Matégot was born on 4 April 1910 at Tápió-Sully, a village about 20 kilometres from Budapest in Hungary. He studied at the school of fine arts and architecture in Budapest between 1925 and 1929. He created sets for the National Theater. He then traveled in Italy and the United States before settling in France in 1931. There he took jobs that included making sets for the Folies Bergère, window dressing at the Galeries Lafayette, designing women’s dresses and, in the late 1930s, creating tapestries. In 1933 he started to create his first examples of rattan furniture mounted on metal frames.
Matégot volunteered for the French army at the start of World War II (1939–45) and was taken prisoner, being freed in 1944. As a prisoner, he worked in a plant manufacturing mechanical accessories, where he learned the techniques and potential of sheet metal. After being released he became naturalized as a French citizen.