Mathieu Matégot is an Hungarian designer and interior architect, naturalized French in 1945. From metal to tapestry, he is a singular figure during the post-war period. His design are graceful and have became icons: lightness and freedom are the key word of his work.
Born in Hungary, he first studied at the Budapest School of Fine Arts before following courses of the famous Jasnick Academy. He first started working as a theater set designer: it’s a significant detail not to be neglected considering his sharp sens of scenography in his future interiors.
Settled in Paris since 1931, he started as a window dresser at Galeries Lafayette but he enlisted voluntary stopping all his activities. Unfortunately, he was prisoner in Germany. It was during his captivity he had the idea of inventing rigitulle, his favorite material: a finely perforated metal sheet, in a way reminiscent of tulle. He was picking up defective parts in a cogwheels factory and he decided to design a small Bugatti using perforated metal sheet garbages with one of his friends. It was notably recognized and allowed him to access the drawing office where he has more freedom: he finally succeeded in running away and then to return clandestinely to Paris where he decided to use the industrial material he had worked on to create everyday objects. The rigitulle was born and his vocation too.
He began alone in a small workshop creating his first pieces. But his entreprise grew very quickly: in four years, he was leading a team of about twenty workers, located on rue d’Hautpoul near the Buttes-Chaumont (Paris). His expansion was fast: he joined a Dutch company in Utrecht (Artimeta), opened an office in London and the Matégot-Afrique house in Casablanca.
His catalog included furniture, lamps and a large choice of objects from magazine racks to baskets, usually in metal, his favorite material, combined with rigitulle. On the fashion calendar model, he works in collections, renewing his models and offering limited series. His design is characterized by elegant lines, a sense of balance and mastered volumes: Mathieu Matégot performs “something unique in the treatment of the material giving a visual density that is its true nature”, as art historian Patrick Favardin (1951-2016) wrote.
As an interior designer, he also set large displays and regularly exhibits some of them at the most fashionable fairs: the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs and the Salon des arts ménagers. His position as a teacher at the Nancy School of Fine Arts delighted him.
Mathieu Matégot does not restrict himself to furniture, he is also an artist. He participated in the revival of tapestry, alongside his friend Jean Lurçat (1892-1966), as a cardboard painter. He was one of the first to conceive abstract patterns and he created a special process of piqué allowing vibrant effects.
With Georges Braque (1882-1963), Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Henri Matisse (1969-1954), Le Corbusier (1887-1965) or Jean Lurçat, he worked with the famous Marie Cuttoli (1879-1973). His works are part of the greatest collections, from the Hurchler Foundation (Pasadena, California) to Aubusson.
Mathieu Matégot’s creations are part of the collective memory, near or far. He treats metal like gold. He gives a real depth and an unexpected breadth to the design of the 1950s.