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Louis XV's Tapestry

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Louis XV's Tapestry

- Item No.

The Eastern-inspired theme reflects the strong interest in Asian culture in Europe in the 18th cent.

Key Features

  • This highly important tapestry was created for King Louis XV of France by Beauvais Manufactory
  • Made of the finest wool & silk, this piece is part 1 of 3 royal orders commissioned by the King
  • Entitled "Le Repas" (The Meal), this tapestry depicts the Emperor of China enjoying his meal
  • This stunning work was inspired by the painting by the master François Boucher
  • Circa 1758
  • 158" wide x 106 1/2" high

Item Details

  • Width:
    158 Inches
  • Height:
    106 1/2 Inches
  • Period:
    18th Century
  • Origin:
    France
Provenance:One of three royal orders by King Louis XV This highly important tapestry was created in 1758 for King Louis XV of France by the famed Beauvais Manufactory, considered the greatest weavers of the period. This exceptional work of art was the first of a group of six, known as Le Tenture Chinois, or The Chinese Wall Hanging, made for Louis XV and crafted of the finest wool and silk. Entitled Le Repas (The Meal), this impressive tapestry depicts the Emperor of China enjoying his meal. Weavers at the Beauvais Manufactory began working on the first versions of the series as early as 1743. The series of which the Le Repas forms a part is referred to as the second tenture chinoise by Beauvais (a tenture being a wall hanging). This stunning work was inspired by the painting by the master François Boucher, which now hangs in the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archeologie, Besançon, France. Circa 1758 As part of a constant effort to promote French industry, Louis XIV's finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert founded the Beauvais tapestry manufactory in 1664. Beauvais made tapestries for the wealthy bourgeoisie and nobility of France, as well as for export. François Boucher was chosen to replace Jean-Baptiste Oudry as Director of the royal workshops in the mid-1730s. Boucher's fertile imagination and unified aesthetic were well suited to the medium. In 1755, he was appointed head of the royal tapestry manufactory at Gobelins, where he continued to collaborate on the design of successful series of tapestries. Today, only a few tapestries from the Beauvais manufactory are known to exist in private collections. The name François Boucher, more than any other, is synonymous with the rise of the mature Rococo style and its popularity throughout Europe. Among the most prolific of his generation, he worked in virtually every medium and every genre, creating a personal idiom that found wide reproduction in print form. He provided designs for all manner of decorative arts, from textiles and marquetry to porcelain. Boucher first won fame with his sensuous and light-hearted mythological paintings and pastoral landscapes. He executed important decorative commissions for the queen at Versailles and other royal palaces, and for his friend and patron, Mme de Pompadour, at Versailles, Marly, and Bellevue. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1734 and then became the principal producer of designs for the royal porcelain factories. During the 1740s and '50s Boucher's elegant and refined but playful style became the hallmark of the court of Louis XV. In 1765, he became director of the Royal Academy and held the title of First Painter to the King. His work was characterized by the use of delicate colors, gently modeled forms, facile technique, and light-hearted subject matter. Boucher is generally acclaimed as one of the great draftsmen of the 18th century, particularly in his handling of the female nude. In fact, Boucher painted the infamous and provocative portrait of Marie-Louise O'Murphy, teenage mistress of Louis XV, reclining nude upon a settee. Jean Joseph Dumons first worked for the Aubusson manufactory from 1731 until 1755. A painter by trade, Dumons was responsible for the cartoons, or life size models from which tapestries are woven. Weavers worked with the cartoon under the warp threads of the loom, and at a rate of approximately two square meters per month, per worker, the final tapestry slowly appeared. The quality of the finished tapestry was largely dependent on the artistry of the cartoon painter combined with the skill of the weaver.

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