Un Ange Passe
January 22, 2013
When I heard the news of Andrée Putman’s passing, I marked it with a minute’s silence. During those sixty seconds, so many images flashed through my mind. Images of the Morgans Hotel on Madison Avenue, Ian Schrager’s first foray into the hotelier trade – a stark, black and white checkerboard concoction that pretty much launched Andrée’s career. Andrée was a natural born decorator. Her rigorous upbringing (the daughter of a wealthy Lyonnais banker, she studied music under Francis Poulenc) meant she totally got the modernist canon. But the self-assurance that came from being the offspring of the very haute bourgeoisie meant she approached it all with an incredible playfulness. Savvy in business, she acquired the copyright to the archive of Eileen Gray – and edited key pieces under the aegis of her company, Ecart. It’s worth considering that without her prescience, the names of Gray, but also Robert Mallet-Stevens and Jean-Michel Frank may resonate less soundly than they do, today. R.I.P. Andrée Putman. Une grande dame, in every sense of those words.