BOOK REVIEW: Masterpieces of French Faience

Masterpieces of French Faience

Selections from the Sidney R. Knafel Collection

Charlotte Vignon With Sidney R. Knafel

The Frick Collection, New York in association with D Giles Limited London

 UK£19.99

ISBN 978-1-911282-31-0

9781911282310_FC

This is a great introduction to the world of French faience up to the mid-18th century.  Faience, whose name is derived from the Italian city of Faenza, was first made in France in the mid-16th century by Italian immigrants skilled in the manufacture of maiolica. What the examples, from what is probably the best collection of French faience in private ownership, clearly reveal is the quality of design and decoration which was derived from a variety of sources, including oriental porcelain, prints and silver. By the mid-18th century European ceramics were becoming an additional inspiration for form and decoration.

French porcelain production centred on the King and court circles at Versailles and Paris so faience was the preferred choice for the local aristocracy and merchants around the country. This book introduces us to important centres of production such as Rouen, Moustiers and Marseilles. All in all this is a very enjoyable and useful tome.

 

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court

Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court

gouthiere-lo-res-frontcover

Christian Baulez and Charlotte Vignon. Contributions by Anne Forray-Carlier, Joseph Godla, Helen Jacobsen, Luisa Penalva and Emmanuel Sarméo

UK£54.95 / US$79.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-61-8
Published by GILES in association with the Frick Collection

 

This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in 18th century French decorative arts and interiors. Published to accompany an exhibition – just closed at the Frick Museum but opening in Paris on March 16th – it is a detailed consideration of Gouthière’s work in every way.

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The essays by leading experts and scholars reveal his life and work; the architects and designers for whom he worked for and the craftsmen he used for the production of the finished commissions. There is a fascinating section on techniques and skills used in the creation of these stunning mounts.  Indeed Gouthière is believed to have invented dorure au mat – a matt finish for which his work is noted. The last essay considers the appeal of Gouthière’s name to 19th century British collectors and how things were often wrongly attributed to him.

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The last major work on Gouthière was published in 1912 and so this beautifully illustrated volume is extremely welcome, especially as it includes a catalogue raisonné of the forty-nine pieces that are definitely attributable to him. It’s interesting to note that he only once made furniture mounts and that was for a jewellery cabinet for Marie Antoinette which was sold after the French Revolution and most probably dismantled. I also hadn’t realised that he worked in silver-gilt on a dessert service and toilette set.

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It is sad to think that Gouthière (1732-1813) never regained the popularity he enjoyed up until the French Revolution in his lifetime but this book allows us to fully understand and appreciate just quite how talented a man he was and what a stunning legacy he left for us to enjoy today. While I will probably not get to see the exhibition I am more than consoled by the fact that I have a copy of the book – possibly the next best thing to owning a Gouthière piece!

The authors: Charlotte Vignon is Curator of Decorative Arts at The Frick Collection, New York. Christian Baulez is an historian of French 18th-century decorative arts and architecture and former Chief Curator at the Château de Versailles. Anne Forray-Carlier is Chief Curator of 17th- and 18th-Century Decorative Arts at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Joseph Godla is Chief Conservator at The Frick Collection. Helen Jacobsen is Chief Curator at the Wallace Collection, London. Luisa Penalva is Curator of Gold, Silver, and Jewelry Collections at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon. Anna Saratowicz-Dudyńska is Curator of Silver and Bronze at the Royal Castle, Warsaw. Emmanuel Sarméo is an independent scholar.

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Paris Exhibition: Or virtuose a la cour de France: Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) will open at the Musée des Arts décoratifs,, 16th March – 25th June 2017.

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BOOK REVIEW: Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

Aaron Wile

Published by GILES in association with The Frick Collection, New York
PRICE — UK£25.00 / US$39.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-79-3

9781907804793

France’s involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) unwittingly provided Watteau (1684-1721) with an opportunity to produce a little-known body of work depicting military subjects. As one might expect the military glories of battles or the generals and kings involved were not the subject matter Watteau chose as he preferred the more run-of-the mill scenes of marches, encampments and bivouacs and showing soldiers at rest and play.

Antoine Watteau was a master draughtsman and the book reveals this through the images of the beautiful chalk drawings as well as finished paintings.  Watteau would take a figure from a drawing and with almost the idea of the ‘cut and paste’ technique use it in the composition of a painting as author Aaron Wile explains.

This book is a delightful and erudite composition which is easily accessible to all but is combined with a catalogue raisonné of Watteau’s military works, including drawings now only known from prints.

While the book was published in conjunction with the exhibition Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France, at The Frick Collection, until 2ndOctober 2016, it will have a very long shelf life and be much read and sought after by all interested in the arts of early 18th century France.

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FRENCH PORCELAIN AT THE FRICK COLLECTION

FROM SÈVRES TO FIFTH AVENUE: FRENCH PORCELAIN AT THE FRICK COLLECTION, The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street, near Fifth Avenue, until 24th April 2016

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory Model by: Jean-Claude Duplessis (c.1695- 1774) Pot-Pourri Myrte with Flemish Scenes and Landscapes, c.1762 soft-paste porcelain on gilt bronze plinth 14 3/16 x 7 1/8 in. (36 x 18.1 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest Accession number: 1918.9.10

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Model by: Jean-Claude Duplessis (c.1695- 1774)
Pot-Pourri Myrte with Flemish Scenes and Landscapes, c.1762
soft-paste porcelain on gilt bronze plinth
14 3/16 x 7 1/8 in. (36 x 18.1 cm)
Henry Clay Frick Bequest
Accession number: 1918.9.10

Now a museum, the building was originally built by Henry Clay Frick as a home and in it he wanted to emulate the great houses of the grandest European collectors by combining Old Masters with the best of the decorative arts. He achieved this with the help of the celebrated art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen.

Tea Service (milk jug, tea pot, sugar bowl) Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory French, 1767 Soft-paste porcelain Teapot: 51/2 x 7 3/16 x 4 1/8 in. (14 x 18.3 x 10.5 cm) Sugar bowl: h. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm), diam. 3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm) Milk jug: 4 5/8 x 5 x 3 1/2 in. (11.7 x 12.7 x 8.9 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest (1918.9.21−31)

Tea Service (milk jug, tea pot, sugar bowl)
Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
French, 1767
Soft-paste porcelain
Teapot: 51/2 x 7 3/16 x 4 1/8 in. (14 x 18.3 x 10.5 cm)
Sugar bowl: h. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm), diam. 3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm)
Milk jug: 4 5/8 x 5 x 3 1/2 in. (11.7 x 12.7 x 8.9 cm)
Henry Clay Frick Bequest (1918.9.21−31)

Among the treasures on show is a wonderful group of Sèvres Porcelain which is being celebrated in this special exhibition organized by Charlotte Vignon, the Collection’s Curator of Decorative Arts and made possible by Sidney R. Knafel and Londa Weisman.

Tea Service (saucer, cup, cup and saucer) Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory French, 1767 Soft-paste porcelain Cups: 2 3/8 x 3 11/16 x 2 7/8 in. (6 x 9.4 x 7.3 cm) Saucers: h. 1 13/8 in. (3.5 cm), diam. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest (1918.9.21−31)

Tea Service (saucer, cup, cup and saucer)
Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
French, 1767
Soft-paste porcelain
Cups: 2 3/8 x 3 11/16 x 2 7/8 in. (6 x 9.4 x 7.3 cm)
Saucers: h. 1 13/8 in. (3.5 cm), diam. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm)
Henry Clay Frick Bequest (1918.9.21−31)

The Portico Gallery exhibition examines both the use of Sèvres in the ancien régime and its appeal in America’s Gilded Age and for this items normally on display and others usually in storage have been brought together.

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory Painted by: Jean-Baptiste Tandart  (active 1754- 1803) Plate: Part of a Dessert Service with Flowers and Turquoise Blue Ribbons, 1782 Soft-paste porcelain 1 x 9 3/8 in. (2.5 x 23.8 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest Accession number: 1918.9.36

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Painted by: Jean-Baptiste Tandart  (active 1754- 1803)
Plate: Part of a Dessert Service with Flowers and Turquoise Blue Ribbons, 1782
Soft-paste porcelain
1 x 9 3/8 in. (2.5 x 23.8 cm)
Henry Clay Frick Bequest
Accession number: 1918.9.36

Among the pieces Frick acquired is the wonderful Potpourri Vase “à Vaisseau” and a pair of side vases (Vases “à Oreilles,”) usually in the Fragonard Room.  Two years later in 1918 a boudoir was created on the second floor for Mrs Frick (it was later moved to the main floor) and Duveen supplied a garniture of three potpourri vase feuilles de mirte for the mantelpiece and in a cabinet in the room there were pieces with a turquoise blue (bleu céleste) ground colour. Further acquisitions included a pair of Vincennes Vases Duplessis “à Enfants” and a 1767 turquoise ground tea service decorated with birds.

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory Painted by: Jean-Louis Morin (active 1754- 1787) Gilded by: Henri-Martin Prévost aîné (active 1757- 1797) Water Jug with Marine Scenes, Turquoise Blue Ground, 1781 soft-paste porcelain 8 1/4 x 5 5/8 x 5 1/8 in. (21 x 14.3 x 13 cm) Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick, 1934 Accession number: 1934.9.44

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Painted by: Jean-Louis Morin (active 1754- 1787)
Gilded by: Henri-Martin Prévost aîné (active 1757- 1797)
Water Jug with Marine Scenes, Turquoise Blue Ground, 1781
soft-paste porcelain
8 1/4 x 5 5/8 x 5 1/8 in. (21 x 14.3 x 13 cm)
Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick, 1934
Accession number: 1934.9.44

The collection has been added to over the years with gifts from other family members and generous donors.  The Vase Japon, for example, was bought by the Trustees to mark the retirement of Anne L. Poulet, the Museum’s Director, in 2011.

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory Gilded by: Jean-Armand Fallot active between: 1764 - 1790 Vase Japon, 1774 Hard paste porcelain with overglaze and gilt painted decoration, and gilt silver hardware 20.3 cm (8 in.) Height: 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm) Purchase in honor of Anne L. Poulet, 2011 Accession number: 2011.9.01

Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Gilded by: Jean-Armand Fallot active between: 1764 – 1790
Vase Japon, 1774
Hard paste porcelain with overglaze and gilt painted decoration, and gilt silver hardware
20.3 cm (8 in.) Height: 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm)
Purchase in honor of Anne L. Poulet, 2011
Accession number: 2011.9.01

To me this is a show which underlines the beauty and enduring appeal of Sèvres Porcelain to successive generations of collectors and admirers.

Martin Carlin (attributed to) (c. 1730 - 1785) Painted by: Edmé-François Bouillat (active 1785-1793) Gilded by: Michel-Barnabé Chauvaux l'aîné (1752 - 1788) Directed Production: Dominique Daguerre Gilt-Bronze Tripod Table with Sèvres Porcelain Plaques, c.1783 gilt-bronze, oak, and Sèvres soft-paste porcelain 29 1/2 x 14 5/8 in. (74.9 x 37.1 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest Accession number: 1918.5.61

Martin Carlin (attributed to) (c. 1730 – 1785)
Painted by: Edmé-François Bouillat (active 1785-1793)
Gilded by: Michel-Barnabé Chauvaux l’aîné (1752 – 1788)
Directed Production: Dominique Daguerre
Gilt-Bronze Tripod Table with Sèvres Porcelain Plaques, c.1783
gilt-bronze, oak, and Sèvres soft-paste porcelain
29 1/2 x 14 5/8 in. (74.9 x 37.1 cm)
Henry Clay Frick Bequest
Accession number: 1918.5.61

 

 

Footnote:

Frick Collection Dec ArtsThis image of the cover of The Frick Collection Decorative Arts Handbook, which was published last year, depicts the Potpourri Vase “à Vaisseau” mentioned above.  I gather that they are selling out quite quickly so do get in touch with the Museum should you require one.

 

http://www.frick.org