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A Very Functional Form
This verriere defines the classification of objects we call decorative arts: something that is both beautiful and functional. The function of the verriere is to cool wine glasses by inverting them and resting the feet and stems on the curved rim of the vessel, with the bowls immersed in cold water or ice. This type...
An 18th-Century Look-A-Like
Câche-pot literally means “hide the pot” as in a fancy word for a flower pot, something that containes the less decorative pots from the garden. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine dirt going into these early-eighteenth-century ceramic vessels.  When these objects were made, Europe was in the midst of porcelain mania. Europeans in Italy, France, Germany, England and elsewhere were collecting...
Buttons – An Expression of Curiosity
This button, from a set of nine, offers the viewer a chance to peek into the age of Enlightenment, a period of time when the human mind was breaking free from the constraints of the Church and the limitations of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance, primarily spanning the fifteenth through sixteenth centuries, is often thought...
A Cabinet Fit for a King
The theme of this Royal Jewel Cabinet from France, dated 1824-26, is no doubt indulgence in all forms – especially love and extravagance. Its rich iconography displays symbols of love and jewels, where antiquity is mixed with early-nineteenth century depictions of flowers.[1] The cabinet is constructed of porcelain plaques in a gilt-bronze armature. A golden...
When a Tile is Not a Tile
This paper fascinates me, which explains why I acquired it for the museum collection. It is an inexpensive, Depression-era paper, but it packs a lot of punch. The design is reminiscent of ceramic tiles which makes it a less than formal pattern and gives it more of a functional aesthetic. While this certainly could be...
Design by Hand | Lesage’s Hubert Barrère
Lecture by Hubert Barrère, Art Director of Maison Lesage, the venerable French embroidery company. Discussion follows with Matilda McQuaid, Deputy Curatorial Director and Head of Textiles. For nearly a century, Maison Lesage has created extraordinary embroidered designs for Elsa Schiaparelli, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, and many other revered designers. In 2002, Chanel acquired Maison Lesage...
Basket of Blooms
Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (French, 1626-1699 ), a painter, designer and engraver, created many prints like this work, Plate 10 from Set of Flowers in a Basket which is dated to 1680. Early flower prints were primarily used for botanical textbooks, but by the end of the seventeenth century, they were considered a higher artistic medium. Prints like...
Design Talks | Ymer&Malta: The New Savoir-Faire
Ymer&Malta Director Valérie Maltaverne presents on the philosophy and process of her company, and discusses three exceptional works from the studio’s marquetry collection designed by Benjamin Graindorge, Sylvain Rieu-Piquet, and Sebastian Bergne. About Ymer&Malta Revisiting the French traditions of “savoir-faire” marquetry, inlaying, and carving, French design studio Ymer&Malta creates limited edition contemporary furniture and design...
The Charming Bouquinistes of Paris
This lithograph, by artist Paul Jeffay (1898-1957) depicts the Left Bank of Paris, France, on what appears to be the Quai de la Tournelle. The main focus of the piece is on the bouquinistes, green boxes that line the Seine in the center of Paris, out of which booksellers sell used and antiquarian books. In...