Jacques Gruber was among the best-known French artists of the Jugendstil and Art déco. A man of many talents, he was born in Sundhouse in Alsace, went to study fine art in Lothringen and Paris, and then came back to Nancy, in order to teach at the École des Beaux-Arts himself. He subsequently designed vases for the crystal firm Daum, furniture for Louis Majorelle (1859–1926), and book-bindings for René Wiener (1855–1939).
In 1897, he set up a studio for himself and specialized in the production of stained glass. In 1901, together with friends and colleagues, he founded the artists’ group known as the École de Nancy (‘Nancy School’), whose most prominent representative was Émile Gallé. The artists found stylistic stimuli in the countryside of Lotharingen, in woods, and in gardens, with their dragonflies, thistles, and gingko trees. The far east, especially Japan (which inspired the evolution of Japonism in European), offered another source of inspiration.
Gruber created significant glazing schemes for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nancy, for the Villa Majorelle, and the Villa Bergeret, and in 1912 in Paris, the imposing dome of the Galeries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussmann, which became a symbol of Art Nouveau architecture.
In 1914, he opened his own studio in Paris, and made a fluid and successful transition to the Art déco style.
Françoise Dierkens-Aubry et autres auteurs, Jacques Gruber, ébéniste et maître-verrier, 1871-1936, Bruxelles 1983
Jacques Gruber in WIKIPEDIA (German)
Jacques Gruber in WIKIPEDIA (French)
Jacques Gruber in the Musée de l'École de Nancy
Ecole de Nancy