Exotic tapestries and classical furniture, at Galerie des Gobelins

Fireplace screen in Beauvais tapestry, Arabic scene, 1923, after Gaudissart,

If you are sensitive to beautiful furniture and taspestries make sure to visit the Galerie des Gobelins a fairly unknown but magical museum devoted to the collections of Mobilier National. This unit of the French state, was created by Louis XIVth and keeps approximately 100 000 pieces of furniture, paintings, carpets, linen, china which can be borrowed by ambassadors and ministers to decorate their official residences and offices. They represent the best in French decorative arts.

Sylvain Dubuisson, 1991, Steel, wood and green leather

So the present exhibition, « Sièges en société du Roi Soleil à Marianne » is quite extraordinary for the selection of 300 seats that had a social significance at some point in history. The curator Jean-Jacques Gautier has developed eight sections, which comprise the elaboration and creation of chairs, armchairs and stools over three centuries by the Mobilier National.

Jean Baptiste Huet, project for a Beauvais tapestry for a sofa ca 1782,

If, like me, you are not an expert, the presentation of wooden skulls of chairs can be a little austere so I concentrated on tapestries and decorations. The different processes of making a piece of furniture from the workshop to the gilding of the wood, to the final covering with precious fabrics, shows what hard work it is to create an objet d’art ! And at a time when you find 18 th century authentic armchairs at auction at Hôtel Drouot for 500€, it is fascinating to visit this exhibition.

The scenography was done by decorator Jacques Garcia, here Louis XVIth chairs

I particularly liked towards the end of the show the fire screens decorated with elaborate tapestries and designed by Jacques Emile Rateau and many others for the Beauvais manufacture. In a more contemporary style, Sylvain Dubuisson’s armchair from 1991 in lacquered steel and almond green leather is quite stunning.

Armchair, 1813, by Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, from Palais des Tuileries

It was very moving to see the old furniture from Palais des Tuileries which was part of the Louvre and where Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI th were assigned to residence in 1789. It burned down entirely in the 19 ht century. And the painting projects by Jean Baptiste Huet for  tapestries are totally charming.

I am taking this opportunity to celebrate Alexandre Giquello’s election as President of Drouot Patrimoine ! This young auctioneer associated with Jean Claude Binoche, typically belongs to the Macron generation: he has been modernising the old auction house and will continue to do so. (Until September 24, Galerie des Gobelins)

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One Comment on ““Exotic tapestries and classical furniture, at Galerie des Gobelins”

  1. Susan J. Hewitt

    Interesting. You manage to find a lot of beauty, Laure and that is very soothing.

    I also go out often in search of beauty, but the difference is that I find it in nature.

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