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last president was Edouard Dana, who closed the doors of 9 rue Royale in 1989. The famous address subsequently became the flagship gallery for silver manufacturer Christofle. When Maison Jansen began its existence in the late 19th century, its celebration of the tastes of Louis XV and XVI was a response to the great changes France experienced through the Franco-Prussian War and its


aftermath. This romantic reclamation of past eras, which included many more firms and talents than Jansen, protected, if only symbolically, a still-healing nation from the uncertainties of a new century. Like America’s own Colonial Revival movement of the same period, France’s emulation of long-ago monarchs and their celebrated aesthetic achievements provided a safe haven against an unknown future. That is how it began. But Maison Jansen’s offerings became more than restatements of the past. Through the ambition of Jean-Henri Jansen, the firm bridged the historical with the contemporary, subsequently adding the scholarship of the antiquaire and the accessibility afforded by a global network of offices. Especially crucial to its development and stature were the ateliers, which had no true rival. The rue Royale firm became iconic in the annals of decorative arts history through its sheer size and extraordinary expertise. Maison Jansen’s success was tied to its initial audience, society’s elite. This association lasted through the 1930s, but just as one war had created the initial appetite for luxury, the harsh realities of World War II gradually changed the aesthetic needs of Jansen clientele. The great country houses of England and France disappeared, and decorative tastes entered a more democratic sphere. Even with an expanded American market, Jansen faced a gradual decline. Whether it could have withstood such a fall from favor cannot be known. But its closing became inevitable when its overseers dismissed what it did best for the opportunity to compete in what others did better.

Jansen: Decoration (excerpt)  

Jansen showcases 30 of the company's most alluring commissions, including rooms for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Shah and Shahbanou...

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