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Atelier Marolles

French

The stark brutalist furniture and decor created by Jean Touret and Les Artisans de Marolles during the 20th century is ripe for a comeback, and it is today drawing the attention of galleries and collectors.

French artist Jean Touret was the founder of Les Artisans de Marolles, a group of furniture makers based in the Loire Valley in the postwar era. The rustic but exquisitely proportioned pieces they produced included benches made from gouged wood, a wrought-iron sconce in the form of a cockerel, three-legged stools with seats carved to hug the body and a series of exceptional credenzas whose doors were sculpted by Touret himself, with themes like the seven deadly sins and pastoral life. 

Touret’s talents were not deployed only on tables and lighting. From the mid-1960s until shortly before his death, in 2004, he earned his living largely through ecclesiastical commissions, the most famous of which was the altarpiece at Notre-Dame de Paris. Installed in 1989 and destroyed in the fire that swept through the cathedral in 2019, the work consisted of a brass chest clad with bronze panels depicting the evangelists and the four great prophets.

More than anything, Touret was a sculptor, although a rather unsuccessful one during his lifetime. He rarely exhibited, sold next to nothing and was never able to afford a heated studio.

Touret was born in 1916 and largely brought up in Le Mans, in western France. He worked in the legal department of a local insurance company before fighting in World War II, during which he spent five years as a prisoner of war on the German–Czechoslovakian border. There, he had his first real contact with wood while being forced to work as a lumberjack. At the end of hostilities, he returned to France, settled in Marolles with his wife, Odile, and declared that he would become an artist (he had previously taken evening classes with a painter in Le Mans). In 1950, the manager of the Château de Chambord commissioned him to create a number of sculptures of deer and wild boars for the pavilions in the château’s park. That same year, Touret established Les Artisans de Marolles. For him, it was more a social venture than an artistic one. As industrialization expanded in postwar France, the village’s craftsmen found themselves in need of work.

The collective’s founding members were a basket maker, a potter, a blacksmith and a carpenter. The last, Émile Leroy, continued his work as a coffin maker while participating in the group. Touret acted as artistic director, imposing his aesthetic vision through direct discussions with the craftsmen in their workshops rather than through drawings. Over the years, the collective’s output was regularly exhibited in both the Marolles village hall and the more magnificent setting of the nearby Château Royal de Blois. Certain items were also stocked by the Primavera boutique in Paris, an offshoot of the department store Le Printemps.

To respond to the increasing demand, craftsmen from other villages were brought in, and as their numbers rose, so did tensions and disputes. Uninterested in ego management, Touret increasingly took a back seat, moving to a village on the other bank of the Loire in 1963 before officially quitting the following year. Although Atelier Maroles continued to exist until 1970, the aesthetic quality of its production took a marked turn for the worse.

Touret then stopped creating secular furniture altogether. In 1965, he met a young chaplain at the Sorbonne, Jean-Marie Lustiger, who went on to become not only his most indefatigable supporter but also a cardinal and the archbishop of Paris. It was Lustiger who initiated most of Touret’s commissions for the Church, whether monumental sculptures of Christ, liturgical furniture or the Notre-Dame de Paris altarpiece.

Until recently, Touret’s furniture and decor had been forgotten for decades. Its rediscovery is largely due to dealers like Benoist F. Drut, at Maison Gerard in New York, and Yves and Victor Gastou, in Paris, who were attracted to its elemental forms and handcrafted spirit. An exhibition in 2022 at the Galerie Gastou posthumously shed light on the work

Find vintage Atelier Maroles furniture on 1stDibs.

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Rooster Floor Lamp in Wrought Iron by Jean Touret for Ateliers Marolles, 1950's
By Jean Touret, Atelier Marolles
Located in VÉZELAY, FR
Beautiful quadripod floor lamp depicting a rooster, in wrought and hammered iron. Mid-Century Modern, France, circa 1950-1960. By Jean Touret (1916-2004), French sculptor and d...
Category

1950s French Mid-Century Modern Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

1950 Ateliers Marolles 3 Leaf Wrought Iron Screen
By Atelier Marolles
Located in Saint-Ouen, FR
1950 Ateliers Marolles Wrought iron screen with 3 panels Beautiful handcrafted ironwork from Ateliers Marolles with an animal character. Composed of 3 panels, each panel is compo...
Category

1950s French Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

French Wrought Iron Six Arm Chandelier by Atelier Marolles
By Atelier Marolles
Located in London, GB
Striking chandelier by Jean Touret for Atelier Marolles. Made of Wrought by the artisans of Marolles, France C.1950 Fantastic quality. Free USA shipping with this item.
Category

1950s French Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Iron

French Brutalist Elm Bench by Atelier Marolles
By Jean Touret, Atelier Marolles
Located in Houston, TX
French Brutalist Elm bench by Atelier Marolles. This handsome hand carved French elm rectangular bench is a stunning example of the craftsmen at the Atelier Marolles. This stunning r...
Category

1960s French Brutalist Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Elm

French Brutalist Elm Coffee Table by Atelier Marolles
By Jean Touret, Atelier Marolles
Located in Houston, TX
French Brutalist Elm coffee table by Atelier Marolles. This handsome hand carved French elm rectangular coffee table or cocktail table is a stunning example of the craftsmen at the A...
Category

1960s French Brutalist Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Elm

1950s French Iron and Wicker Bar Cart by Atelier Marolles
By Atelier Marolles
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A vintage iron and wicker bar cart by Atelier Marolles, France, 1950s. In original condition with age appropriate patina.
Category

1950s French Mid-Century Modern Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Iron

1960 Wrought Iron Lamp "Battu" Ateliers Marolles
By Atelier Marolles
Located in Saint-Ouen, FR
Beautiful lamp in wrought iron "beaten" by hand resting on three feet of trapezoidal section and broken angle typical of the work of the workshops of Marolles. The body of the lamp i...
Category

1960s French Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

Single Wooden Stool by Jean Touret and the Artisans of Marolles
By Atelier Marolles, Jean Touret
Located in New York, NY
Jean Touret (1916-2004) and the artisans of Marolles. There are a few spots of candle wax on one of the two stool but otherwise condition is pristine.
Category

1960s French Mid-Century Modern Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wood

Jean Touret & The Artisans of Marolles, Wrought Iron Floor Lamp, France
By Atelier Marolles, Jean Touret
Located in New York, NY
Jean Touret moved to Pezay, a rural area near Marolles, in 1946. While there, he became highly conscious of the uncertainty that industrial development would bring to the future of t...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Rustic Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

Jean Touret & the Artisans of Marolles Center Table, France, circa 1960
By Jean Touret, Atelier Marolles
Located in New York, NY
Stamped "Marolles." Edition of 20 Jean Touret moved to Pezay, a rural area near Marolles, in 1946. While there, he became highly conscious of the uncertainty that Industrial deve...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Organic Modern Atelier Marolles

Materials

Elm

Jean Touret, Marolles Wrought-iron Tripodal Table Lamp, France, 1950-1955
By Atelier Marolles, Jean Touret
Located in New York, NY
Jean Touret moved to Pezay, a rural area near Marolles, in 1946. While there, he became highly conscious of the uncertainty that Industrial development would bring to the future of t...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Rustic Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

Artisans of Marolles, Rustic Red Oak Side Chair, France, Midcentury
By Atelier Marolles
Located in New York, NY
Stamped Jean Touret moved to Pezay, a rural area near Marolles, in 1946. While there, he became highly conscious of the uncertainty that Industrial development would bring to the ...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Rustic Atelier Marolles

Materials

Oak

Artisans of Marolles, Mid-century Oak Kitchen Chair, France
By Atelier Marolles
Located in New York, NY
Stamped. Jean Touret moved to Pezay, a rural area near Marolles, in 1946. While there, he became highly conscious of the uncertainty that Industrial development would bring to the...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Rustic Atelier Marolles

Materials

Oak

Les Artisans De Marolles / Egg Cup Sculpture in Rattan and Oak, circa 1960
By Jean Touret, Atelier Marolles
Located in Saint-Ouen, FR
Les Artisans De Marolles under the artistic direction of Jean Touret Rare Zoomrphe sculpture "egg cups" representing a rooster in basketwork placed on an oak board presenting two ho...
Category

1960s French Brutalist Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Rattan, Oak

1950 Pair of wrought iron candlesticks from the Ateliers Marolles
By Atelier Marolles
Located in Saint-Ouen, FR
This pair of candlesticks is in wrought iron handmade in the workshops of Marolles in the 1950s. They are composed of a central stem resting on 3 pretty scrolled feet ending in dishe...
Category

1950s French Vintage Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

Jean Touret & The Artisans of Marolles, Rectangular Dining Table, circa 1960
By Atelier Marolles, Jean Touret
Located in New York, NY
Stamped "Marolles." Jean Touret moved to Pezay, a rural area near Marolles, in 1946. While there, he became highly conscious of the uncertainty that industrial development would b...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Rustic Atelier Marolles

Materials

Wrought Iron

Atelier Marolles Set of Four Chairs, circa 1950
By Atelier Marolles
Located in New York, NY
Atelier Marolles set of four chairs, circa 1950. Wood.
Category

1950s French Mid-Century Modern Vintage Atelier Marolles

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Previously Available Items
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Jean Touret & The Artisans of Marolles, Oak Carved-Wood Bench, France, 1950
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Atelier Marolles Wrought Iron Animal Screens, France, 1950
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Atelier Marolles furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Furniture from Atelier Marolles are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many choices in our collection of furniture from Atelier Marolles, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We stock 12 vintage versions of these items, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Atelier Marolles created many of the original furniture by Mid-Century Modern style in France during the mid-20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Hans Hopfer, Marcel Gascoin and Roger Tallon. Atelier Marolles furniture prices can vary depending upon size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $2,081 and tops out at $48,000, while pieces like these can sell for $7,500 on average.

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