L'Oiseau dans la Lumière (Bird in Light), ca. 1925
Michel Dubost (French, 1879–1952); manufacturer: Soieries F. Ducharne (Société Anonyme)
Silk and metallic thread brocade; 66 3/4 x 49 1/8 in. (169.5 x 124.8 cm)
Gift of Monsieur et Madame Jean Ducharne, 2004 (2004.84)
This textile represents a collaborative effort between its designer, Michel Dubost, and its manufacturer, François Ducharne. An important silk 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 at once 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 changing 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 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the important Paris fair that encouraged the alliance of art and industry exemplified by this textile.