Edouard Benedictus Biography

Edouard Benedictus




Edouard Benedictus, artist, designer, composer, and chemist was born in Paris, France on June 29, 1878. Limited information is found on the chronology of his life and nothing is found on his education, but it is known that he was a talented artist and important inventor. It appears he came from an artistically inclined family, with the pianist Louis Benedictus (1850 - 1921) being his older brother. In his lifetime he was deemed a Knight of the Legion of Honor and an Officer of the Legion of Honor by the French Government.

Two factions of interest center on Benedictus: his work in artistic design, and his invention of shatter-proof glass. Of the later, he came across his invention by accident in 1903. Having knocked a beaker off of a shelf in his studio and seeing that the pieces were still somehow connected, he surmised that it had to do with the liquid nitrocellulose that the beaker had contained. Some experiementing finally produced was he called "laminated glass," in which a layer of celluloid was bonded between two sheets of glass. He patented his invention in 1909 but it wasn't widely used until World War I, and by 1919, Henry Ford was installing the glass in all of his automobile models. This was followed by improved iterations leading to the 1936 invention of polyvinyl butyral, the basis for bulletproof glass.

The second interest in the work of Benedictus focuses on his graphic art and design. Already a popular designer and critic of the Art Nouveau era, he found his stride with the advent of Art Deco, designing color palettes and geometric floral motifs that earned him commissions from leading European design firms. He was invited to participate as a representative of Art Deco textile design in the Pavillion de l'Ambassade Francaise at the important 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. His work had a profound influence on international fashions in clothing, home furnishings, graphic design, and decorative objects, and is held in the collections of such establishments as the Musee d'Orsay, Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec, the Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Minneapolis Museum of Art. 

Benedictus died in Paris on January 29, 1930.