Baptistin Spade was born in Marseille on 13 March 1891. He spent his childhood and adolescence there until the age of 17. In 1906, he was listed in the communal register as an “upholsterer and tapestry maker”, the same profession as his father.
As adolescent teenager, he completed his artistic education by taking courses at the Marseille Ecole de Beaux-Arts (school of fine arts).There, he learned drawing and sculpture.In 1908, he won first prize for sculpting an “Indian Bacchus”.Throughout his life, he demonstrated his love for sculpture which he practiced as an amateur.At the end of this same year, he moved to Paris.
In 1910, he set up a small shop in the Latin Quarter, at rue Malebranche (5th arrondissement).His younger brother, Honoré, supported him.In 1912, he then took over managing the business when his older brother was called up, before he was in turn, in 1914. During this period, the shop moved to the very stylish 16th arrondissement.This move was the main reason for the growth of the Spade brothers' business, clearly visible at the beginning of the 1920s. Set up at 80 rue de Passy, the business was very busy but small, focused around one main room, which served as a workshop and a shop.With each lease, we note, as a measure oftheir professional success, that the “Spade Brothers Upholsterer-Decorators” rented several premises in the area to set up workshops there.
The 1930s marked an important turning point for the business and Baptistin Spade's career. He fulfilled the two roles of upholsterer-decorator and businessman.This second part of his life was prosperous.In 1932, the success of his business led him to combine, along with cabinet-making, carpentry, tapestry and lacquer ware workshops and design office, a garage - quickly builtby his brother Honoré -, in a large building builtfor this purpose in rue des Réservoirs (currently in rue du Commandant Schloesing), near Trocadéro square.These workshops then accompanied the new decoration shop located not far from there, in 1930, at 80 de l’Avenue de la Muette (currently 80 avenue Paul Doumer).
The shop window attracted a diverse clientele who had a shared love for classic furniture, inspired by the collections of the eighteenth century and the turn of the nineteenth century.For his French and foreign clients,Baptistin Spade created a number of designs, from Parisian apartments to villas and palaces.He also designed offices for maritime and aviation companies, banks and insurance companies.Mobilier National ordered large sets of his furniture collections for ministries and French foreign delegations.He was involved in decorating around thirty cruise liners belonging to different companies.
Hand in handwith this success, he enjoyed the recognition he was given by his fellow decorators who made him head of the upholsterer-decorators’ trade union.As Baptistin Spade remained a craftsman, applying his art and skill,he hardly ever took part in exhibitions.During his lifetime he did not give any interviews to the press, trade journalsor otherwise.Baptistin Spade retired in 1958 leaving his sons, Pierre and Georges, to run the business.He died on 16 November 1969 in Paris.
Today, his grandson Didier Spade is carrying on the family tradition by creating a new FRANCE cruise liner.
Baptistin Space produced many designs for private clients.He also produced furniture collections and interior decor for the offices of Air France, the Compagnie des Chantiers de Penhoët and Ateliers &Chantiers de France-Dunkerque.The insurance company Abeille, Radio Luxembourg and the Havas group used his services.Mobilier National ordered large sets from his furniture collections for the ministries of post & telecommunications, education, radio, merchant navy, labour and finance and gave him the task of producing part of the furniture for French embassies in London, Pretoria, Ottawa and Warsaw.
Nonetheless, the name Baptistin Spade is especially associated with the design of cruise liners*. He worked for the main ship-owners: Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes, Compagnie de Navigation Mixte, Compagnie des Chargeurs Réunis, Compagnie de Navigation Paquet and Société Générale de Transport Maritime.
Length: 853 ft.
Width: 105 ft.
Draft: 22.3 ft.
Tonnage: 64,420 GT
Passenger decks: 15
Crew members: 600