Film | La Mort de Louis XIV

Posted in films by Editor on June 22, 2016

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La Mort de Louis XIV, directed by Albert Serra with Jean-Pierre Leaud, Patrick D’Assumcao, Marc Susini, Irene Silvagni, Bernard Belin, and Jacques Henric. Capricci Production, 112 minutes.

August 1715. After going for a walk, Louis XIV feels a pain in his leg. The next days, the King keeps fulfilling his duties and obligations, but his sleep is troubled and he has a serious fever. He barely eats and weakens increasingly. This is the start of the slow agony of the greatest King of France, surrounded by his relatives and doctors.

The agony of Louis XIV starts on August 9th 1715, and lasts until September 1st. It marks the end of a personal reign that lasted 72 years—the longest in French history. The of official diary of the Health of the King, which was held by its successive doctors, reveal that Louis XIV had a fragile health and almost died on numerous occasions: from syphilis at the age of  five, from a maligned fever at thirty-five, from a fistula at forty-five, and from diabetes with gangrene complications at seventy. This time, at the start of August 1715, Louis XIV suffers from an embolism in his leg due to cardiac arrhythmia, which will start the gangrene.

The press kit is available as a PDF file here»

From Boyd van Hoeij’s review (19 May 2016) for The Hollywood Reporter:

tumblr_o6yhhsmVyr1rw4bsao1_1280The good news is that The Death of Louis XIV (La Mort de Louis XIV) isn’t only the ultra-arthouse director’s first feature in which he works with professional actors instead of amateurs, but it’s also by far Serra’s most accessible work to date. Buyers and programmers familiar with the auteur will of course understand this hardly puts the film, essentially a death-chamber piece, in Avengers territory, though commercial prospects are certainly better than usual.

The film’s only exterior sequence comes at the very start, as the 76-year-old Louis XIV (French New Wave legend Jean-Pierre Leaud) surveys his famous gardens at Versailles, which were partially constructed during his 72-year reign. He’s in a proto-wheelchair because his leg already hurts and it certainly can’t be a coincidence that the monarch’s overlooking his estate in the twilight hours before retiring to the palace, a place he’ll only leave again a fortnight later, a dead man.

For almost the entire film that follows, Serra keeps the viewers inside the king’s bedroom, with practically no expeditions to even the adjacent room and corridors. The claustrophobic setting within what viewers presumably know is a vast expanse of real estate (which in turn was a tiny fleck of property within the Kingdom of France), is clearly meant to humanize the man who believed he ruled France by divine right but who, in his waning days and hours, looked just like millions of others on their deathbed.  .  .

The full review is available here»





Fake Furniture at Versailles?

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 22, 2016

When I first started thinking about what a reformatted newsletter for the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art & Architecture might include, I began asking other HECAA members. An esteemed colleague answered immediately, “More gossip!”As much as I liked the response, I’m afraid there’s been very little gossip published here at Enfilade over the past seven years. Yet nothing seems to drive whisperings in the art world like a forgery scandal; and Paris is in the midst of one, with allegations that fake eighteenth-century furniture was sold to Versailles. That the story is receiving widespread coverage in the press and has become a proper legal matter, complete with press releases, probably suggests it’s moved on from the mere gossip stage. Sarah Cascone reported on the story for ArtNet News (10 June 2016), and here’s weekend coverage by Georgina Adam for the Financial Times (19 June 2016) . . . . CH

Chair made by Louis Delanois for Louis XV's mistress Madame du Barry (Versailles)

Louis Delanois, Chair made for Madame du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV, ca. 1769 (Versailles)

A scandal over faked 18th-century French furniture has erupted in Paris, with a couple of eminent specialists under investigation for the alleged making and sale of counterfeit chairs, some of which were bought by Versailles.

One of those under investigation is Bill Pallot, who works for the venerable antique dealer Didier Aaron, which has spaces in Paris, London and New York. Pallot is an art historian, collector, lecturer at the Sorbonne and the author of numerous books on antique furniture, including the reference volume on 18th-century chairs. He is a sworn expert for law courts and a member of both the French antique dealers’ association the Syndicat National des Antiquaires and the Syndicat Français des Experts Professionnels. Both professional bodies have vowed to “take the necessary measures” if the accusations are proved.

The other suspect is Laurent Kraemer, co-director of Kraemer Gallery, a prominent 141-year-old family firm of antique dealers. A master craftsman in the Faubourg St Antoine, a district famed for making furniture of all sorts, supposedly produced the pieces in question.

At issue are six pieces now in Versailles, along with two others that were sold by Kraemer. These two chairs were apparently copied from genuine ones already in Versailles; in 2013 they were listed as national treasures by the authorities and export barred, but were ultimately not bought by the palace because of their hefty price: €1m each.

In a laconic press release, the French Ministry of Culture admitted that Versailles had spent €2.7m, between 2008 and 2012, on furniture that is “implicated” in an investigation by the French cultural police unit (OCBC). . .

The full article from the Financial Times is available here»

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