New Eighteenth-Century Decorative Arts Galleries
Collections without equal in the world and an “epoch of perfection” in French art.
On the first floor of the north wing and in a portion of the west wing of the Cour Carrée, an exceptional renovation project is entering its final phase: the complete redesign and reinstallation of the galleries dedicated to decorative art objects from the reign of Louis XIV and the eighteenth century. This project is the last part of the Department of Decorative Arts’ renovation work under the Grand Louvre plan.The Louvre’s extraordinarily large and comprehensive collection of eighteenth-century decorative arts is without equal in any other museum, illustrating the exceptional talents of France’s eighteenth- century artisans and artists in this field, whose work is admired around the world. In order to give this outstanding collection a presentation better allowing the public to appreciate its treasures, the galleries are undergoing a spectacular transformation. The new exhibition spaces are due to open to the public on June 6, 2014.
A unique collection
The eighteenth-century collections of the Department of Decorative Arts offer a broad perspective on interior decoration, featuring works, mainly of French origin, produced by leading manufactures or independent artisans along with others handled by fine art merchants, spanning the period from the reign of Louis XIV until the French Revolution. They include wooden paneling and painted wall decorations, tapestries and rugs, joinery and cabinetry, gilt-bronze mounts and objects, marble and hardstone sculptures and carvings, silver and gold pieces, jewelry, scientific instruments, European ceramics, and imported objects in lacquer and porcelain. The fact that the large majority of these pieces were originally commissioned for royal or princely residences makes them particularly remarkable, in comparison with those on view in other museums dedicated to decorative arts, in Europe and the United States.
It was only a good number of years after the Louvre’s founding that luxury arts and crafts under the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI became a focus of its collections, through two key events. The first of these was in 1870, when historic furnishings and objects were rescued in the nick of time from the Tuileries Palace and the Château de Saint- Cloud, saving them from being engulfed by flames. The second occurred in 1901, when the Mobilier National, the French government agency whose duties include the conservation of heritage furnishings, made a permanent loan to the museum of a large number of masterpieces made by Parisian cabinet-makers and tapestry workshops that had originally graced the rooms of royal and imperial residences.
In the twentieth century, numerous riches were added to the collection through the generosity of leading connoisseurs and collectors, such as Isaac de Camondo and Basile de Schlichting, both of whom made major bequests to the museum, received in 1911 and 1914, respectively. During this same period, the museum also acquired a number of remarkable pieces from stately homes either torn down or altered in the nineteenth century.
A new exhibition design
The galleries on the first floor of the Cour Carrée’s north wing, whose existing installation had dated for the most part from the early 1960s, were closed in 2005 in order to be brought in compliance with current fire and safety regulations. Among other works, this involved the creation of staircases on either side of the Pavillon Marengo. In addition, the exhibition design in place until 2004 was still, save for a few more recent alterations, the one created by Pierre Verlet between 1962 and 1966.
Renovation work begin in the fall of 2011, after preliminary studies conducted by Daniel Alcouffe, the head of the department at the time. The architectural concept for the new galleries is the work of Michel Goutal, following an exhibition design by Jacques Garcia, in collaboration with curators in the Department of Decorative Arts under the direction of Marc Bascou, and with technical assistance provided by the Louvre’s Department of Project Planning and Management.
Visitors will thus discover a new 2,183 sq.m exhibition space, consisting of 35 galleries, with more than 2,000 pieces on display. The galleries are grouped into three main chronological and stylistic sequences:
- 1660–1725: personal reign of Louis XIV and the Regency
- 1725–1755: height of the Rococo style
- 1755–1790: return to classicism and the reign of Louis XVI
Exemplary Grand Siècle pieces will be presented in the historic Council of State chambers, while the north wing of the Cour Carrée will be given over to a suite of period rooms, allowing visitors to view objects in context, paired with galleries featuring themed display cases, presenting the department’s collections of ceramics, jewelry, and works in silver and gold, while also allowing visitors to fully appreciate some of the era’s greatest masterpieces.
The new structure of the galleries, following a chronological organization for the most part, aims to underscore both the history of techniques and the history of styles. The presentation also highlights the period’s most celebrated palatial residences as well as the leading figures of the time, including artisans, artists and their patrons. Through royal or princely abodes either not having survived or now serving different purposes (Saint-Cloud, Bellevue, Tuileries, Palais-Bourbon, etc.), Parisian “hôtels particuliers” (private mansions built by the aristocracy, such as Le Bas de Montargis, Dangé and de Chevreuse), not to mention the elite’s country homes (Voré, d’Abondant), visitors are invited to explore a wide panoply of places and atmospheres that contributed to the blossoming of French decorative arts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, thus creating a fitting historical backdrop for the presentation.
Visitors will thus encounter members of the royal family (Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, the prince de Condé, the comte d’Artois, Mesdames de France (the king’s daughters), Marie-Antoinette), but also the king’s mistresses (Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry), nobles of the royal court such as the duc de Chevreuse and the marquis de Sourches, and wealthy financiers such as Claude Le Bas de Montargis, the keeper of the royal treasure, and the tax collector François-Balthazar Dangé.
The collection naturally includes pieces by the period’s greatest creative geniuses in the decorative arts, some of whom enjoyed prestige across Europe during their lifetime to an extent difficult to appreciate today: the cabinet- makers André-Charles Boulle, Charles Cressent, Bernard II van Risemburgh, Jean-François Oeben, Martin Carlin and Jean-Henri Riesener; the silver- and goldsmiths Thomas and François-Thomas Germain, Jacques Roëttiers and others of his family, and Robert-Joseph Auguste; and the painters and decorators Charles Lebrun, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Charles-Antoine Coypel. The most celebrated of these were granted the royal privilege of free lodgings in the Galerie du Louvre alongside their workshops and became the first in a long line of renowned masters in the decorative arts, such as André-Charles Boulle or Tomas Germain. Truly laboratories of invention, their workshops served not only French kings and courtiers, but also their counterparts outside France, thus contributing to the dissemination of French culture and setting fashions for the other courts of Europe.
The visitor experience is also enriched through multi media equipment and information panels contextualizing the pieces on display, with historical and sociological references elucidating aspects such as the development of taste and the world of production, the universe of intermediaries and merchants, as well as the changing shape of commissions and uses.
Period rooms: Exploration of a French art of living
Within each sequence of galleries, particular attention is paid to the design of period rooms, making every effort to reinstall the decoration and furnishings in their original configuration. Other rooms bring together “recollections of interiors,” stylistically coherent groupings of furniture and objects within a recreated decorative setting.
This museological concept of period rooms, adopted from the nineteenth century by certain historical or decorative arts museums, meets the expectations of a broad audience, making this luxurious art of living immediately perceptible and easier to apprehend, in all its unequaled elegance and refinement, and restores the most magnificent inventions of decorators and master artisans to their natural environment.
The period rooms thus created provide the opportunity to reconstruct documented decorative groupings, accompanied by period furniture, such as the drawing rooms and library of the Hôtel de Villemaré, the Grand Salon of the Château d’Abondant and the ceremonial bedchamber at the Hôtel de Chevreuse.
In collaboration with other departments at the museum, the galleries will also feature ancient or modern paintings and sculptures, pastels and engravings, either on a permanent basis or in the form of a rotating presentation. For instance, the famed portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud will be displayed in one of the Council of State chambers, where one of the world’s most beautiful groupings of Boulle furniture pieces will also be on view.
In addition, the new exhibition design allows for the installation of major painted decorations, such as the panels by d’Oudry from the Château de Voré or the ceiling frescos from the Palazzo Pisani in Venice, attributed to Giovanni Scajario (1726–179 ). The Pavillon Marengo will house an extraordinary cupola painted by Antoine-François Callet (1 741–1823) for the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé.
A project funded entirely through the museum’s own resources
This renovation project, with a budget of €26 million, is entirely funded through the museum’s own resources as part of the Louvre Atlanta project and is made possible by the generous support of its main sponsors: Montres Breguet; the members of the Cercle Cressent chaired by Mrs. François Pinault; the American Friends of the Louvre and their Cressent Circle; the Société des Amis du Louvre; MGM China, Pansy Ho, Yan Pei-Ming and a number of Hong Kong patrons; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and their major patrons Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn; and with additional support provided by Kinoshita Group.
Jacques Garcia has graciously shared his skills and expertise by contributing the exhibition design for the new galleries.
Located in the Judean Valley, Beit Guvrin-Maresha features a system of more than 500 caves located across a three-square-mile area outside of Jerusalem. UNESCO describes the site as “a microcosm of the Land of Caves,” and as a “city under a city,” characterized by a selection of manmade caves excavated from a thick layer of soft chalk.
Artifacts excavated at Beit Guvrin-Maresha date back to the Iron Age until the Crusader period, and include oil presses, stables, underground cisterns and channels, baths, tomb complexes and places of worship. Visitors to the site can tour its columbarium caves, 30 interconnected underground caves, huge cisterns from the Hellenistic period, Sidonian burial caves featuring reconstructed wall paintings and a Roman amphitheater.
“We are thrilled about the naming of one of the world’s most important excavation sites to Israel’s already amazing concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner of Tourism, “We hope this prestigious recognition will inspire a new wave of archeology-focused travelers to visit in Israel this year.”
Additional UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel include: the “White City” of Tel Aviv, featuring more than 4,000 Bauhaus and International architecture-style buildings; the mountaintop fortress of Masada; the Biblical Tels of Megiddo, Beersheba and Hazor; the Incense Route; the Baha’i Holy Shrines in Haifa; the Old City of Acre; and the Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve.
For more information about travel to Israel, visit www.goisrael.com
The National Trust for Scotland is throwing open the doors of its most exclusive heritage venues to meetings and events buyers, with the launch of its Unique Venues for Corporate Entertaining collection.
In total 19 historic castles and stately homes, which for centuries have been the preserve of kings and queens, are now primed to host corporate dinners and incentives, team building events and boardroom away days.
From imposing venues such as Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast, to the Trust’s collection of stately homes and castles in Fife and Aberdeenshire, and right up to a modern multi-media experience at The Battle of Bannockburn centre, there is a heritage getaway in every corner of Scotland.
As well as entering into a strategic partnership with corporate teambuilding specialists, Team Challenge, the Trust can also offer bespoke packages, such as Bushcraft at Crathes Castle, roaring 1920′s style fun at Hill of Tarvit near St Andrews, and murder mystery dinners at Pollok House in Glasgow.
Rebecca Sloan, National Hospitality Manager, at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “Increasingly we are experiencing growing demand, not just for traditional meetings and dinners, but also for unique, five star experiences.
“These historic properties are not just well suited for entertaining, they were designed for it and that is what sets them apart. Guests will step behind the rope barriers and take a virtual step back in time to see firsthand national treasures, learn the fascinating stories of those who have lived in the buildings and how they came to own the amazing collections displayed within them, and talk to dedicated curators and conservators, giving a truly authentic experience.
“Our properties are so much more than museums and visitor centres, they are evolving, dynamic and valuable assets. In choosing a National Trust for Scotland venue, businesses will be playing a crucial part in supporting a leading conservation charity and helping to preserve our heritage for generations to come.”
For a complete list of the National Trust for Scotland’s Unique Venues for Corporate Entertaining collection, go to www.nts.org.uk/corporatevenues
Tickets have gone on sale for the much anticipated King Richard lll Visitor Centre: Dynasty, Death and Discovery in Leicester which will open its doors to the public on 26th July.
Britain’s newest visitor attraction is expected to draw people from across the world. It will use powerful storytelling, beautiful design and 21st century technology to recount the details of the life and death of the much debated king, including the events that led to his hasty burial and eventual re-discovery in a Leicester car park in August 2012.
This unique story will be told in three parts; Dynasty – the story of the king’s life and times in medieval England and his rise to power, Death – the key players in the Battle of Bosworth and how betrayal led to the king being cut down while defending his crown and Discovery – perhaps the greatest archaeological detective story ever told including the cutting edge science and analysis used in the rediscovery and identification of Richard III.
Amongst the exhibits will be a remarkably detailed facial reconstruction of the king as well as a replica of his skeleton that clearly shows his battle injuries, including that fatal blow.
Completing the experience will be the poignant spot where Richard III’s remains were finally discovered more than half a millennium after they were buried. This roughly dug pit is now at the centre of a glass-floored contemplative space for visitors.
The announcement of the opening date of the visitor centre follows the recent ruling that King Richard III will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral, which is located just 100 steps away from the centre. The reinterment will take place in spring 2015.
Iain Gordon, Director of the King Richard III Visitor Centre commented; “Since the historic discovery of King Richard III’s body in 2012, we have seen unprecedented interest in the story and in the history of Leicester. We are very fortunate to have one of the most significant and intriguing historic sites in England located here and we are looking forward to welcoming people from all over the world to learn more about this dramatic story.”
The visitor centre anticipates huge demand for tickets, with over 100,000 people expected through the doors in its first year of operation.
Timed tickets are available now from www.kingrichardiiivisitorcentre.com. Prices will start at £4.75 for a child’s ticket (three to 15 years), £7.95 for adults and £21.50 for a family (two adults and two children). A special rate of £7.00 per person will be available to groups of 15 or more. A concessionary rate of £7.00 will also be available.
Keep in touch with the latest news and developments on the centre on twitter @KRIIICentre and facebook at https://facebook.com/KRiiiCentre.
About King Richard III Visitor Centre
King Richard III: Dynasty, Death and Discovery will use displays, interactive audio-visual elements and exhibits to tell the story of King Richard in life and death. The centre is located in the former Alderman Newton’s School at the heart of the city’s Cathedral Quarter, Leicester. It was commissioned by Leicester City Council, and is run by an independent trust made up of experts in business, finance, and heritage and visitor attractions. www.kingrichardiiivisitorcentre.com
As patriotic Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence this weekend, the original template that formed a basis of the Constitution of the United States has gone on show in Boston.
‘Magna Carta: Cornerstone of Liberty’ has opened at the city’s Museum of Fine Arts and will be displayed until September 1, before being exhibited at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and the Law Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
The medieval English manuscript celebrates its 800-year anniversary next year.
Written in 1215, the Magna Carta was the first document to detail constitutional law to protect the rights of English citizens and can be seen as “the DNA of the American legal system” according to State Rep. Cory Atkins, chairwoman of the tourism committee, who helped bring it to Boston.
“The language is included in both the charter for the colony of Massachusetts, the Mayflower compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Massachusetts constitution and the Constitution of the United States,” said Atkins.
It is being displayed alongside a draft of the Massachusetts constitution and exhibits from the Massachusetts Historical Society to highlight the connection.
“The argument we are making by surrounding a document from 1215 with these documents from 1775, is that the Declaration of Independence and the Massachusetts constitution play the same role for us as the Magna Carta does in England,” said Peter Drummey, librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Next year, as the Magna Carta celebrates 800 years, the US Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence will be flown over to the UK to feature in a similar dual exhibition at the British Library from March to September.
Opening July 1 – September 1, 2014
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor
On July 1, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will unveil the comprehensive plan that
Frank Gehry has created for the renovation and expansion of its home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The exhibition “Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art” will offer an exclusive first look at a design that renews one of Philadelphia’s greatest landmarks.
Gehry is best known for the expressive sculptural forms used in buildings such as the Bilbao, Spain’s Guggenheim Museum and the new Louis Vuitton Art Museum (scheduled to open this October in Paris). But, his approach to this project is dramatically different and virtually unique, even when compared to his own work. Gehry’s addition to the Philadelphia Museum of Art focuses on the transformation of the interior of the main building through the renovation of beloved spaces like the Great Stair Hall: dramatic improvements to how visitors will enter and move through the museum. In addition, the plans also call for a new Education Center and the creation of a substantial amount of new space dedicated to the display of new works of art.
Beginning July 1, get a sneak preview of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s major renewal and expansion by internationally celebrated architect Frank Gehry. The exhibition will showcase Gehry’s vision for transforming the interior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Discover how Gehry plans to embrace the existing space while enhancing how visitors will move through the Museum with large-scale models, architectural drawings, photos and more on display during the special exhibition.
For hours and admission information, visit the museum website.
In a hotly contested bidding race between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago to become the home of the George Lucas museum, the Windy City is the winner in a surprising decision by the movie mogul.
Lucas has strong ties in California having worked mostly in the Bay Area and went to college near LA, but Lucas’ wife Mellody Hobson is a Chicago native.
It is also a coup for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel who has been very vocal in his support for the museum project.
Emanuel called it a “milestone for the city that will bring hundreds of jobs and economic opportunity.”
Slated to open in 2018, the museum will be called ‘The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art’ and will be sited on land between Soldier Field and McCormick Place.
Lucas had originally wanted to build the museum on the San Francisco waterfront but planning was denied by city officials.
“Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in the Bay Area,” Lucas said in a statement.
While the attraction for many will be the artifacts and memorabilia from the Star Wars movie franchise and his other Hollywood projects, and will include a scale model of the Millennium Falcon, Lucas has also amassed a large private art collection.
He has reputedly one of the world’s largest collections of movie posters.
Lucas has personally pledged at least $700 million toward the estimated $1 billion cost of the project.
The Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta has once again opened its doors after a major refurbishment.
A $10 million upgrade to facilities is complete and will now be open to the public six days a week with adult admission costing $12.
Previously admission was by prior reservations only.
The reopening ceremony took place Tuesday attended by Delta CEO Richard Anderson, Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Mayor Reed said the city of Atlanta will promote the museum as a major attraction on a par with the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola.
He also said the museum will form a marketing partnership with the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Majority of the renovation costs came from a $8.4 million grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation.
The 68,000 square-foot museum is located close to Delta’s headquarters near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and housed in 1940′s maintenance hangars, which are listed as a Historic Aerospace Site.
It features a wide array of aviation memorabilia, historic planes, a full-motion flight simulator, a theater, a conference room and gift shop.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights will be officially unveiled to the public during its grand opening later this month.
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the much anticipated opening takes place on June 23 and online ticketing will be available on the center’s website from tomorrow.
Yearly memberships are available for purchase now, starting at $50, offering unlimited admission for 12 months.
Spread over 42,000 square feet, the center houses four primary exhibitions, each focusing on personal stories and combines both the civil rights movement and the global human rights struggle.
Highlights include the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection and the interactive ‘Spark of Conviction’ – showcasing personal stories of the human rights movement.
Exhibits touch on a range of issues including immigration, religious freedoms, ethnicity and social justice.
“The Center uniquely and boldly connects historic freedom movements and iconic individuals, as well as everyday people, with the human rights issues of the present,” said Doug Shipman, CEO of The Center.
Programs are being designed for school field trips and educational groups and the center has a dedicated meetings and corporate events facility.
Last month the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis reopened again following a comprehensive $27.5 million renovation project.
Unearthing part of Egypt’s history and offering an insight in to one of the most fascinating rituals known, the British Museum is opening a ground-breaking interactive exhibition, ‘Ancient Lives, New Discoveries’. Running from 22 May to 30 November, 2014, the exhibition showcases recent research on one of the most-popular areas of the museum’s collection – ancient Egyptian and Sudanese ‘mummies’.
Using state-of-the-art Samsung technology, and sponsored by Swiss private banking group Julius Baer, the exhibition focuses on eight mummies who lived in the Nile Valley thousands of years ago, and which have been the centre of recent scientific investigation. Visitors to Room 5 of the museum will come face-to-face with the inner-workings of each mummy via large-screen visuals, journeying through the body revealing the mummification process. Newly-discovered aspects of the process will be revealed to the on-looker by means of the digital displays, some of which are interactive.
Although the first mummy was received by the museum in 1756, for 200 years none of the mummy collection had been unwrapped. Thanks to the advancement of technology the museum has since been able to integrate this technology to understand ancient cultures. The result has seen the transformation of data into 3D visualisations which will allow visitors to interact with the data to discover details of the mummies lives – covering a time-span of over 4,000 years from the Predynastic period to the Christian era in Egypt and the Sudan.
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said: “This new technology is truly ground-breaking, allowing us to reconstruct and understand the lives of these eight, very different, individuals. This is a project which has only been made possible through recent technological advances and I am delighted that the Museum is at the forefront of this kind of research and presentation. I am hugely grateful to both Julius Baer and to Samsung for enabling us to mount such an ambitious and important exhibition”.
The emphasis of the exhibition will be on revealing different aspects of living and dying in the ancient Nile Valley through the eight individuals and through contextual objects from the collection such as amulets, canopic jars, musical instruments and items of food. Mummification was used by people at different levels of society and was not just to preserve pharaohs.
The eight individuals who will feature include:
An adult male villager from Gebelein who has been naturally preserved by the hot arid sand in the Predynastic period (c4400-3100 BC), before the time of the pharaohs.
An adult male from Thebes mummified c600BC.
A female adult temple singer from Thebes, mummified c900BC, whose body reflects the highest level of mummification available at its period.
A temple doorkeeper from Thebes, adult male, c700BC.
A child temple singer embalmed at 7 or 8 years of age, c800BC.
An unknown man of high status, c1st-3rd centuries AD, mummified in distinctive manner, with arms, legs, fingers and toes separately wrapped, facial features painted on the wrappings, natural hair left uncovered, small fragments of gold leaf still preserved on the external surface, and decorative trappings added externally.
A 2 to 3 year old male child from the Roman era, c1st Century AD, positioned with his head tilted forward, characteristic of the Roman period. Objects relating to childhood, such as a toy horse, are also displayed.
A Sudanese female villager from a medieval Christian community, c700AD, whose body was naturally mummified in the unique environmental conditions in the Nile valley.
For more information about the exhibition and to book tickets, please visit http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/ancient_lives.aspx
Next Page »