René Massé

René Massé (1882-1944)

From a family originally from Bois le Roi (Seine-et-Marne), he met Philippe Smit sometime before 1910 and they attended the same schools, “L’Académie” in rue Etienne Marcel and that of Monsieur Gery-Richard in rue Montgolfier.

A strong friendship united the two men for nearly 40 years. He collected the letters he had received from the artist since January 1910 in an album and related in a diary (of which only the years 1920-1935 remain) the details of their encounters.

Married, his wife operated an embroidery workshop on rue Saint Marc in Paris, and he worked as a decorator at Boucheron until 1933.

Very admiring of the work of the artist, Massé exhibited his own creations at the Salon d’automne in 1919.1

He died on 3 June 1944.

1. N° 1310 – Une vitrine contenant: Coussin les Chrysanthèmes (broderie au passé); […] Collaboration pour l’exécution: Mme René Massé. (A showcase containing: Cushion Chrysanthemums (embroidery); […] With the assistance in the execution: Mrs. René Massé).

René Massé, c. 1940, photograph inscribed on the back: “11 November 1944/ for my dearest Philippe Smit/ in memory of my beloved husband/ René Massé/ whose most sincere and affectionate friend he was, your Mathilde” (11 novembre 1944/ A mon très cher Philippe Smit/ en souvenir de mon mari bien-aimé/ René Massé dont il fut l’ami le plus/ sincère et le plus affectueux/votre Mathilde), private archives, Paris.