Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A "New" Treasury of the Louvre

Chers Amis de L’Ecole du Bon Gout,  Last month when I was in Paris, I had the great treat of visiting (for about 5 hours!) the newly reconfigured 18th c decorative arts galleries of the Musee Louvre. These had been closed and under renovation for almost a decade.
The Musee Louvre was actually begun in 1793 when the vast treasure troves, seized from France’s former ruling class, were then exhibited to the public.  The “cream” of this royal legacy, one of the greatest collections of 18th century bon gout in the world, can now be seen in these 35 sensational “new” rooms.  The collection of the period rooms as well as the objects displayed, begins with the last phases of Louis XIV and continues up till the Revolution. Because of the renowned decorator Jacques Garcia’s consultation, the display of this incomparable treasure is arranged in both 14 period room settings, as well as modern exhibition rooms with smaller objects on display in illuminated cases. Masterpieces include: furniture, clocks, scientific instrumentation, silver tableware, tapestries, porcelain, jewelry, etc.

The exhibit space was installed from scratch in part of what was Louis XIV’s splendid major 17th c addition to the Louvre which forms the “Cour Carree” at its eastern end .What I was taken most with was the extremely high level of quality of design, craftsmanship and condition of all items on view. Almost every top French 18th c furniture maker, metal worker and painter is represented in some of their most sumptuous commissions.

The visitor’s visual access to the objects as displayed is admirable in what had obviously been a challenging and complex “chess match” to compose. To give you a sense of the complexity of the design and construction of this new display, besides taking 9 years to complete, the total cost was 26 million euros ( $34,300,000 ) with $4 million coming from “The American Friends of the Louvre”.  All this, with many of the professionals involved , like M. Garcia, donating their time and talents svp!!

Cordialement, Robert E. Smith

More photos from the newly reopened decorative arts galleries of the Louvre

Visit the Au Vieux Paris Antiques homepage (click here)
Browse a sampling of the merchandise available (click here)

Mes Amities,
Robert E. Smith   (337) 332-2852


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