Sunday, May 8, 2011

Around Town - 18th Century Paris at the Getty Center

Yesterday was another gorgeous day at the Getty Center
where everywhere you looked you saw a magnificent view
But I wasn't there to appreciate the architecture
I was there with some friends to see current exhibit Paris Life and Luxury
a showcase of French fabulousness from the Dix-Huitième Siècle
pre-revolution of course
The exhibit, sponsored by Breuget, featured paintings, sculpture, books, scientific and musical instruments, and decorative arts.
Paris was a center of great cultural achievement and artistic creativity during the reign of Louis XV, from 1723–1774, yet the virtuoso inventiveness and superlative craftsmanship of the period remain largely unfamiliar and under appreciated today, overshadowed as they are by the tumultuous social and political events of the French Revolution of 1789.
Following the traditional visual allegory of the "Four Times of Day," objects in this exhibition are grouped and arranged according to their associations with common activities as pursued indoors during the course of a single day, from morning to night. By this select juxtaposition, the respective relationships, functions, and appearances of these works of art suggest the complex and nuanced behavior, practices, and aesthetics of Parisian polite society in the domestic interior.

Here are some of the highlights
Portrait of Madame Marsollier and her Daughter 1749 Jean-Marc Nattier
Portrait of Joseph Bonnier de Mosson 1745 Jean-Marc Nattier
Lit à la Duchesse Circa 1700
Robe à la Francaise Circa 1750

Carré de Toilette Circa 1700

In spite of the Bouchers and the Chardins
the Sevre, St Cloud and the Boulles
for me this was the pièce de résistance
a magnificent suite of foil backed quartz and sapphire jewelry
What you learn from viewing an exhibit like this is two important things.
First, the French applied their artistic skills to embellish not just their fine art, frocks and furniture
but to even the most everyday functional objects from an ink pot to a skein to a salt cellar
and ormulu was everywhere. 
Second, with such an emphasis on luxuriousness and on the flaunting of wealth by the royal family and the aristocracy, you can understand why there was a revolution.

Still, I can't help but  be amazed at how many exquisite objet's d'art survived the revolution.


After we finished viewing the exhibit, we stopped for lunch at the Getty restaurant which has a beautiful view.  The food and service was excellent and I recommend it highly.
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7 comments:

Tabitha said...

I love the Getty, you are so lucky to live where you do.
I have to travel all the time to escape this ghetto!

Belle de Ville said...

Tabitha, while I miss having the history, the architecture and the beautiful green countryside that you have where you live, I do agree that I am lucky to live in Los Angeles.
The Getty is amazing, as are the rest of our local museums.

Come visit this summer.

Deja Pseu said...

Yes, Tabitha, do come visit us!

Belle, I knew I was going to need to schedule some time to see this exhibit, but this seals it. MUST go!!!

Belle de Ville said...

Pseu, you will love it! Be sure to have lunch at the restaurant too. It is fantastic.

teawithonesugarplease said...

Happy Mother's day and what a lovely exhibition, the French really knew how to pile on the bling. PS the reason I had two wedding dresses I couldn't decide what to wear until on the day of the wedding :-)

WendyB said...

Ooh, that's my kind of exhibit.

The Preppy Princess said...

What a remarkable exhibit, I would *love* to see this one. The jewelry you feature is breathtaking, I can't imagine how it looked in person. Your two points are very well made, no wonder there was a revolution.

Thanks for sharing it with us. :)
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