François-Louis SCHMIED

( Genève, 1873 - Tahanaout (Maroc), 1941 )
A bird, 1926

Gouache

16 x 11,5 cm

Signed and dated

In book art of the 1920s, one book binder stands out : Francois-Louis Schmied, painter, editor, printer, illustrator, engraver and book-binder, Schmied incarnates the Art Deco style, which he brings to its sommet in the domain of publishing.

Born in 1873, Schmied enters at the age of 17 the Ecole des Arts Industriels in Genèva, and then studies at Beaux-Arts in the same city. He completes his éducation in the art of book in Ecole Estienne of Paris, to which he moves in 1895.

The artist is noticed in 1910 by the Société du livre contemporain, who commissions him to illustrate in colour the « Book of Jungle » of Kipling on the drawing of Paul Jouve. This work is still considered to be one of the masterpieces of bibliophilia of the XX century. He illustrâtes the works of Pierre Loüys, Gustave Flaubert, Ernest Renand, Oscar Wilde… always with a préférence for romantic stories surrounded by fantastic décor. His book covers continued to delight book lovers during the interwar years.

 

Having lost an eye in the World War I, Schmied adapts his art to a more monumental technique and becomes a talented decorator : he participâtes in the décoration of the liner Normandie with his unfailing friend Jean Dunand. With the latter he creates a group, which also includes Jean Goulden and Paul Jouve, exhibited by gallery Georges Petit.

Schmied starts working with Gustave Miklos from 1922, the same year he also becomes an editor, adding to all his savoir-faire.

 

Fascinated by the Orient from the 1920s, Schmied embarks for Marrakech in 1934 and follows General Catroux on his second campaing of Maroco. He is fascinated by the marvelous colours of the landscape, and even though he returns to France in 1935 to supervise some publishing projets, he still spends a part of a year in Marocco and dies there in 1941.