CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The role of sculpture in the design, production collecting and display of Parisian decorative arts in Europe (1715-1815)

Research Conference: 28 August - 1 September 2015

Information from the organizers, 14 July 2015

International Conference and Study Tour on the occasion of Mons European Capital of Culture 2015. Organized by The Low Countries Sculpture Society.

Conference Theme
Between 1715 and 1830 Paris gradually became the capital of Europe, “a city of power and pleasure, a magnet for people of all nationalities that exerted an influence far beyond the reaches of France”, as Philip Mansel wrote, or as Prince Metternich phrased it, “When Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold”. Within this historical framework and in a time of profound societal change, the consumption and appreciation of luxury goods reached a peak in Paris.

The focus of this one-day international conference will be to investigate the role of the sculptor in the design and production processes of Parisian decorative arts, from large-scale furniture and interior decoration projects to porcelain, silver, gilt bronzes and clocks.

In the last few years a number of studies were carried out under the auspices of decorative arts museums and societies such as the Furniture History Society and the French Porcelain Society. It now seems appropriate to bring some of these together to encourage cross-disciplinary approaches on a European level and discussion between all those interested in the materiality and the three-dimensionality of their objects of study.

The relationships between, on the one hand, architects, ornemanistes and other designers, and on the other sculptors, menuisiers, ébénistes, goldsmiths, porcelain manufacturers, bronze casters and other producers, as well as the marchands merciers, will be at the heart of the studies about the design processes.

A second layer of understanding of the importance of sculpture in the decorative arts will be shown in the collecting and display in European capitals in subsequent generations, particularly those immediately after the French Revolution, as epitomised by King George IV.

Overall, the intention of this conference is to attempt to shed light on the sculptural aspect of decorative arts produced in Paris in the long 18th century and collected and displayed in the capitals of Europe. Without pretending to be exhaustive, this study day – and its publication – hopes to bring together discussions about the histories and methodologies that could lead to furthering the study of hitherto all too often neglected aspects of the decorative arts.

Free for members of the Low Countries Sculpture Society and of the Maison de la Mémoire of Mons, but registration compulsory: Seating limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Non-members €25 per person.

Please find the full program and more information in PDF.

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