Atelier Martine Wallpapers (Paris, 1911-1929)

Atelier Martine, Eucalyptus, c.1912. Wallpaper: impression from a cylinder; black background; 6 colors: white, lemon yellow, ultramarine blue, verdigris (2 tones), dark green, 80 x 79 cm. Collection Bibliothèque Forney, Paris.

Known primarily for his scandalous, un-corseted, draped dresses, starting in 1903, twentieth-century fashion diva Paul Poiret tried his hand at designing and marketing virtually every kind of decorative product. After a trip to see the Wiener Werkstätte in Vienna in 1910, the following year Poiret founded the Atelier Martine. Located at 107 Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, and named after his second daughter, Poiret recruited young untrained Parisian girls to make drawings from nature. Poiret (or, rather, craftsmen he hired) then transformed these children’s “primitive” drawings into pattern designs for printed fabrics and wallpaper. The Atelier Martine wallpapers and fabrics were mainly printed by two companies: Paul Dumas and Desfossé & Karth. Paul Dumas, who ran a printing factory in Montreuil, was the first manufacturer to use the same cylinders for both finishing fabrics and for printing wallpaper in the early twentieth century. Atelier Martine produced patterns until the late 1920s, and had shops in Berlin, London, and Philadelphia.

Also in 1911, Poiret asked his friend—Fauvist painter, printmaker, and designer Raoul Dufy—to direct his textile workshop, Petite Usine, where Dufy focused on designing and block-printing fabrics. Petite Usine was a short lived project however, for Dufy’s designs were so popular, that he was “poached” by the long-established Bianchini-Férier company.

Raoul Dufy, La Foret textile design sample, c. 1911. Collection FIDM Museum, Los Angeles.

More wallpaper samples after the jump!

Atelier Martine, Iris, c.1912. Wallpaper: impression from a cylinder in gray pearl with 10 colors: grass green (2 shades), pink (2 shades), light blue, purple (3 shades), yellow, black, 195 x 80 cm. Collection Bibliothèque Forney, Paris.

Atelier Martine, Field of Roses, c.1912. Roll of wallpaper. Manufacture unidentified. Embossed paper to the cylinder, the cylinder mechanically brushed against a striped background-cylinder and printed in seven colors. Collection Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Atelier Martine, Digitalis, c. 1912. Design for wallpaper, gouache on Canson paper. Manufactured by Desfossé & Karth.

 Atelier Martine, Coquillages Exotiques (Exotic Shells), n.d. Wallpaper printed from cylinder, purple and pink ink on silver paper.

Atelier Martine, Les Pavots (Poppies), c.1912. Wallpaper printed from cylinder, three colors with ivory background.


Information compiled from author’s thesis research and Leslie Jackson’s Twentieth-Century Pattern Design (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002).

Bookmark / Share / Print
Categories: Print-related

2 Responses to “Atelier Martine Wallpapers (Paris, 1911-1929)”

  1. Charlton says:

    These floral designs are amazing. the subtle imperfections in the La Foret print only add to it’s beauty.

  2. […] 100% silk Basho (above) has Japanese influence (and your scribe also spies a bit of Paul Poiret’s Atelier Martine) but in keeping with the idea of sea treasure, your scribe sees languorous fronds of seaweed with […]