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Painter, furniture maker, interior designer, maker of ceramics and other decorative arts Francis Jourdain was a pioneer of the Art Nouveau style and distinguished as a decorator after the Villa Majorelle project in Nancy.

Jourdain published many articles on modern art and aesthetics in which he attacked the ostentatious luxury that was typical of contemporary French design. His own designs were simple, with straightforward construction.

He collaborated with Le Corbusier in 1920 in publishing a journal titled L'esprit nouveau, subsidized by the government. It advocated standardization and industrial production as an alternative to individual design, as a requirement to rebuild the shattered French society and economy of the years following World War I.