Alvar Aalto & la Maison Louis Carré

6 - 31 July 2022
  • In the mid 1950’s, Louis Carré commissioned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto to build a house in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne (Yvelines), France. The...

    In the mid 1950’s, Louis Carré commissioned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto to build a house in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne (Yvelines), France. The projet was to create  a « Maison Cimaise », a showcase where Carré would live and expose the artworks from his important modern collection. He chose Alvar Aalto, whose reputation was starting to grow internationally. From thereon, a  lifelong friendship began between Carré and Aalto who both had a « universal idea of art ». 

     

    Aalto always saw his architectural projects as total works of art – Gesamtkunstwerk - and the Maison Louis Carré was no exception. In collaboration with his second wife Elissa Aalto, he designed the plans of the house as well as all of the interior fittings, furnitures and light fixtures.  

  • Maison Louis Carré

    A house of art and design
  • Louis Carré (1897-1977) was first known for his work as an art dealer, which he pursued with passion throughout his...

    Louis Carré (1897-1977) was first known for his work as an art dealer, which he pursued with passion throughout his life.  A staunch defender of some of the greatest artists of his time, Carré eventually founded his gallery in 1938. He then became passionate about modern art and exhibited Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Paul Klee and Robert Delaunay among others. Always curious   of the avant-garde, he later engaged with the new generation through a dense program of exhibitions in his French gallery first, and from 1948 to 1952 in his gallery in New York. Close to his artists, he claimed never to sign a contract with them, but rather developed a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. 

  • Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was a hugely talented architect and an ardent spokesman for the international modernist movement, which he drew...

    Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was a hugely talented architect and an ardent spokesman for the international modernist movement, which he drew on to develop his own unique style. To this day he is considered one of the greatest masters of mid-century design and architecture.

    During his long and prolific career, Alvar Aalto’s work embraced virtually all key public institutions – town halls, theatres, churches, libraries and universities – as well as standardized housing and corporate headquarters (for instance, Enso-Gutzeit Headquarters).

    Alvar Aalto began designing furniture and lighting as a natural but vital extension of his architectural thought. In 1935 Aalto and his wife Aino Aalto co-founded the Artek furniture company in Helsinki with the objective ‘to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means’. Innovative and radical, Aalto’s style became known as human modernism.

  • “I asked him to design a house that would be small on the outside and big on the inside (...) Aalto really glorified the space, he created it, this is the sign of a genius – volumes that appear larger than their real dimensions”

    - Louis Carré 

  • Alvar Aalto, master of light Alvar Aalto, master of light Alvar Aalto, master of light Alvar Aalto, master of light Alvar Aalto, master of light

    The question of light had a predominant place in Alvar Aalto’s approach to architecture and design. In Nordic countries, natural lights is scarce for a good part of the year and daylight needs to be replaced. As an architect, his thought was more about finding ideas to exploit natural lights than using artificial ones. However, while experimenting different ways to bring indirect natural lights into his constructions he added some of his own designed light fixtures to accompany the skylight.

    In Scandinavian countries, architecture and lighting are closely connected. As the weather can be rude, the house has to be a comfortable place combining beauty and functionnality. With the construction of the Maison Louis Carré, Aalto transposed this conception of space in France, creating a unique masterpiece. 

  • Not only was Aalto concerned about the optical qualities of the lights he created but he also believed that they should answer aesthetics demands. As a result, all the lamps created by Alvar Aalto can be appreciated as genuine sculptures.

     

    • Alvar Aalto, Angel Wing lamp, 1954
      Alvar Aalto, Angel Wing lamp, 1954
      Sold
    • Alvar Aalto, Floor lamp, 1950
      Alvar Aalto, Floor lamp, 1950
    • Alvar Aalto, Pair of pendant lamps, 1958
      Alvar Aalto, Pair of pendant lamps, 1958
      Sold
    • Alvar Aalto, Turnip pendant lamp, c. 1950
      Alvar Aalto, Turnip pendant lamp, c. 1950
      Sold
  • Ceiling lamp with painted diffusers, ca. 1960 Lacquered metal 25 x 116 x 28 cm (9 7/8 x 45 5/8... Ceiling lamp with painted diffusers, ca. 1960 Lacquered metal 25 x 116 x 28 cm (9 7/8 x 45 5/8...
    Ceiling lamp with painted diffusers, ca. 1960
    Lacquered metal
    25 x 116 x 28 cm (9 7/8 x 45 5/8 x 11 1/8 in) 
    Manufactured by Idman
  • Table lamp, 1955 Lacquered metal and leather 38 x 38 x 36 cm (15 x 15 x 14 1/8 in)...
     

     

    Table lamp, 1955
    Lacquered metal and leather
    38 x 38 x 36 cm (15 x 15 x 14 1/8 in)
    Manufactured by Valaistustyö Ky
     
     

    This table lamp was designed in 1955, especially for the Maison Louis Carré. It perfeclty depicts how Aalto added his own perspective to the trend of functionnalism with a more organic approach. In this design, he chose curved and oblique lines as well as an asymmetrical base to convey a lyrical feel to a primarly functional object.

  • Organic modernism Organic modernism

    For the Maison Louis Carré, Aalto paid a particular attention to the materials he used. Finnish pine and local stone were subtly associated in this manifesto of modernism that transcended Aalto’s Finnish heritage to create an universal masterpiece. Designed as a showcase for the evolving collection of Louis and Olga Carré, the house was both a living space and a gallery. The Carré couple enjoyed organizing events with friends, artists and collectors.

    As a sign of his deep respect for Aalto’s global approach, Louis Carré kept only one piece of furniture from his old home – a small, swivel library – and left Aalto free to use his creative genius in all aspects of the house. From furniture to light fixtures, from exterior fittings to door handles, switches and gutters, Aalto has thought it all out in every detail and has signed a total work of art.  Many furniture and fixtures have been specially designed for the home, the rest is based on models created by Aalto for his company Artek since the 1930s, sometimes with slight adaptations. 

     

  • 'Paimio' armchair, 1932 Birch 67 x 60 x 80 cm (26 3/8 x 23 5/8 x 31 1/2 in) Manufactured...
    'Paimio' armchair, 1932 Birch 67 x 60 x 80 cm (26 3/8 x 23 5/8 x 31 1/2 in) Manufactured...
    "Paimio" armchair, 1932
    Birch
    67 x 60 x 80 cm (26 3/8 x 23 5/8 x 31 1/2 in)
    Manufactured by Artek
  • Garden chairs and table, 1938-39 Painted wood, metal and brass Table : 70 x 100 cm (27 1/2 x 39...
    Garden chairs and table, 1938-39
    Painted wood, metal and brass
    Table : 70 x 100 cm (27 1/2 x 39 3/8 in) 
    Chairs : 81 x 41 x 50 cm (31 7/8 x 16 1/8 x 19 3/4 in)
    Manufactured by Artek
     
  • Rare Stacking armchair, 1929 Molded plywood and solid birch. 70 x 51 x 55 cm (27 1/2 x 20 1/8... Rare Stacking armchair, 1929 Molded plywood and solid birch. 70 x 51 x 55 cm (27 1/2 x 20 1/8... Rare Stacking armchair, 1929 Molded plywood and solid birch. 70 x 51 x 55 cm (27 1/2 x 20 1/8...
    Rare Stacking armchair, 1929
    Molded plywood and solid birch. 
    70 x 51 x 55 cm (27 1/2 x 20 1/8 x 21 5/8 in) 
    Manufactured by O.Y. Huonekalu- ja Rakennustyötehdas A.B., Turku, Finland
    • Alvar Aalto, Side table, 1940's
      Alvar Aalto, Side table, 1940's
    • Alvar Aalto, Table , 1935
      Alvar Aalto, Table , 1935
  • Tea Trolley, 1937 Birch, lacquered wheels and linoleum top 56 x 90 x 46 cm (22 1/8 x 35 3/8...
    Tea Trolley, 1937 Birch, lacquered wheels and linoleum top 56 x 90 x 46 cm (22 1/8 x 35 3/8...
    Tea Trolley, 1937 Birch, lacquered wheels and linoleum top 56 x 90 x 46 cm (22 1/8 x 35 3/8...
    Tea Trolley, 1937
    Birch, lacquered wheels and linoleum top 
    56 x 90 x 46 cm (22 1/8 x 35 3/8 x 18 1/8 in) 
    Manufactured by Oy Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Ab, Turku, Finland
  • Copyrights

    Alvar Aalto and Louis Carré © Alvar Aalto Museum ; Portrait Louis Carré ©Photo : Daniel Wallard, Collection Maison Louis Carré; Maison Louis Carré ©Collection Maison Louis Carré;  Interior lights © Heikki Havas, Alvar Aalto Museum, c. 1960 AAA101911; Interior lights © Heikki Havas, Alvar Aalto Museum, c. 1960 AAA101914 ; Interior lights © Heikki Havas, Alvar Aalto Museum, c. 1960 AAA101915 ; Interior lights © Heikki Havas, Alvar Aalto Museum, c. 1960 AAA101928; Interior furniture © Heikki Havas, Alvar Aalto Museum, C. 1960 AAA101907

     All individual pieces ©Gokelaere & Robinson