This is an article re-post originally written for Audrey Would! back in August 2013. Now that Audrey related blog posts are featured here, I wanted to re-share, because I love the story behind this Mid-Century great, and his ornately detailed pieces.
You know a notable designer when you see one – that is, when you search for a photograph of him, and all that comes up, image after image, is his amazing work!
Jascha Brojdo. Do you know who I’m talking about?
That’s right. Georges Briard!
Georges Briard was born in the Ukraine in 1917 under the birth name of Jascha Brojdo. At the age of 20 he made his way from Poland to Chicago where he earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the Art Institute of Chicago. Do you know he also studied at the University of Chicago?
Jascha, being fluent in several languages, also served for the US Army in WWII as a Russian translator. He was discharged in 1947, and that’s when his life took on the shape we now connect him to.
A known, or maybe lesser know fact, Georges was an artist first, a designer second, which was ultimately instrumental in his use of Brojdo vs. Briard. But first, how did Georges Briard even come to be? How did he get that name from Jascha Brojdo?
After Jascha was discharged from the army, by the 1950s he had started working in New York with Max Willie whom he met in art school. Jascha first hand painted blank trays, which quickly became a huge success. These trays were initially signed with ‘Brojdo’, but because they were such a success, Willie came up with a pseudonym to mark Brojdo’s commercial pieces, and save his personal last name for his paintings. This is when Georges Briard was born!
How the actual name, Georges Briard, was chosen is mildly amusing. Willie liked ‘Georges’ simply because it sounded very ‘French’, and Briard after the breed of dog he [Willie] had recently lost! No, we’re not making this up!
Georges Briard became most well known through the 1950s, 60s and 70s for his signature dishware and glassware, from basic pieces to gold plated serving dishes. He was behind some of the decorated pieces of companies like Libbey and Anchor Hocking, as he would buy them clear, add his artistry and sign off with his finishing touch.
Georges Briard was also known for his ornate barware pieces like you see here.
Though he never did officially change his name, in spite of how or where Jascha Brojdo’s designer name came from, the bottom line is the 22k gold signature we have all come to know was, and still is his brand.
Jascha Brojdo died on July 30, 2005… Georges Briard lives on today!
I am happy to raise a glass in celebration of Jascha Brojdo yesterday, Georges Briard today. Will you join me?
Thanks for stopping by!
Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated. Please link and credit if you choose to use!