A Masterful Balance

This etching, a screen design by great artist François Boucher, is iconic for its inclusion of the French word rocaille. In the eighteenth century, rocaille referred to the irregular rockwork that was used to embellish picturesque grottos and garden fountains but the word has since come to be synonymous with the rococo as a style. The design exemplifies the fanciful profusion of flora and fauna characteristic of the period. Sinuous plant forms asymmetrically frame a fountain encrusted with shells. Below, two monkeys squabble beside a flowing pool of water.
François Boucher, Claude-Augustin Duflos, rocaille, engraving, print, screens, rococo, gardens, fountains, Rococo: The Continuing Curve

A Pastoral Fantasy

 Imagine being able to change the entire look of your favorite dress by simply changing the front panel. If you lived in the eighteenth century, this would be your reality. Stomachers were an important part of a women's dress between the seventeenth and nineteenth century, they were most popular during the Rococo movement in eighteenth-century France. The stomacher is a panel that is attached to the bodice of a dress. It can be removed and changed for different styles or formal occasions.
women’s fashion, rococo, pastoral scenes, Versailles, Madame de Pompadour

One Woman’s Fancy is another’s Necessaire.

This charming little object-an étui or case, is also called a necessaire.
étui, necessaire, scissors, rococo, Diana, accessory, enamel

Flight of Fancy: Luxe Prints & The Textiles They Inspire

This eighteenth-century French embroidered bed hanging has all the sumptuousness and curves one might expect from a Rococo textile. However, the symmetrical, repeating undulation of the branches is punctuated by specificity and variety discovered through close study and interest in the natural world and expressed through the visual language of luxury. Among the golden perches and colorful blossoms sit birds whose intricate plumage is articulated through delicate handwork based on contemporary ornithological prints.
rococo, orinithology, Xaviero Manetti

Like Gloves for the Walls

Embossed and gilt leather hangings were one of the earliest known wallcoverings. Frequently referred to as Spanish leather, these wallcoverings were widely made across Europe. This example dates to the mid-18th century and is designed in the Rococo style as can be seen in the scrolling diaper or trellis framework and the asymmetrical arrangements of the floral bouquets. Always one of the most costly wallcoverings available, gilt leathers have never totally fallen out of fashion and new leather can still be purchased today.
leather, embossing, silver gilt, rococo, floral bouquet

Diplomatic Swans

This charger belonged to the Meissen Swan Service, one of the largest and most magnificent porcelain dinner services ever created. Produced at the Dresden manufactory between the years of 1737 and 1743, the service comprised of over 2,000 unique pieces; its splendor is illustrative of both the artistic genius of the factory’s master modeler, Johann Joachim Kändler, as well as the ambitions of its director, Heinrich Count von Brühl, for whom the service was commissioned.
Swan, Porcelain, Bruhl, Meissen, rococo, diplomacy

Miniature Fantasy

Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1695 –1750) is recognized as a creative genius behind the French Rococo style. He first published his influential Livre d'Ornements (Book of Ornaments) in 1734 and then again in 1748. These small booklets were circulated among countless craftsmen and artisans who applied Meissonier’s designs to decorative artwork such as ceramics, metalwork, marquetry, and textiles. 
Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier, ornament, lighting, engraving, rococo

Ribbons and Bows

Even today, in the twenty-first century, when we think of ribbons and bows we tend to think of girls, not boys.  This design from 1755, has both ribbons and bows, but was designed by an Englishman: Thomas Chippendale.  What is more, it was published in a book meant exclusively for men: The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.  Chippendale’s publication was a pattern book with multiple designs for domestic objects such as chairs, beds, tall clocks, frames, and high boys – all prese
Thomas Chippendale, chairs, furniture, etching, rococo

Something's Fishy about this Tureen

My selected object was part of the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition, Rococo: the Continuing Curve 1730-2008. As a docent at Cooper-Hewitt, I remember joyous laughs of recognition as visitors on my tours spotted the New York artist Cindy Sherman's portrait as Madame de Pompadour replacing flowers in a cartouche surrounded by a warm pink known as Pompadour pink for the patron of the original 18th-century service on which this is based.
Madame de Pompadour, Cindy Sherman, Sèvres, Limoges, Artes Magnes, Porcelain, rococo

Radio City Music Hall: A Celebration of American Modern Design

Donald Deskey, Radio City Music Hall, Industrial Design, Bauhaus, Samuel Rothafel, rococo, carpet design, entertainment, drawing, Great Depression, New York City