Union des Artistes Modernes

Founded in 1929, the French Union of Modern Artists (UAM) was an association of artists from various backgrounds: architects, decorators, painters, and photographers. Among the famous names, one might think of Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret or Fernand Léger. UAM members expressed themselves through exhibitions or through joint artistic projects. Although French art was put forward, the ambition was international: it was about changing both the art and the world.

Why such an eagerness to change? Because the old world was not in phase with the new one: the world of modernity. In this respect, UAM artists wanted to build alternatives to the academic traditions of their time. Inspired by industrialization, they proposed a refined and geometric style. And this was no accident: to be of one's time and to embrace modernity implied the rejection of the excess of detail that characterized earlier decorative arts. What was perceived as frills thus gave way to a "rational" simplicity: economy of means, valorization of all materials, accessibility to the greatest number, and thus, a democratization of the arts.

UAM’s manifesto, For Modern Art as a Frame for Contemporary Life (1934), formulates the idea that the arts must correspond to the spirit of the time and to the ways of living of their contemporaries. As a matter of fact, the 1920’s and the 1930’s are made of movement, rhythm, machines, progress, and technical optimism. So many elements that the artist had to embrace. Playing with the association of materials, loving all materials, making 'minor' and 'major' arts work together, searching for balance and purity, experimenting new forms – such were the aspirations of the UAM.

In this spirit, De Bonne Facture offers an edition that pays tribute to the UAM through the simplicity and purity of lines, through the geometric and elegant cut and through the association of materials as if by architecture: "Pure in form because it is rational, practical because it is easy to maintain, acceptable everywhere because it is unpretentious" (UAM’s Manifesto, 1934).


Discover the pieces of the Fall Winter 2022 Edition 19