Exhibition | Coaches from Versailles on View at Arras

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 9, 2012

From the exhibition website:

Roulez Carrosses! Le Château de Versailles à Arras
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Arras, 17 March 2012 — 10 November 2013

Curated by Béatrix Saule, Jean-Louis Libourel, and Hélène Delalex

Roulez Carrosses!, the inaugural exhibition of the partnership signed in 2011 between the Château de Versailles, the City of Arras and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region, is a landmark event. It is the first French exhibition to be devoted to horse-drawn vehicles. Berlin coaches, royal and imperial carriages from the Versailles collection have all taken the road for Arras, to be admired here until November 2013. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is thus hosting paintings, sculptures, sledges, sedan chairs, horse harnesses and several outstanding carriages such as the coaches of Napoleon I’s marriage procession, Charles X’s coronation coach or the impressive funeral hearse of Louis XVIII. From Louis XIV to the Third Republic, these little-known vehicles will offer a journey through the History of France. Chronologically displayed over 1,000 m², these works are set against a backdrop of innovative scenography combining reconstructions, activities, immersion and multimedia. The exhibition provides an opportunity to discover Versailles and its collections whilst at the same time highlighting the historical links between Arras and the former residence of kings. It will also provide an insight into the operation
and evolution of horse-drawn vehicles.


Béatrix Saule, Director of the Musée National des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
Jean-Louis Libourel, Honorary Chief Curator of Heritage
Hélène Delalex, Heritage Conservation Manager at the Château de Versailles

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

As Didier Rykner judges in his review for The Art Tribune (24 September 2012) . . .

Sedan Chair for the King’s House Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon Photo : RMNGP/G. Blot

Even if it is much longer than the usual three-month period, this is a true exhibition, not a lineup of works; it is accompanied by a beautiful scholarly catalogue on a subject which is not often studied; it does not replace the display of the permanent collections as the exhibition rooms occupy the space acquired at the Saint-Vast Abbey; it does not deprive visitors going to the lending museum from seeing major works there since the Musée des carrosses (a rather exaggerated term given the usual presentation conditions) is rarely open to the public; and, above all, it will result in enduring benefits for the coach collection as well as for the Musée des Beaux-Arts itself. . . .

The museum staging by Frédéric Beauclair is very well done. Paintings, sculptures and drawings round out the presentation of the carriages illustrating their use, the way they functioned and the context in which they were produced. Visitors will also discover some little-known works. . . .

The full review is available here»

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Eight short videos accompany the exhibition:

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From the Château de Versailles bookshop:

Béatrix Saule, ed., Roulez Carrosses! Le Château de Versailles à Arras (Paris: Skira Flammarion, 2012), 256 pages, ISBN: 9782081278172, 40€.

Roulez carrosses! is the first exhibition in France devoted to horse-drawn coaches and carriages and, in this case, historical examples, all totally luxurious in every detail and all different: carriages for the outings of the children of Louis XVI, a sumptuous berline for the wedding of Napoleon I, the hearse of Louis XVIII, the coronation coach of Charles X, etc. Other outstanding masterpieces from the collections of Versailles accompany them: a series of paintings by Van der Meulen, major royal portraits, or unique vehicles like these fantasy sledges in which Louis XV and then Marie-Antoinette were pulled over the snow-covered walks of the park of Versailles. This book describes episodes from the political history of the palace, dynastic events and customs of the court, narrated and commented on here by eminent historians. Fans of handsome horse-drawn vehicles will discover the grand coaches for ceremonial occasions – from the “modern coach” invented in the reign of Louis XIV to the coaches for state ceremonies of the presidents of the Republic – along with their technical innovations, the refinement of their accessories and the extreme lavishness of their ornamentation, at a time when the art of French coach-building was at its apogee.

Call for Papers | Exotic Goods in France and the U.S., 1700-2000

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 9, 2012

In the spring at NYU’s Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences:

Objects From Abroad: The Life of Exotic Goods in France and the United States
New York University, 25 April 2013

Proposals due by 31 December 2012

The development of material studies and consumption studies, of anthropology of the material world and the material culture of art history shows growing interest for the material dimension of pictures and goods. This perspective calls attention to the physical and social life of things. In this sense, our conference looks to analyse the production of goods and their transformation, in connection with their various uses and contexts. A historiography focusing on the construction of international spaces and exchanges through the movements of things, goods, merchandises and artworks is currently on its way.

This conference would like to concentrate on the goods imported in France and the United States between the 18th and the 20th century, and their existence within their new environment: business or tourist trips, where the exotic objects were collected and gathered in private spaces; scientific expeditions, where “anthropological” artefacts were collected for Western museums. What kind of things and goods were brought back to New York City, Paris, and the other American and French cities – and through cities of many countries – between the 18th and the 20th century? How were they exhibited, put on display, but also converted and updated? We wish to interrogate the life and “career” of goods, their collection and their circulation, as well as the way in which goods acted upon reception societies. What was the impact of these objects on ways to consume, to live, to dress, to create? What about the processes of translation and interpretation that accompanies such uses and appropriation?

Exchanges between Europe and United States were heavy and significant but they are seldom analysed. Therefore they needs to be carefully examined. At the same time, paying attention to these goods is also a way to repopulate these worlds with different actors. Collectors, but also ethnographers, dealers, painters, soldiers: they were all inventing, marketing and consuming these singular things. From this angle, these goods become boundary objects that mobilized and gathered different communities – scientific, commercial, artistic, etc. Around the actors lie various spaces: we would like to observe the large scale movements but also micro-movements and circulations, and also how these goods were set up and displayed in museums as well as in houses. In this sense, this conference tries to link social practices and representations, visual and material cultures, private and public spaces.

Four directions, all connected, could be explored during this conference:

1.    Uses and re-uses
Processes of decontextualisation and recontextualisation (collection, re-use, reparation) will focus our attention. How are the objects sold, exposed, reterritorialized? When bought, how are they used? And, when necessary, how are they repaired or redesigned? Rebuilt and recomposed? Through a series of case studies, it may be useful to follow certain objects from the merchant’s shop to the individual interiors, or from the private space to the museum, looking carefully at the hands and
gestures that welcome and transform the goods.

2.    Witnesses and souvenirs
Some objects, such as travel souvenirs, have a special memorial function. What kind of memory do they keep? What are they witnessing? How do they tell us an emotion, a narrative, a story or a part of history? This reflection can also be extended to the issue of fake and authenticity, or of hyper-reality, by studying life-casts, prints, or, in some cases, photography.

3.    Actors and markets
Objects are taken as part of a chain involving various actors and consumers that need to be identified. Who are the people involved in these exchanges and what are their roles in the invention of these objects? In their updating and marketing? What are the specific issues, circuits and contours of these markets? How do the different actors and consumers use these objects to develop various identities?

4.    Fictions and identities
The fourth axis will focus on fiction, disguise, game, and more generally on fictional use. Joanna Sofaer has already shown how the use and representation of some exotic accessories build identities. How do dresses, dishes or accessories related to tobacco, for instance, work on the identity of their owner? How are these objects mobilized and used in the artworld, in private or public spaces, theater plays or paintings?

Paper abstracts (maximum 300 words) and a short bio (maximum 100 words) should be submitted to Noemie Etienne (noemie.etienne@unige.ch) and Manuel Charpy (manuel.charpy@wanadoo.fr) by December 31, 2012.

%d bloggers like this: