Born in Grand in the Vosges département in 1852, Henri Husson was the son of a locksmith.He initially learned his father’s trade, while taking drawing lessons in the evenings. For several years Husson worked as a wrought-iron craftsman and restorer for antique dealers.

In 1909, the caster and manufacturer Hébrard gave him a solo exhibition at his gallery in the rue Royale, which was very successful and enabled him to embark on a career as a self-employed goldsmith and engraver. Husson lived in the countryside near Mantes in a large house surrounded by a garden. He drew his main source of inspiration from nature. He reproduced the plants from the fields and meadows and placed perfectly lifelike imitations of insects on them. Husson, was first and foremost a craftsman in metal and was only occasionally drawn to working with enamel and precious stones. He used mainly gold, silver and copper which he patinated, coated and encrusted with molten metal, drawing unexpected poetic effects from these contrasts between colours and materials.

Husson was an unusual artist who kept his distance from the fashions and artistic trends of his era. However he was very close to the Symbolist movement in the very personal manner in which he suggested that things had a subconscious existence. His naturalism and penchant for colouring, oxidizing and patinating metals would seem to be Japanese in inspiration.

The Russian-born collector Zoubaloff donated forty-two works by Husson to the Petit Palais in 1916 and 1922. Zoubaloff particularly admired Henri Husson, whom he compared to some of the greatest Renaissance goldsmiths. This donation means that the Petit Palais owns one of the largest public collections of works by Husson.

D. M.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

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