Touched by the wand of historians, Jean Prouvé went from workshop activity to becoming one of the greatest designers of the 20th century. He had everything it took for the goddess of critical fortune to grant him his gifts, albeit post-mortem: a child of both the forge and the factory, Prouvé was an outsider and a pioneer, which also earned him the status that usually completes the triad of heroic prestige, that of misunderstood creator.

This triadic description brings Prouvé closer to other contemporary figures whose standing in the eyes of critics ended up in marginality, prophecy, and failure, such as Richard Buckminster Fuller, although the parallelism is far from perfect. Like Bucky, Prouvé produced an unconventional architecture, but unlike him, he never stopped receiving real commissions. Like Bucky, Prouvé had faith in progress, but he never aspired to preach it, as his faith was built less on words than on works. And, like Bucky, Prouvé was skilled in the art of failure, though not so much because his vision foresaw the future, but because it was anchored in his artisanal past...[+]

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