Pierre Chapo (1927-1987) is a remarkable artist of the 20th century. Little known to the general public, his exceptional woodwork and his redefinition of cabinetmaking and artisanal design nevertheless guarantee him to be very well highlighted in exceptional sales in Europe and America. The prices of his pieces of furniture are up sharply in auctions, alongside great designers like Jo Colombo. In addition, Pierre Chapo's son, Fidel, decided to relaunch the production of furniture in Gordes according to his father's drawings, which aroused the interest of collectors.
Pierre Chapo was born on July 23 1927 in Paris, in the Belleville district of the 19th arrondissement. He grew up in a family of craftsmen. Ten years later, his family moved to the Cher, in Vierzon. Chapo already has an artistic sensibility, turned towards painting, but at 20 years he meets a marine carpenter, Perrot, who introduces him to woodworking. This medium seduces him. He decides to enroll at the National School of Fine Arts and specializes in architecture. He travels a lot: in Sweden, in Finland, in England, in Germany, in Central America, in Mexico, in Arizona, in Canada… Once back in France, he opens his workshop in Clamart, in the suburbs of Paris. He worked there with wood, in particular elm, ash, and oak. He made his first furniture there alone. His work shows his interest in traditional know-how, which he mixes with influences from contemporary design.
Boulevard de l'Hôpital, in the 5th arrondissement, he opened the Pierre Chapo gallery with his wife Nicole Lormier (herself an artist). He rubbed shoulders with many personalities, such as Samuel Beckett who ordered him a single bed. It is the famous Godot bed. His own works are exhibited, as well as those of other artists like Isamu Noguchi. Decorative items, crockery, lighting, pieces of Scandinavian design, adjoin his own furniture.
In 1960, his work is recognized. On the occasion of the Arts et Techniques de l'Artisanat exhibition, the city of Paris offered him the gold medal. Seven years later, at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, he received the bronze medal from the Society for the Promotion of Art and Industry. In Clamart, his workshop has grown considerably thanks to many important projects. In 1967, he created a second pole of activity in Gordes where he opened a factory to manufacture the furniture he designed. He is interested in the European market, maintaining outlets in Brussels. Three workshops open in the Vosges, as close as possible to wood production.
Until his death in January 1987, Pierre Chapo established himself as an authority in his field and traveled across Europe to give numerous conferences on crafts and woodworking.