A few key dates for the Féau firm
A story of passion
Although the manual processes have been passed down unchanged from generation to generation, the original workshops have undergone a profound transformation through time. They changed hands twice before being taken on by the Féau family, the current directors representing the 2nd generation of the latter.
Under their leadership, Féau Boiseries has taken on a new dimension.
Establishment of the workshops in Rue Laugier
Charles Fournier, a decorator specializing in decorative painting and gilding, set up his workshop in Rue Laugier, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe. He became one of the most prominent decorators of France’s Third Republic. During the Belle Époque, he conceived unforgettable boiserie decors in a fanciful neo-18th-century style, such as:
– Boni de Castellane’s Palais Rose on Avenue Foch
– the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
– decors for Henry Clay Frick
The Great War interrupts business
During this year when fighting began, Charles Fournier’s workshops were obliged to close their doors. Craftsmen were called up to serve on the front. Few survived.
Bled dry, the business was sold in 1917 to another decorator, Raymond Grellou.
The Féau family acquires the workshops
Joël Féau bought the business, with help from his father, Guy Féau, himself a former assistant of the famous Art Deco–era interior designer and contractor Jean Pascaud.
Joël Féau gained experience in the Jansen firm, a major Parisian interiors company, under Stéphane Boudin, who oversaw the transformation of the apartments at the White House for the Kennedys, among other things.
Guillaume Féau, who had been working for his father since 1988, amassed a very important collection of historic French boiseries for the firm. He discovered an extraordinary set stored away in a fine house in Houston, Texas. Many of the jewels of the Féau Boiseries collection come from this acquisition.
In 2000, Guillaume Féau took up the reins of the business himself. Contrary to the spirit of the times, he holds a profound belief in the future of outstanding boiserie decors. He decided to orient Féau Boiseries’ activities towardcreating “haute-couture” decors to order, for top interior designers.
Guillaume Féau works in partnership with his sister, Angélique Féau Leborgne, to steer the business.
The Féau firm’s crowning glory
Guillaume Féau was approached for the interiors of a villa that has been described as “the world’s most beautiful house.” Built in 1919 in an Italian-inspired style, this idyllic villa has sweeping views over the Mediterranean. In this palace of dreams, on the owners’ request, Guillaume Féau installed only the most precious boiseries from the firm’s collection. He acquired other exceptional decors for the occasion, as well as some equally rare fireplaces.
This interior, comprising 20 rooms, is a total work of art without parallel anywhere in the world. The new generation of the Féau family had thus made its entrance on the grand interior decoration scene.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi acquires decors from the Féau collection
The Louvre Abu Dhabi gave its recognition to the Féau collection. Historic pieces brought together by Guillaume Féau entered the museum’s permanent collections:
– an extraordinary 17th-century ceiling, from the Louis XIV era, with an allegorical painting
– the famous boiserie decor created in 1925 by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann for Lord Rothermere
The acquisition was organized by Henri Loyrette, director of the Paris Louvre, Laurence des Cars, scientific director of the France Museum agency (charged with developing the Louvre Abu Dhabi), and Olivier Gabet, director of the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris.
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