Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

L'Oiseau dans la Lumière (Bird in Light)

Michel Dubost (French, 1879–1952)
Soieries F. Ducharne
ca. 1925
Metallic thread, silk
66 3/4 x 49 1/8 in. (169.5 x 124.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Monsieur and Madame Jean Ducharne, 2004
Accession Number:
Not on view
This textile represents a collaborative effort between designer and manufacturer. An important weaver in Lyon, Ducharne supplied high-quality silks for the haute-couture and luxury markets in Europe and America; Dubost was the firm’s principal designer. Ducharne specialized in fabrics that were technically complicated, aesthetically innovative, and expensive. Metallic threads are woven through the panel’s sheer background with varying degrees of opacity according to the composition. The bird-and-flower motif—a conventional and oft-recurring one in the history of textiles—is here treated in an avant-garde manner: a superimposed pattern of intersecting arcs and parabolas suggests not only the rapid movement of the bird’s feathered wings but also a play of light and shadow. The shimmering gold threads, offset by the black background, enhance the dazzling and luminous effect. Probably intended as a decorative panel for an evening cloak or gown, this panel was featured in Ducharne’s pavilion at the Paris fair, which encouraged the alliance of art and industry.
François Ducharne, Lyons (1925–d. 1975); his son and daughter-in-law, Jean and Marguerite Ducharne, Lyons (1975–his d.); Marguerite Ducharne, Lyons (until 2004; her gift to MMA)

Paris. Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes. April–October 1925.

Musée Historique des Tissus, Lyon. "Les Folles années de la soie," June 11–September 30, 1975, no. 30 (lent by M. Jean Ducharne, Lyon).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Deco Paris," June 8, 2004–February 6, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of French Art Deco," August 4, 2009–January 23, 2011, no catalogue.

Kansas City, Mo. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. "Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851–1939," April 14–August 19, 2012, no. 162.

Pittsburgh. Carnegie Museum of Art. "Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851–1939," October 13, 2012–February 24, 2013, no. 162.

"Winter Fabrics, Collection Ducharne." Vogue 66, no. 5 (September 1,1925), p. 34.

Catalogue générale officiel. Exh. cat., Paris, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes 1925. Paris, 1925, pp. 174–76.

Encyclopédie des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes au XXème siècle. (reprint ed., New York, 1977). Paris, [1927], vol. 6, pl. XLI.

Les Folles Années de la soie. Exh. cat., Musée Historique des Tissus. Lyons, 1975, suppl. pp. 70, 79.

Catherine L. Futter in Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851–1939. Exh. cat., Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. Pittsburgh, 2012, pp. 132, 134, 269, no. 162, fig. 41 (color).

Jared Goss. French Art Deco. New York, 2014, pp. 63–64, 159, 254, no. 14, ill. (color).

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