Patronised by princes and millionaires, captains of industry, leaders of international society, and the occasional dictator, Maison Jansen became the most famous and influential interior decorating house of the twentieth century. Founded by the Dutch entrepreneur Jean-Henri Jansen in 1880 in Paris, the firm eventually opened offices or boutiques in Buenos Aires, London, Cairo, Alexandria, Havana, and New York as well as Prague, Sao Paolo, Rome, Milan and Geneva. Although Jansen initially promoted "modern" or "reform" design when it was founded - which it continued to do throughout its existence - the firm became renowned for its adoption of the eighteenth-century neoclassical styles associated with the last French Bourbon kings. This regal taste would become a hallmark of the firm. The designer Stephane Boudin (1888-1967), who led Jansen from 1936 to 1961, as its president, and whose name was virtually interchangeable with that of the firm, established what became the internationally recognised Jansen look: a skillful melding of eighteenth-century palace historicism, 1920s Hollywood theatrics, and country house subtleties.
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