Jean E. Puiforcat

Mexico and The Art of Silversmithing

Jean E. Puiforcat has long been recognized as one of France’s most important silversmiths. First and foremost an artist, Puiforcat elevated the craft of silversmithing to a modern art form. Inspired by his belief in the natural order of the universe and the mathematics of form, Purifocat works are characterized by their Art Deco-style, architectural lines and purity of material.

World War II forced Puiforcat to leave France, but it was no coincidence that he chose to relocate to Mexico to build a new home. Aware of the deep silversmithing traditions of Mexico and the wealth of available material, it was the natural choice, though instead of Taxco, the center of the silversmithing community, he established his workshop in Mexico City. Here Puiforcat found further inspiration in Pre-Colombian motifs and the region’s landscape. In 1942, Manuel Toussaint, a Mexican colonial scholar, wrote of the gift Puiforcat brought to Mexico with his ability to lift the craft to a more artistic level.

For the next few years, Puiforcat produced exceptional works that were largely sold through high-end American retailers. Puiforcat returned to France in 1945 but died shortly after at the age of 48. Despite his short life, he made a lasting impact on the art of silversmithing, creative thought, and design. 

The land of authentic silversmiths—Mexico—should offer us superb works, for which the world will be grateful.

Jean E. Puiforcat