Artist Detail

Paul Iribe (France 1883-1935)

Paul Iribe ( June 8, 1883 – September 21, 1935) was a French illustrator, and designer in the decorative arts. He worked in Hollywood during the Twenties and was Coco Chanel’s lover from 1931 to his death.

Early Life and Career

Joseph Paul Iribe was born in Angoulême, France in 1883, of a father born in Pau (Béarn), Jules Jean Iribe (1836-1914). Iribe received his education in Paris. From 1908 to 1910 he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and the College Rollin.

Illustrator and designer

At age seventeen Iribe provided illustrations for the popular L’Assiette au Beurre and also contributed drawings and caricatures for French satirical papers such as Le Rire, Le Sourire, and La Baïonnette. His reputation grew, and it was said, “no one could sketch an event more tellingly.” He was one of a talented group of like illustrators including George Barbier, George Lepape, George Martin, and Pierre Brissaud. Their modernist style, informed by both the vitality of the revolutionary art movements of the era, and by the flat planes and minimalism identified with Japanese painting served to revitalize the popularity of the fashion plate. These fashion plates were hand colored using the pochoir process, whereby stencils and metal plates are used allowing for colors to be built up and gradually nuanced according to the artist’s vision. The fashion plate, in use for some time, was in essence an advertising tool—a piece of artwork used to create desire for the newest clothing looks aimed at an audience of the fashionable and moneyed. Iribe’s work is primarily distinguished by the illustrations he executed for style journals such as La Gazette du Bon Ton where his charming vignettes of the latest modes helped promote the designs of couturiers such as Paul Poiret. The appeal of these illustrations lay in their depiction of stylish women pursuing the everyday activities of an affluent life style. Iribe’s design career was a prolific one, contributing text and visuals to Vogue magazine, designing fabrics, furniture, rugs and doing interior design work for wealthy clients.

Design aesthetic

Iribe favored the liberal display of fluid forms, more in concordance with the design elements which were the hallmark of the Art Nouveau movement—poufs, lamé textiles; walls hung with tapestries, and carpeted floors. He was hostile to the new school of industrial design, and provided his own terse critique of the Art Deco Exposition of 1925: “the alliance between Art and the cube.”

In 1933, Iribe collaborated with Coco Chanel in the design of extravagant jewelry pieces commissioned by the International Guild of Diamond Merchants. The collection, executed exclusively in diamonds and platinum, was exhibited for public viewing and drew a large audience; some three thousand attendees were recorded in a one-month period.

The couturier, Paul Poiret recognized Iribe’s talent and brought him in to create drawings, which would compellingly represent the new models in his collection. These illustrations were later compiled into an album,”Les Robes de Paul Poiret racontée par Paul Iribe” published in 1908. The book created a controversy, as Poiret’s design aesthetic promoted clothing with a relaxed line, emphatically denouncing the corseted look so long in vogue as the mandated female silhouette. In “Portraits-Souvenirs,” Jean Cocteau made a wry observation: “Iribe’s album disgusts mothers.” Contentious opinion, however, fueled a public debate providing Poiret with the publicity that ultimately brought him success. Poiret’s success also proved a triumph for Iribe.


In 1919 Iribe was in Hollywood recruited for design work by film director Cecil B. DeMille. Iribe and DeMille were ideally paired collaborators sharing a penchant for luxury replete with all the entailing visual drama. DeMille allowed Iribe complete creative freedom. In Hollywood, Iribe practiced the same design sensibilities for which he was renowned in Paris. His depiction of Egypt for DeMille’s 1923 “TheTen Commandments,” was not a Biblical rendition but pure Hollywood fantasy, all lacquered glamour and opulence.

In 1924 Iribe was given free rein in a film project for which he was director, set designer and costumer, “Changing Husbands,” starring Leatrice Joy. The character of the male protagonist represented Iribe himself, the novice director having reconstituted his own image for the screen. The film proved to be a critical disaster. The New York Times gave it a scathing review, calling the film absurd, and the direction “amateurish.”

Iribe was a man prone to anger, shouting matches, and fist fights when contradicted and did not endear himself to colleagues. He engaged in a sustained feud with DeMille’s key costume designer, Mitchell Leisen, which resulted in Leisen being fired by DeMille in 1923. After Iribe’s costly and infamous failure with “Changing Husbands,” DeMille was forced to make peace with Leisen and bring him back in. For his film “King of Kings,” DeMille assigned Leisen as head designer. Now working with Leisen, Iribe made a serious design error for one of the sets and DeMille let him go. “Iribe left Hollywood without any hope of returning there.”

Back in Paris, a consolation prize awaited Iribe. His wife Maybelle gave him his own design establishment dedicated to the decorative arts located on the fashionable Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Le Témoin 1906-1910

The first incarnation of Iribe’s journal, Le Témoin, (“The Witness”) was published from 1906-1910. It was a compendium of social and political satire with artwork by Iribe and contributions by other well-known illustrators of the day.Broadcasting a demonstrable French nationalism, the major illustrations in Le Témoin were always executed in three colors, the blue, white and red of the French flag. The back cover was invariably an advertisement for French commerce—boosterism for French made goods and industry. Signing his work “Jim,” a caricature drawn by the then unknown Jean Cocteau was published in Le Témoin In 1910; his likeness of actress Sarah Bernhardt was well received and brought him instant recognition.


The second appearance of Le Témoin debuted on December 10, 1933, and sixty-nine issues were printed until its demise on June 30, 1935. Iribe’s illustrations were prolific, rendered in dark monotones of black and white punctuated by vivid red. Unlike its earlier version, this second run of Le Témoin contained art solely by Iribe himself. It was re-figured into a strident platform for aggressive patriotism, an ultra-nationalist voice fueling an irrational fear of foreigners and preaching anti-Semitism. Jews are invariably presented as the stereotypical aggregate of menacing “hook-nosed” outsiders, holding France at their mercy.

The drawings, political polemics, featured the identifiable likeness of Iribe’s lover Coco Chanel re-imagined as the iconic symbol of French liberty, Marianne. One such rendering shows Marianne (Chanel) being subjected to trial and sentence by a court of world leaders, Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain, Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Franklin Roosevelt of The United States. In a corollary illustration, her prostate figure is lying at the feet of a gravedigger readying to bury the grandeur of France; the gravedigger is Édouard Daladier, the Prime Minister of the French Republic.

Private life

Iribe was part of a Parisian, bohemian clique, a cosmopolitan mix of personalities from the world of the arts and elite society. Notable members were Misia Sert, her husband, Spanish painter, José-Maria Sert, Jean Cocteau and his lover, French actor, Jean Marais, Serge Lifar, a member of the Diaghilev ballet, and couturier, Coco Chanel. It was a libertine group rife with emotional, and sexual intrigues—all fueled by drug use and abuse. The writer Colette harbored an instinctive distrust of Iribe. She wrote: “he coos like a dove which makes it all the more interesting, because you will find in old texts that demons assume the voice of Venus.” Whenever Iribe approached her in greeting, Colette would demonstrate a mannerism described as a sign of exorcism. Iribe’s involvement with Coco Chanel was particularly intense. Chanel found Iribe’s provocative wit and professional drive matched her own. Theirs was a romantic liaison, and a bond of like souls who shared the same right-wing politics. Chanel financed the publication of Iribe’s journal, Le Témoin in the 1930s.


In 1911, Iribe married actress/variety entertainer Jeanne Dirys. A 1910 piece of jewelry Iribe designed, a luxe turban brooch shaped as an aigrette inlaid with emerald and pearl, was worn by his wife in a 1911 stage production, “Le Cadet des Courtas.”] They divorced in 1918.

Maybelle Hogan, an heiress, and former wife of George Coppicus, a theatrical/concert impresario, became Iribe’s second wife. They had two children, Pablo born in 1920 and Maybelle born 1928. The couple separated in 1928, a decision predicated on Iribe’s involvement with Coco Chanel.

By 1933, intimates of the Chanel, Iribe social circle were convinced that the two were engaged to be married and a ceremony was imminent.


Iribe was with Coco Chanel, at her villa, La Pausa, on the French Riviera, in September, 21 1935, when he suddenly collapsed and died while playing tennis. Chanel witnessed his death, and felt his loss deeply, grieving over him for a protracted period of time


Paul Iribe

Joseph-Paul Iribe, né le 8 juin 1883 à Angoulême1 et mort le 21 septembre 19352 à Roquebrune, est un dessinateur, illustrateur de mode, affichiste, patron de presse, réalisateur et décorateur français. Il est considéré comme un des précurseurs du mouvement de l’Art déco. Il fut le compagnon de Gabrielle Chanel.

Paul est le fils de Jean-Jules Iribe3 (Pau, 1836 – 1914), ingénieur du cadre auxiliaire des travaux de l’État, qui fut rédacteur au journal Le Temps4,5. S’il s’agit bien là de son père (et non de l’ingénieur Jean-Gustave Iribe, né en 1845, le frère de Jules), c’est lui qui fut chargé le 16 mai 1871 d’abattre la colonne Vendôme6.

Illustrateur, caricaturiste et homme de presse

Après des études à l’École des beaux-arts7, Paul Iribe collabore en tant que dessinateur et caricaturiste à de nombreuses revues dont Le Rire (dès 1901), Cocorico, Le Sourire et L’Assiette au beurre.

En 1906, il crée Le Témoin, un journal illustré satirique de tendance nationaliste, d’une présentation novatrice, grâce à l’argent de Dagny Bjornson-Langen, divorcée de l’éditeur allemand Albert Langen, le fondateur de Simplicissimus. Le Témoin s’arrête en 1910.

En 1908, à la demande de Paul Poiret, il conçoit un ouvrage intitulé Les Robes de Paul Poiret racontées par Paul Iribe qu’il illustre et dont il supervise la fabrication. Cet album, d’un style très nouveau, devient le modèle des catalogues de mode et inspire l’homme de presse Lucien Vogel.

Il lance, avec François Bernouard, sa première revue d’art, Shéhérazade, « album mensuel d’œuvres inédites, d’art et de littérature » le 10 novembre 1909, dans un format carré, avec pour rédacteur en chef, Jean Cocteau (qui tiendra 4 numéros) et où l’on trouve Francis Carco comme secrétaire. La revue s’arrête le 15 mars 1911 (6 numéros)

En 1913, Paul Iribe travaille en tant que décorateur d’intérieur, et crée des meubles pour Paul Poiret et Jeanne Lanvin, ou encore pour le mécène couturier Jacques Doucet. Ce dernier lui confie l’installation de son nouvel appartement. Ses meubles précieux s’inspirent du mobilier XVIIIe siècle. Il les présente dans une boutique qu’il ouvre cette année-là rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.

Le milieu parisien de la mode lui resta fidèle dans les années 1920, lorsqu’il revint des États-Unis. Ainsi, pour Jeanne Lanvin, il est sans doute à l’origine du design de la marque du parfum Arpège (1926). C’est également à cette époque qu’il rencontre Coco Chanel, dont il devient au début des années 1930 le compagnon puis le fiancé

Fin 1914, aux débuts de la Première Guerre mondiale, il publie Le Mot10 avec de nouveau Jean Cocteau. Cette revue patriotique, très soignée, comporte vingt numéros, et reprend la maquette et l’esprit de son précédent hebdomadaire, Le Témoin. La publication s’arrête au bout d’un an, le lectorat ne suit pas.

Paul Iribe fournit ensuite de nombreux dessins à La Baïonnette.

En 1919, il part pour huit ans aux États-Unis, avec comme première idée de fonder là-bas une agence de création artistique internationale. Puis, il se rend à Hollywood, embauché par la Famous Players-Lasky, propriétaire des studios de la Paramount Pictures, comme directeur artistique des productions de George Fitzmaurice. Plus tard, il travaille aux côtés de Cecil B. DeMille, d’abord sur Le cœur nous trompe, en 1921, et collabore en tout à seize films dont la première version muette des Dix Commandements. Il se brouille avec DeMille et finit par rentrer en France.

Il coréalisa plusieurs films, dont Changing Husbands (en) (1924) — en revanche, c’est sa nièce, Marie-Louise Iribe (1894-1934), qui dirigea en 1930 une adaptation de l’œuvre de Gœthe, Le Roi des Aulnes.

Selon Paul Morand11, le retour de Paul Iribe en France à la fin des années 1920 se produit dans une relative indifférence de sa personne : l’artiste doit alors reconquérir sa place au sein de la communauté des créateurs français.

Il s’intéresse aux domaines les plus variés de l’art décoratif : bijoux, tissus, éventails, livres d’enfants, cartes postales… Il crée un motif qui restera un des symboles de la période Art déco, une rose stylisée, la « rose de Paul Iribe ». Il répond à de nombreuses commandes publicitaires pour l’agence Wallace & Draeger12, dont certains catalogues de grande qualité, notamment pour le marchand de vins Nicolas et le paquebot Normandie.

Son atelier comprend une importante structure éditoriale et une activité d’imprimerie d’où sortiront de nombreuses publications.

En décembre 1933, il reprend, pour soixante-neuf numéros, Le Témoin, journal illustré qu’il avait créé en 1906. Le ton de cette feuille satirique, un périodique jugé « confidentiel et inutile » par Edmonde Charles-Roux13, était résolument nationaliste, antiparlementariste, anticommuniste, antihitlérien et xénophobe, voire à tendance judéophobe, se montrant particulièrement violent au moment de l’affaire Stavisky et des événements du 6 février 1934.

Il lance, en collaboration avec la marque automobile Matford et à l’initiative de son administrateur, Maurice Dollfus, la Revue des sports et du monde, un bimestriel prestigieux qui comprendra 29 numéros illustrés en partie en couleurs, et la collaboration de Gabrielle Chanel, André Demaison, Jean Giraudoux…

En 1934, il publie Parlons français, livre illustré de 37 dessins.

Il décède, foudroyé par une embolie, le 21 septembre 193514 à Roquebrune[réf. nécessaire] dans la villa de Gabrielle Chanel, La Pausa, lors d’une partie de tennis : c’est ce que rapporte Paul Morand, témoin du drame, dans les pages du Figaro, illustrées par un portrait dessiné par Jean Cocteau15. Il est enterré à Barbizon.

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Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Gagnez du Temps en Dormant

A very scarce Paul Iribe publication/ Très rare plaquette publicitaire créée et illustrée par Paul Iribe.

Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935)

Gagnez du Temps en Dormant

Compagnie internationale des wagons-lits et des grands express européens.

Editions Paul Iribe.  c 1934

Soft bound

8 ¼”x 6 ¾”

21 x 17 cm

16 pages (including covers)


This item is listed in the Paul Iribe Catalogue Rasisonne:

Paul Iribe Precurseur De L’Art Deco, October 6,1983-December 31, 1983

Anne-Claude Lelieur; Paul Iribe; Raymond Bachollet; Daniel Bordet

Published by Bibliotheque Forney, Paris, 1983

Page 121 Entry 300

“Dans un tres joli petite plaquette, aux dessins precieux, a la typographie soignee realise a la meme periode pour la Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, Iribe Utilisait aussi le theme de la nuit etoile. (n 181-3) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant”


There are no current listings for this item on the web. Neither Abe nor Slam offers a copy and the last mention that we could find was an auction listing for 2001 from Nicolay, Paris with an estimate of FF 2000 – 3000


Condition report: Overall very good. Slight edge wear and handling. Contents slightly shaken. Small opening at the one staple. Otherwise very good. Colors are bright and full. No fade. A very nice copy of this rare item.

Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant  Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en DormantPaul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant Paul Iribe (French 1883-1935) Gagnez du Temps en Dormant

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