Clément was born in 1940 in Vibraye, to the south west of Paris, and lived in the French capital for more than 30 years. Fifteen years ago, he moved to a former fisherman’s cottage in Normandy. In 1978, the artist started to make glass furniture in a cellar in the rue Germain-Pilon in the 18th Arrondissment of Paris. For a long time he used furniture, which he picked up in the flea market. Since 2005, Clément has been creating furniture from his own designs, under the brand name of “Les meubles précieux”. As the finished pieces are one-of-a-kind, they are numbered and signed (on a glass plate attached to the back of the furniture). Clément has always been secretive and mysterious about his creative world, speaking rarely and even then very reluctantly about his work and technique. He remains silent on the origins or influences of his pictorial and ornamental motifs.
The self-assured style of his pieces and their glass shell with plant motifs and brightly coloured flowers puts him in the tradition of the French Art Deco; but his furniture does not have the ornamental discipline of that movement. It is undeniable that the Lido of Paris has had a strong influence on him.
When he was 18 years of age, Clément began working as a doorman at 78 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the first home of the famous cabaret established in 1946. He soon became assistant-director and right-hand man of the legendary juggler Rudy Cardenas, whom he accompanied on a tour to Barcelona.
The world of the Lido, with its famous “Bluebell girls” and their finery and long feathers, its lavish stage sets and costumes, its elegant lighting and its frivolous but immaculately executed show, had a lasting impact on the artist.
Clément clearly reflects the forms and colours of this entertainment world in his furniture, representing them as an element of nature. This reveals itself spontaneously and by association. We are reminded both of the untamed and wild vegetation of a primeval forest, and the clear colours and clean lines of a flowerbed in a park. The artist further creates this impression by using mirrored glass.
About a third of his furniture consists of a high proportion of mirrored glass, with a reduced area of coloured glass; in some of his pieces there are fewer mirrored surfaces and coloured glass dominates. This in no way changes the number of fragments he uses per square metre.