Enfilade

Exhibition | Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 2, 2015

Press release (30 April 2015) from The Getty:

Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 15 December 2015 — 1 May 2016

Curated by Charissa Bremer-David

Autumn, after 1664, tapestry, wool, silk and gilt-metal wrapped thread, Gobelins Manufactory, cartoon attributed to Beaudrin Yvart (French, 1611–1690), after Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–1690), The Mobilier National, France. Photo by Lawrence Perquis.

Autumn, after 1664, tapestry, wool, silk and gilt-metal wrapped thread, Gobelins Manufactory, cartoon attributed to Beaudrin Yvart (French, 1611–1690), after Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–1690), The Mobilier National, France. Photo by Lawrence Perquis.

It was during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV (r. 1643– 1715), that the art of tapestry weaving in France blossomed. Three hundred years after his death, the Getty Museum will showcase 15 monumental tapestries—from the French royal collection during the reign of Louis XIV. Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV will be the first major museum exhibition of tapestries in the Western United States in four decades.

During Louis XIV’s time, colorful and glittering tapestries, handwoven after designs by the most renowned artists, were the ultimate expression of status, power, taste, and wealth. The exhibition will feature 15 larger-than-life tapestries ranging in date from about 1540 to 1715 and created in weaving workshops across northern Europe. In an exclusive loan from the French nation, most of the tapestries are from the collection of the Mobilier National, which preserves the former royal collection. Eleven have never before been exhibited in the Unites States. The Getty Museum is supporting the conservation of two of the tapestries.

At the Getty, preparatory drawings, related prints and a life-sized cartoon (oil) will accompany the immense hangings. The tapestries in the exhibition are after works of art by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio, Italian, 1483–1520), Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640), Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–1690), and others. They come from the most notable workshops in Europe, including the Gobelins, which rose to preeminence under Louis XIV’s patronage. Several of the best-preserved and most famous examples of Gobelins weaving will be on view in the exhibition.

Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV is curated by Charissa Bremer-David, curator of sculpture and decorative arts at the Getty, and was organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the Mobilier National et les Manufactures Nationales des Gobelins, de Beauvais et de la Savonnerie.

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Charissa Bremer-David, with essays by Pascal-François Bertrand, Arnauld Brejon de Lavergnée, and Jean Vittet, Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2015), 168 pages, 
ISBN: 978-1606064610, $50.

9781606064610_grandeMeticulously woven by hand with wool, silk, and gilt-metal thread, the tapestry collection of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, represents the highest achievements of the art form. Intended to enhance the king’s reputation by visualizing his manifest glory and to promote the kingdom’s nascent mercantile economy, the royal collection of tapestries included antique and contemporary sets that followed the designs of the greatest artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including Raphael, Giulio Romano, Rubens, Vouet, and Le Brun. Ranging in date from about 1540 to 1715 and coming from weaving workshops across northern Europe, these remarkable works portray scenes from the bible, history, and mythology. As treasured textiles, the works were traditionally displayed in the royal palaces when the court was in residence and in public on special occasions and feast days. They are still little known, even in France, as they are mostly reserved for the decoration of elite state residences and ministerial offices. This catalogue accompanies an exhibition of fourteen marvelous examples of the former royal collection that will be displayed exclusively at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from December 15, 2015, to May 1, 2016. Lavishly illustrated, the volume presents for the first time in English the latest scholarship of the foremost authorities working in the field.

Charissa Bremer-David is curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is author of French Tapestries and Textiles in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 1997) and has published extensively on French tapestries.

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Also on view at the Getty
As 2015 is the tercentenary of the death of Louis XIV, several exhibitions at the Getty Center will explore the Sun King’s tremendous influence on Western Art and his distinctive role as collector, heir, and patron of the art of tapestry and other arts.
A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715
16 June to 6 September 2015
Louis XIV at the Getty
9 June 2015 to 31 July 2016
Louis Style: French Frames, 1610–1792
15 September 2015 – 3 January 2016

New Book | Conundrum: Puzzles in the Grotesques Tapestry Series

Posted in books by Editor on October 2, 2015

Forthcoming from The Getty:

Charissa Bremer-David, Conundrum: Puzzles in the Grotesques Tapestry Series (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2015), 76 pages, ISBN: 978-1606064535, $20.

9781606064535_grandeThe whimsical imagery of four tapestries in the permanent collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum and currently on display at the Getty Center is perplexing. Created in France at the Beauvais manufactory between 1690 and 1730, these charming hangings, unlike most French tapestries of the period, appear to be purely decorative, with no narrative thread, no theological moral, and no allegorical symbolism. They belong to a series called the Grotesques, inspired by ancient frescos discovered during the excavation of the Roman emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea, or Golden House, but the origins of their mysterious subject matter have long eluded art historians. Based on seven years of research, Conundrum: Puzzles in the Grotesques Tapestry Series reveals for the first time that the artist responsible for these designs, Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636– 1699), actually incorporated dozens of motifs and vignettes from a surprising range of sources: antique statuary, Renaissance prints, Mannerist tapestry, and Baroque art, as well as contemporary seventeenth-century urban festivals, court spectacle, and theater.

Conundrum illustrates the most interesting of these sources alongside full-color details and overall views of the four tapestries. The book’s informative and engaging essay identifies and decodes the tapestries’ intriguing visual puzzles, enlightening our understanding and appreciation of the series’ unexpectedly rich intellectual underpinnings.

Charissa Bremer-David is curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is author of French Tapestries and Textiles in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 1997) and has published extensively on French tapestries.