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Maurice Dufrene was born in Paris in 1876. He studied at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs.In 1899, at the age of just 23, he became director and manager of La Maison Moderne, an association of artists who worked together to create designs which could be produced in multiples. These artists were van de Velde, Horta, Plumet and Selmersheim.His work was first shown at salons in 1902, and from 1903 he regularly exhibited at Salon d’Automne and Salons of Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He quickly moved to the forefront of modern design and was with Leon Jallot, among the group of French designers which became known as the Constructeurs, before the First World War. Dufrene had worked on Meier-Graefe's 'La Maison Moderne' around 1900 designing in the Art Nouveau style.By 1910, his work adapted more simplified forms using more substantial materials and construction. In 1904, he became a founding member of the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs, through which he exhibited for thirty years.He taught for a while at Ecole Boulle, and returned to design in 1919 producing neat and logical designs embellished with recurring carved scroll motifs and decorated with marquetry floral medallions in boxwood, ebony and ivory.
In 1921 he joined the studio La Maitrise, as Artistic Director, and began a period of prolific production. The full flowering of his talent became apparent in his refined furniture designs and complete interiors. His inspiration was taken from 18th and 19th Century designs, with a modern approach.
At the 1925 Exposition, Dufrene was everywhere. As well as the La Maitrise pavilion, he designed the 'petit salon' in the 'Ambassade Francaise', a boutique for the furrier Jungman, and the row of shoes on the Pont Alexandre Ill. Dufrene's stylistic development continued into the 1930s when he experimented with steel and glass.
Adapting quickly to the Art Deco movement, the 1930s were just as busy for him.
He died in Nogent-sur-Marne in 1955. His interiors ranged eclectically from townhouses to avant-garde to glass, metal and mirrors, to commissions from Mobilier National for embassies and the Palais de l’Elysée in Paris. He would remain at La Maîtrise until 1952. Today much of his work goes unidentified.