Albert Charles Auguste Racinet

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Born in France in 1825, Racinet studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and exhibited his painting at the Salons from 1849 to 1874. In his work as painter, it was apparent how inspired he was by the ancient manuscripts from The National Library, architectural studies and stained glass artistry that he was exposed to by his classical art education. Racinet began working the publication L'Ornement Polychrome in 1869. In production for nearly two decades the immense project  resulted in a two volume set of over 200 full color lithographs that showcased the specific decorative and ornamental pattern work, reflecting a broad range of historical periods. Design elements illustrated were taken from historic fabrics, frescos, illuminated manuscripts, mosaics, architectural elements from diverse time periods and world cultures.

Racinet himself intended for the volumes to be used for practical inspiration among contemporary designers and decorators. His concise and expert editing served to clearly identify large movements of art history and decorative arts. Indeed the work is still inspiring students of good design.

Auguste Racinet was honored with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1878. His works were translated during his time into both English and German, and have since enjoyed a global audience for their detail and scope. He died in 1893.