25 February 2013

Studio Visit: Atelier Peinture sur Bois, Paris

Work in progress at the studio of Jean-Pierre Besenval
Entrance to the Atelier

One rainy day in Paris, after a fabulous day exploring the Musée Carnavalet, my friend Ziska and I set off through the Marais thinking about a good place for dinner, when we were distracted by the sight of a doorway and signs for the Atelier Peinture Sur Bois, the studio of Jean-Pierre Besenval.
I'm a long-time fan of M. Besenval's painted furniture and have two excellent books on his work.
So of course we ventured inside the courtyard to the shop,  where we were warmly greeted by artist Luigi Madéo, Besenval's longtime collaborator and co-author.
The shop contains a gallery filled with beautifully painted furniture pieces and art panels, all done with traditional media and techniques, and inspired by Italian Renaissance ornament, as well as 15th century Flemish painting and other historic European decorative art.
Luigi Madéo in the atelier
We got to talk about  traditional painting methods and the hopeful revival of these techniques and materials, like gesso, caseins, egg tempera, decorative gilding.
Painted furniture and art panels in the studio/gallery of Jean-Pierre Besenval
work in progress in the studio
The studio itself is a showpiece, with all of its beams and posts painted with colorful traditional designs.

This is I think a great way to raise the height of the ceiling and create a simple architectural opportunity for some splendid ornament.
Borders are repeated in different colors and with added elements, and while each beam is unique, the color palette and structure of the ornament is consistent and overall look is cohesive and utterly charming!

The huge support posts in the center of the shop are also decorated, and the designs are painted plumb, even when the  posts themselves are not.
I love this armoire door inset which is spectacularly painted, and seems to pay homage to Renaissance botanical artist  Jacques Le Moyne De Morgues.

If you are in Paris, be sure to visit the Atelier Peinture sur Bois at 32 rue de Sévigné in the Marais; or visit the website at www.meublespeints.com 

All photos in the post by Lynne Rutter, October 2011
click on images to view larger


  1. I'm drooling. Thank you Lynne. Gina

    1. thanks for visiting, Gina. Yes this is right up your ally, isn't it! This work makes me look at every plain piece of wooden furniture and think, hmmmmmmmm....

  2. Oh Lynne! I have a file of his furniture ,but it doesn't compare to these photos! Nice to know the atelier s still open.

    1. According to the website there is a plan to close the shop at some point soon, so I really encourage anyone visiting Paris to go visit while they can!

  3. I can imagine how exciting this was to visit, and for you to have serendipitously come upon it must have seemed as though the whole universe was aligning in your favor!

    1. I never really plan too many things in Paris, because finding wonderful experiences by chance is what makes that city so exciting.

  4. Truly inspirational! Thank you.

  5. How did I miss this one? Wonderfulness!

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