The Musée des Arts Décoratifs celebrates the richness of its Cabinet of Drawings with an exceptional exhibition showcasing masterpieces from its current collection. With more than 200,000 works ranging from the 16th century to present day, and from Europe and all the way to Japan, the museum’s collection is one of the largest in the world. Drawings by Masters such as Le Brun, Watteau, Fragonard, Degas and Rodin are displayed alongside the work of ornamentalists and decorators like Chareau and Royère, in addition to jewelry and haute couture designs.
500 works of art have been selected to showcase the collection’s diversity. The exhibition is presented in the form of a symbolic alphabet representative of the major themes of the art of drawing for example, “A” for Architecture; “D” for Decor; “S” for Seduction, and so forth).
The display begins with the letter “A” that stands for Architecture and if the latter leads the way, then its corollary, letter “D” for Decor, is just as richly represented with studies for ceilings by Charles Le Brun and Charles de La Fosse, recently attributed and therefore shown for the first time to the public as well as works by Claude III Audran.
“E” for Ensemblist follows with Percier and Fontaine’s Recueil des decorations intérieures and projects conceived by major interior designers such as Francis Jourdan, Robert Mallet-Stevens and Pierre Chareau, whose study-library of the French Embassy Pavilion for the exhibition of 1925 is displayed in the museum.
Artists and their descendants also contributed to the Cabinet with major donations. Auguste Rodin gave eight of his drawings in 1908. Jean Dubuffet, Jean Royère and Emilio Terry offered the Museum complete ensembles drawn from their studios, shedding light on their creative process and revealing the more intimate side of their work.
“G” stands for Goût Goncourt, “M” stands for Mobilier and “S” stands for Seduction section, with precious jewelry ensembles by René Lalique and Alphons Mucha, and recently identified sketches of dresses by Victor Lhuer for Paul Poiret, shown alongside the couturier’s Mosaïque dress (c.1910).
A collection of drawings by Marguerite Porracchia, who illustrated Jeanne Lanvin’s designs, is shown to the public for the first time.
Drawings Without Reserves is an invitation to discover the incredible diversity of a unique, ever-growing collection. It aims to shed light on its history and contours, but also to envision the future of a collection initially created to supply models for artists, which has come to illustrate the full scope of creation of the past six centuries.
Drawings Without Reserves is on view from the 23rd of June 2020 until the 31st of January 2021.