Friday, March 18, 2011

Animal: Musée des Arts Décoratifs

I awoke this morning to look at some old "furniture friends" at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. After winding through the menagerie of renaissance through art deco masterworks I stumbled upon their latest theme exhibition celebrating how man has utilized the animal in form or as material across a wide range of disciplines. Here are some highlights that made me the best sense of course.

This polo shirt by designed by the Campana brothers for Lacoste in 2009 was quite wild. Not as wild as one of their stuffed animal chairs but playful nonetheless. It is literally alligator logos stitched together which gives the appearance of a rather pop culture play on would have to have it lined for sake of function, lest what is meant to be private becomes public.

Now I know giraffes are sweet and majestic with those long bashful eyelashes... but this giraffe fur coat from the Guy Laroche Fall/Winter 1965-66 is sublime. The graphic pattern of the hide is a happy marriage with the mod fashion period.

This imposing display dedicated to birds is fronted by an amazing peacock gate by wrought iron master Jean Perot.

I was completely unfamiliar with French designer Bernard Rancillac or his "Elephant Chair" of 1967. The wall decals by Studio Job and Adrien Gardere are inspired as is the stretched "Whippet Bench" by Radi Designers of 1998.

Oh La La La Lalanne! I have waxed poetic about the Lalannes in the past and it was great at long last to be confronted by their "Rhinoceros Desk" of 1966. One never gets past the scale of these pieces.

Now if you have been following this blog you know my deep love for the works of Armand Albert Rateau. While cast in bronze the delicate deer give it a lightness and almost surreal quality. One of my absolute faves!

A vignette dedicated to animals as symbols of power. Not sure how I feel about Niki de Saint-Phalle's "Pouf Serpent Noir" in such close proximity to Abbot Suger's famous eagle vase or the gothic revival lectern... oh well.

This display of 17th and 18th century furniture feet juxtaposed with "hoof" inspired modern shoes was beyond clever and made me take pause. Well played.

This 19th century Chinese kingfisher feather work headdress was amazing and vibrant. I have never seen one in such good repair and embellished to this degree. Since they are not entirely blue one wonders how many poor little kingfishers were needed to complete this piece.

Now I have long been aware of the shagreen covered geometric lamps and boxes created by Clement Rousseau but I have never seen a clock. Who knew this form existed but I am so glad it does.

Very skillful use of contrasting shagreen tints to further heighten the faceted surface.

I leave you with this image. Only the Musée des Arts Décoratifs would have an 18th century woven silk coat for a pet monkey. The only thing that I can imagine is that it clearly did not get much use. This is merely a sampling, you must see the show before it closes at the end of November 2011.

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