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

Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court

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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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The Giacometti of Hubert de Givenchy

The Giacometti of Hubert de Givenchy, Christie’s Paris, 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, 6th March 2017

 Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

There are twenty-one pieces in this sale and they will be displayed in the week-long viewing prior to the sale in a manner that recalls the 1986 Diego Giacometti exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. A couple of the pieces are decorated with deer symbols which reflect that Hubert de Givenchy was named after the Patron Saint of hunters Saint-Hubert.

Diego Giacometti 1902-1985 Grande table console aux cerfs Bronze à patine vert antique et chêne cérusé / patinated bronze and cerused oak H 85 x L 230 x P 70 cm / 33½ x 90½ x 27½ in Estimation : €400.000-600.000

Diego Giacometti 1902-1985
Grande table console aux cerfs
Bronze à patine vert antique et chêne cérusé /
patinated bronze and cerused oak
H 85 x L 230 x P 70 cm / 33½ x 90½ x 27½ in
Estimation : €400.000-600.000

I think it is only right to let the iconic designer sum this important sale up: “It is thanks to Gustav Zumsteg, an important fabric creator in Zurich, whose company was called Abraham, that I met Diego Giacometti. During one of my visits to Zurich, he offered me a gueridon made by Diego for the Kronenhalle, the famous restaurant owned by his family. Fascinated by its pure aesthetic, I asked him if it was possible to meet the artist and he introduced him to me shortly afterwards. The relationship I had with Diego for nearly 20 years turned quickly into friendship. He was a very kind man, simple, welcoming, discreet, and a talented craftsman. He started to create some pieces for my first house at Jouy at the end of 1960, and then for the manor of Le Jonchet at the beginning of the 1970’s. With this sale, I want to pay a further tribute to him, an additional recognition which he does not need, but which shows how important he was to me.”

 Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

 Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

 Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

Hubert de Givenchy’s Manor at Le Jonchet
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

 

 

 

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