François Garas
Artist's Interior

Artist's Interior, cross section of a study
François Garas (1866-circa 1925)
Artist's Interior, cross section of a study
1896
Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and gouache
H. 62; W. 47 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewanowski

Intérieur d'artiste, coupe sur le cabinet de travail [Artist's Interior, cross section of a study]


François Garas remains a mysterious architect, whose artistic pantheon included Baudelaire and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as John Ruskin, Richard Wagner, Jean Carriès and Edouard Manet. He obtained his diploma in 1894, and until 1914 regularly exhibited utopian architectural projects at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. His career started with the exhibition Architects' Impressions in 1896 at the Le Barc de Bouteville gallery, alongside his fellow architects Henri Sauvage, Henry Provensal and Gabriel Guillemonat. This exhibition, accompanied by a rebellious booklet by the architect Frantz Jourdain, wanted to get rid of "the mental slavery produced by the exclusive study of Greek and Roman architecture, and by a knowledge of nothing but the Italian Renaissance". This drawing featured in the exhibition; then it was seen again, the same year, in an exhibition by the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, as part of a collection entitled Artists' Interiors.
From 1897, Garas exhibited increasingly oneiric projects at the Salon - "temples for future religions", dedicated to Beethoven, Wagner, Life, Death and Thought. While his companions from the early days were designing social housing, Garas continued along the same fanciful path, then disappeared from the architectural scene without any of his projects ever having been built.
This improbable bureau, is more like an alchemist's laboratory, and is a perfect example of this esoteric trend in architecture around 1900.




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