Symbolist Triptych
by Clement Mere

Artist biography

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Clement Mere was born in Bayonne in 1870. He apprenticed in Jean-Leon Gerome’s Paris atelier, and then returned home, where he began painting landscapes. However, he was drawn back to Paris at the turn of the century, where he began to produce leatherware and fabric patterns. In 1900 he joined Meier-Graefe’s La Maison Moderne, working closely with Franz Waldorff, a designer of bookbindings and embroidered silks. At this time he started to make letter openers, fans, toiletry items and bookbindings in repousse leather, galuchat and ivory. These objects were very refined and exquisitely made. Mere introduced his furniture in 1910 at the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs and Societe Nationale. His furniture took inspiration from the Louis XVI period and emphasized the object’s materials. His preferred woods were Macassar ebony, rosewood and maple, frequently decorated with plaques of ivory, leather or lacquer. His furniture was particularly noted for panels of repousse and polychromed leather frequently in a floral pattern. This and his plaques of carved ivory exhibited an Asian influence. In 1924 Mere received two important commissions, a cabinet for Lord Rothermere and a desk, now in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, for Robert de Rothschild. Mere was also known for his small carved ivory boxes with exotic decoration.