Born into a community of embroidery designers, Victor Prouvé entered the Nancy Design School and then the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Cabanel’s studio. Although he resided in Paris until 1902, he was always active in the artistic community in Nancy, and he became the second president of the Ecole de Nancy after the death of Emile Gallé in 1904.
Primarily a portrait and landscape painter, he was also a sculptor, engraver, metal and leather worker, provided embroidery and jewelry designs, and collaborated with numerous Ecole de Nancy artists and industrials. He designed several glass and furniture sets for Emile Gallé and created plaster models for Eugène Vallin. He also designed embroidery motifs for Fernard Courteix and Albert Heymann and had statuettes produced by the Mougin brothers, Daum, and Parisian bronze castors. Furthermore, he creates several menus, programs, vignettes, posters, and book covers.
His contributions at the Paris and Nancy Salons since 1882 earned him national recognition that results in numerous private and public commissions. He decorated large decorative screens for the community hall in the XI arrondissement municipal building in Paris and the staircase for the Issy-les-Moulineaux town hall. With Emile Friant, Prouvé received a commission for the ceiling of the Meurthe-et-Moselle prefecture and realized twelve medallions symbolizing the twelve months of the year for the city hall of Nancy. He paints the ceiling for the Caisse d’Epargne in Commercy and a large decorative canvas representing several Nancy figures partaking in a Bacchus feast for the La Lorraine brasserie.
He revolutionized the art of bookbinding with Camille Martin and bookbinder René Wiener at the Paris Champ-de-Mars Exposition in 1893, which wins for the Ecole the Nancy national and international recognition for the first time.
From 1919 to 1940, Victor Prouvé was the director of the Nancy Ecole des Beaux-Arts without having abandoned his fruitful personal career.
Some of his work still visible in Nancy includes the twelve medallions symbolizing the twelve months of the year (Hôtel de Ville), the Croix de Bourgogne monument (place de la Croix de Bourgogne) and the sculptures of the Maison du Peuple (rue Drouin).
- Catalogue de l'exposition. Victor Prouvé (1858-1943). Paris, Galimard, 2008
- Edmonde Charleroux, Emmanuel Hecre, Christine Peltre. Victor Prouvé, voyages en Tunisie. Cat exposition Doüera, Malzéville, 1999. Metz, serpenoise, 1999
- Béatrice Salmon, Jean-Paul Midant, Gabriel Weisberg. L'Ecole de Nancy. Peinture et Art nouveau. Cat. exposition musée des Beaux-Arts, 1999. Paris, RMN, 1999
- Valérie Thomas, Jérôme Perrin, Roselyne Bouvier. Emile Gallé - Victor Prouvé, une alliance pour le mobilier. Cat. exposition musée de l'Ecole de Nancy, 2002. Nancy, AAMEN, 2002