewelry. [11] It was his first position and he spent his entire career with the company until his retirement in 2006, with a break of three years between 1968 and 1971.

He was replaced in April 1968 by François Paultre (b.1944), hired after leaving l’Ecole Boulle, his specialty being wood carving.[13] The following year he joined the Bureau d’Architecture et de Création leaving Christofle in 1972, for a career in jewelry design.

Jean-Pierre Hamard (b.1941), whose speciality was steel engraving, also trained at Boulle, where he was in the same class as Yot. He was hired by Christofle in 1969 as a three-dimensional layout artist in goldsmithing, before becoming Sitoleux’s assistant in 1983. That year he left to lead design at the porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud. In this way, a team of young men who all began their professional lives trained by the Ecole Boulle, gathered around Sitoleux.

 

Portrait of Jacques Sitoleux in 1993, holding the sword of Jean-Pierre Babelon, which he designed (K8666). Photograph © Jean-Michel Kollar.

Table centerpiece Orgues 5 tubes, silver plate, designed by Jacques Sitoleux, 1969, H. 33 cm (K4889 - Inventory GO1458). Photograph © Jean-Michel Kollar.

Come from an article written by Anne Gros : Christofle 1965-1975: Years of Creative Renewal The Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the present. The vase "Orgues" is illustrated in it and on the back cover.

Table centerpiece Sol Lunaire, 6 lights, 7 elements, silver plate, designed by Jacques Sitoleux, 1969, H. 32 cm (Inventory GO1458). Photograph © Jean-Michel Kollar.