Louis Barillet (1880-1948)

Back to Artistlist

Louis Barillet studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National College for Fine Arts) in Paris under the painter Jean-Léon Gerôme and subsequently worked as a medallist. Meeting Jacques le Chevalier (1896‑1987) stirred an interest in stained glass, and as a result he opened a glass-painting studio in the 15th arrondissement in Paris, in Rue Alain-Chartier. He collaborated with Jacques le Chevalier from 1920 onwards, producing his first stained-glass projects with him. The Belgian artist Théodore-Gérard Hanssen (1885‑1957) became involved in 1922, and all three names (Barillet, le Chevalier, Hanssen) appear on the Deposition from the Cross panel of 1927. As the contemporary critic Raymond Cogniat wrote in 1934, Barillet’s success consisted in establishing a fruitful collaboration with le Chevalier and Hanssen, creating on the basis of three very different temperaments and distinct personalities a collective œuvre with its own character.


Between 1920 and 1930, this trio of artists was among the primary movers for the renewal of stained glass in France, at a time when ‑ as in Germany and Switzerland ‑ famous contemporary artists were becoming involved in the design and production of stained glass. This triumvirate’s goal was to establish links between a sculptural formal vocabulary and new techniques, severing links with nineteenth-century traditions of glass-painting, and forming a bond with the ‘golden age’ of medieval stained glass of the thirteenth century. Barillet conceived of stained glass in purely architectonic terms and was against the medium’s pictorial qualities.


Barillet was a member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (Modern Artists’ Union), which was founded by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in 1929 and dissolved in 1958; the architects le Corbusier, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Chareau, and Charlotte Perriand were also members of the union. Barillet’s new, avant garde home and studio were built in 1931‑32 according to plans by Mallet-Stevens at 15 Square de Vergennes, also in the 15th arrondissement. It has now been reconstructed and since 2014 has housed the Musée Mendjisky - Écoles de Paris.

The studio was particularly well known for its technical developments in the area of white window glasses. These consisted of ornamental glasses with very diverse refractive potentials, produced at the Saint-Gobain glass manufactory (named after a village in Picardy), which started production in 1692. It should be noted here that these windows were intended not to have any black surfaces at night (somewhat like the gold and silver smalts produced by Puhl & Wagner in Berlin a few years previously), and that even in reflected light they have the appearance of a glass carpet.

Numerous works, both sacred and secular, are described in WIKIPEDIA 

Further Reading
Jean-François Archieri and Cécile Nebout, Atelier Louis Barillet: Maître Verrier, Éditions 15, Square de Vergennes, Paris, 2005