Pierre Frey has a date with History / 1- Elise Djo-Bourgeois at Villa Noailles


Known for its eclectic and contemporary collections, Maison Pierre Frey
nevertheless cultivates a strong attachment to the past and to tradition.
For Patrick Frey, understanding the past helps to understand the future.

Through their Archives department, created in 2003 and consisting of more
than 30,000 documents, it is committed to reviving and sharing a heritage
common to all.  Thanks to its know-how and perfect mastery of techniques,
in a relatively short time this fabric editor has become a privileged partner
of museums and an active participant in French cultural life.

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Ainsi, sans préjugés d’époques ou de styles, la Maison Pierre Frey participe à de nombreux événements, par la biais de prêts d’archives ou de fabrications spéciales, permettant au grand public de revivre des pans de notre histoire, de la Renaissance au 20 ème siècle.

without favor for a particular period or style, the Maison Pierre Frey participates in many events through the loan of archival documents or special reproductions, giving the public an opportunity to experience parts of our history, from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Proof in three places, three eras, three experiences :

Exhibition Elise Djo-Bourgeois – “Sur le motif” (6 April- 16 June 2019) at the Villa Noailles (Hyères, France)

Portrait d'Elise Djo-Bourgeois

A woman artist in the 1920s

When Pierre Frey purchased Lauer in 1995, he discovered design treasures produced in the 1920s by a group of exceptional artists: Lalique, René Prou, Burkhalter, Sue and Mare and, of course, Elise Djo-Bourgeois.

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Little known to the general public, this designer of patterns for fabrics and carpets used brightly coloured geometric shapes as her pictorial language. Her career is closely linked to that of her husband, Georges Bourgeois dit Djo-Bourgeois, architect and decorator, known for his interior design, boutiques, apartments and villas such as Villa Noailles in Hyères. The premature death of her husband when he was not even forty years old put an end to their respective careers, causing their work to be forgotten.

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Contactée pour identifier des tissus sur des photos noir et blanc des années 1920, la maison Pierre Frey a très vite envisagé de prêter un nombres importants de documents en sa possession, conçus par Elise Djo-Bourgeois : Quarante-neuf archives, textiles imprimés, déclinés en une multitude de coloris, un recueil d’empreintes ainsi qu’un livre regroupant des photographies anciennes de tapis. Ces archives ont permis de redonner vie aux décors imaginés par le couple. Les textiles aux couleurs éclatantes d’Elise venant contrebalancer l’image un peu austère que les photos en noir et blanc laissaient imaginer.

Contacted to help identify the fabrics seen in black and white photographs from the 1920s, Pierre Frey very quickly agreed to lend a large number of documents designed by Elise Djo-Bourgeois that are in its possession,: 49 archives, printed textiles in a multitude of colours, a collection of prints and a book containing old carpet photographs. These archives have given new life to the environments imagined by the couple. Elise’s brightly coloured textiles counterbalance the austere images that the black and white photos suggest.


Villa Noailles mai 2019 57 © DD Villa Noailles mai 2019 55© DD Villa Noailles mai 2019 53 © DD Redimensionnement de IMG_4320EDIT

A sponsorship accompanies this loan with the reprinting of a design by the
artist on a cotton percale that completes the scenography and shows the
use of fabrics as Elise Djo-Bourgeois had imagined.  For authenticity, the imperfections caused by the original printing process, known as wood plate printing, have been reproduced on the reissue.

Elise DjoBourgeois -® Emile Kirsch JPPM villa Noailles 2 Elise DjoBourgeois -® Emile Kirsch JPPM villa Noailles 8  Elise DjoBourgeois -® Emile Kirsch JPPM villa Noailles 12

Villa Noailles mai 2019 49 © DD Villa Noailles mai 2019 48 © DD Villa Noailles mai 2019 45 © DD

Part of this archival collection held by Pierre Frey was presented during the exhibition Couples Modernes at the Centre Pompidou Metz, where the couple of Djo-Bourgeois decorative artists also had their place residence.

The exhibition “Sur le motif” at Villa Noailles is the third exhibition to explore the little-known and cloistered work of Elise Djo-Bourgeois since 1937.

The second place, “Hauteville House, Victor Hugo’s house in Guernsey”, is
to be discovered in the next newsletter!

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