ARTHUR & GRENARD (worked c.1770-c.1785)
Country of Origin
Wood-block printed on paper
(762.00 cm wide 320.04 cm high)
Panels were cleaned and relined on japan paper. Condition is good and stable, ready to be remounted on wall.
This ensemble, conceived as a complete décor, was made for the Grand Salon of an hotel particulier in Southern France. The décor was removed from its original site in 1926 and has since remained intact and complete.
- "1783-1933 : 150e anniversaire de la conquête de l’air, Exposition historique de l’Aérostation, Rétrospective du Papier Peint", Musée Galliera, Paris. November 1933–January 1934.
Description / Expertise
- "Troisième exposition rétrospective de panoramas en papier peint ancien", Carlhian, Paris. May-July 1946.
Certain panels from the Metamorphoses d’Ovide are in the following collections :
- "La Bise-Noire" La Cibourg, close to Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
- "Eurydice piquée par le serpent", "Pygmalion et Galathée" + lunettes "Printemps" and "Automne", Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
- "Offrande à pan", "Pygmalion et Galathée", "Pyrame et Thisbé" and "Eurydice effrayée par le serpent" + lunettes : "Printemps", "Eté" and "Hiver" + "L’Air", Musée du Papier Peint, Rixheim, France (former Follot collection).
- Museum of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA (former Huart collection).
Exceptional and very rare wallpaper decor, wood-block printed in grey/sepia tones and in color : Les Metamorphoses d’Ovide created by the Parisian manufacture Arthur & Grenard (future Arthur & Robert), Louis XVI period, circa 1785.
Les Metamorphoses d’Ovide is a superb example of the high quality design and engraving of wallpapers produced by this firm, one of the finest of the period, renowned for its antique subjects.
Arthur & Grenard’s Metamorphoses is considered to be a precursor of the scenic panoramiques.
The mythological scenes were taken from the 1767-71 Latin and French translation of Banier’s Métamorphoses d’Ovide, the drawings were inspired by several contemporary artists of the time such as Van Loo, Charles Monnet, Delafosse, Moreau le Jeune, Launay.
The décor is composed around 4 tableaux/panels :
- The Offering to Pan, inspired by the Legend of King Midas
- Pyramus and Thisbe
- Daphne pursued by Apollo and being transformed into a laurel-tree
- Calliope, Muse of Poetry, and her son Orpheus charming the wild animals near the Underworld
The composition and rhythm of each tableau is structured by an upper frieze with neo-classical motifs, ionic pilasters and rich red draperies imitating silk.
Within the panels, each Metamorphosis scene is framed by upper and lower cartouches with a lyre motif and surmounted by a semi-circular lunette of the Four Seasons, inspired by François Boucher. A rich colored garland of flowers runs around all these components.
This ensemble is the only one known today to be as complete with its frieze, pilasters and drapery (other panels of the Metamorphoses scenes alone are in a few other public collections as listed below).
This décor was also commissioned to incorporate 5 over-door panels of landscapes done after Joseph Vernet.
Panels can be sold separately. Price upon request.