Jules Leleu

French, 1883 - 1961

Jules-Emile Leleu (1883-1961), the French furniture designer and sculptor, was born and raised just outside of Paris in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. He began studying decorative painting at 26 and in 1901, he and his brother Marcel took over his father’s family painting business. Leleu also studied at the Academie des Beaux-Arts with Theophile Deman and in Brussels at the Ecole Jean Goujon and at Ecole des Arts Appliques in France. After fighting in World War I, Jules returned home and opened his gallery, Maison Leleu. In 1925 he won the grand prize at the Exposition Industrielle et Arts Decoratifs. Leleu’s style transitioned from neotraditionalism of the 1920s to more simple techniques in the 1930s. In the 1940s, Jules Leleu furniture became more decorative and reinterpreted. He designed decors for French embassies, royal residences and interiors and suites for more than 20 great French oceanliners. His work continued into the 1950s-when he worked with his two children, son Andre and daughter, Paule. Jules Leleu passed in 1961 leaving a lifelong legacy of influence on French design.

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