The visitor has to be pretty motivated to find out about wall papers and fabrics in this exhibition located on two floors at Musée des Art Décoratifs. The explanations printed in gold on the walls are unreadable because of the lighting, and there are no captions anywhere to be seen. If you are lucky enough to grab an explanation sheet, you then have a hard time connecting them to the art! So use your imagination and your eye!
But the double exhibition is quite fun anyway. Patrick Frey and his son Pierre were running around like elves showing their new graffiti artists and announcing new fabrics to come from the Le Manach archives. This magical fabric company, founded in 1829 and recently acquired by the Pierre Frey group (they also own Boussac and Braquenié) has a short list of perfect fabrics also used at Vaux le Vicomte and Chateau de Compiègne among others.
I was not convinced by Benjamin Graindorge sky-like wallpaper but liked the « Monster garden » carpet designed by Marcel Wanders in 2015. A wall covered in « Flashball » by Julien Colombier, was another piece that attracted attention.
Created in 1935 par Pierre Frey, the company has always been ahead of its time in terms of design. Pierre Frey Junior, who recently spent five years in New York running the company, seems eager to continue what his father has done and develop contemporary artists’ fabrics.
On the second floor, wallpapers created by Zuber, Ruhlman, Emile Jacques, André Groult and Jean Lurçat are as diverse as your own taste and Fornasetti and Christian Lacroix are also great fun. They are exhibited thematically all periods mixed. Fake Cordoba leather wall paper can be also very decorative.
I can’t say that the scenography was very interesting, especially the gold revolving closets where you can’t see the fabrics properly, but this exhibition is treated more as a technical show and everyone will find ideas in these animal, flower, landscapes, geometric drawings and trompe l’oeil wall papers. Just let your imagination wander. (107 rue de Rivoli, closed Mondays, until May 15)
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