Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A History of French Styles: Louis XV

Louis XV – 1730 to 1770

French Louis XV style side tables.

Louis XV reigned over the “Golden Age” of French decorative style. His rule was characterized by peace and prosperity during which the “Age of Enlightenment” brought about intellectualism and increasing influence by women of the court. Because of this, Louis XV style furniture (also known as rococo) was exquisite with graceful, feminine lines.

Louis XV style dining chairs

While the Baroque style of Louis XIV was focused on symmetry, rococo favored the asymmetry that came from the Régence era. Fruit woods and rosewood took the place of darker woods. Wood would often be painted or lacquered. Extravagant marquetry and veneers were used as well as ornamental, gilded bronze. Many themes were used in the rococo style and decorative motifs included foliage, flowers, shells, fish, birds, vines, hearts, and ribbons. Parisian homes of this period had large crystal chandeliers and mantels with mirrored painted panels (trumeaux).

Hand-carved Louis XV period buffet.

Louis XV favored furniture suited to conversation. His chair maker (Jean-Baptiste Tilliard) created the bergère, a curved armchair with a low seat and an exposed wooded frame which was highly carved and often gilded. This elaborate decoration showed that the chair was meant to be free standing and movable rather than placed against a wall.

Other new pieces to appear in this period included the secrétaire (fall-front writing desk), table-à-écrire (writing table), and bureau-à-cylindre (roll-top desk).

See examples of Louis XV style furniture in our inventory.

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 02:15:00 AM
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jean-Michel Frank at Hermès

Jean-Michel Frank

Interior by Jean-Michel Frank
Jean-Michel Frank was an influential French interior designer in the 1920s and ’30s. He designed minimalist interiors with plain-lined yet luxurious furniture. His elegant Confortable armchair and sofa were some of the most admired pieces of furniture of the 20th century. His work inspired, and continues to inspire, modern designers around the world.

After launching Hermès Maison in Paris, the new home division of Hermès, and displaying Pavillon Hermès in Milan during the recent Design Week, Hermès is launching its new home division in the US this month. They are reintroducing Jean-Michel Frank’s Confortable armchair and sofa (designed with Hermès in 1924), and several of his other designs.

Confortable club chair in sheepskin by Jean-Michel Frank.

The Confortable line of club chairs, originally skinned in leather, is offered in velvet bull calf, smooth calfskin, and goatskin. They are a prime example of Jean-Michel Frank’s rectilinear designs, as well as his use of unexpected materials. They are, as all of his work, a model of understated luxury.

Jean-Michel Frank style chairs at Jean-Marc Fray Antiques

To see more of our chic, vintage armchairs and club chairs, click here.

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 04:11:00 PM
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Palazzo Farnese

Rome, Italy – Now through April 27, 2011, the Palazzo Farnese will be open to the public for an exceptional exhibit entitled, “Palazzo Farnese – From the Renaissance to the French Embassy.”
Annibale Carracci Gallery
A collection of over 150 pieces (drawings, sculptures, paintings, objets d’art) will bring to life five centuries of Palace history – from the Farnese family fasts in the 16th century, to the last 35 years when the Palace served as the French Embassy in Italy and the École Française de Rome. An incredible selection of works from the Farnese family collection has been reunited and returned to the site for the first time in centuries thanks to the generosity and passion of the Farnese family.
Annibale Carracci Gallery
The brainchild of Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, French Ambassador to Italy, this exhibit was produced in collaboration with the Minister of Italian Culture of Italy, and curated by Francesco Buranelli and Roberto Cecchi.
Interior Court of Palazzo Farnese
During the exhibit, the 16th century Palace will open its doors, by appointment only, and welcome the return of the “Museum Farnesianum” where the exquisite “Emporer” and “Philosopher” rooms have been recreated with much fanfare. In addition, thanks to new technology, the court will be virtually repopulated with imposing silhouettes of the Farnese Atlas, the latin Hercules and the Farnese Bull.
Farnese Bull
Generous loans from the National Archeological Museum in Naples have facilitated the reunion of these works. Among the most important pieces of antique furniture is the Farnese cabinet from the Ecouen Museum, a precious piece designed to display the coin and cameo collections of the Farnese family. Tapestries from Quirinal, on loan from the Italian Presidency as well as the Chambord castle, will retake their places in the salons on the piano nobile, as well as the ceramics of the Renaissance.
Farnese Cabinet
Pope Paul III by Titien
The portrait of Pope Paul III by Titien, the Christ painted by Annibale Carracci for the private chapel of Cardinal Odoardo, works by Sebastiano del Piombo, and Le Greco are all testament to the richness of the painting collection, now displayed in the North-East gallery. The collection of sketches and drawings by Annibale Carracci (mostly on loan from the Louvre) and the frescoes of the Palais Fava de Bologne illustrate the design of the famous Carracci galleries.
Detail of the Carracci Gallery
Relive the intertwined histories of the popes, cardinals, kings, ambassadors, and artists, who, during five centuries lived and worked in the Palazzo Farnese, indirectly making this site exceptional and alive.
French Embassy in Italy
Palais Farnèse
Via Giulia 186
39 06 32 810
Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 02:22:00 PM
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