Decorative Painting

French Painter French

Not on view

This painting by an unknown artist exemplifies the fashion for Chinoiserie, the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs in Western art in eighteenth century France. With its pagoda-like structures, boat, and the scholar’s rock, the composition may have been inspired by illustrations from travel books or manuals such as William Chambers’ influential Designs of Chinese Buildings, Furniture, Dresses, Machines, and Utensils, Engraved by the Best Hands, from the Originals drawn in China of 1757. The wispy flowers, vegetation and fruits, out of scale with their surroundings, give the painting a whimsical quality.

This painting was part of the model collection of woodwork, paneling and seat furniture of Maison Leys, a successful decorating business, located at the Place de la Madeleine in Paris. Since 1885 the business was directed by Georges Hoentschel who installed the collection in 1903 in a museum-like display at Boulevard Flandrin, Paris. Three years later, Hoentschel sold the collection to J. Pierpont Morgan who gave the painting with the rest of the decorator’s seventeenth and eighteenth century objects to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1907.

Decorative Painting, French Painter  , late 18th century, Oil on canvas, French

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