Design for the "Cahier de Balançoires Chinoises"

Jean Pillement French

Not on view

While he was also active as a prolific landscape painter, the French artist Jean Pillement is perhaps best known today for his playful and imaginative Chinoiseries designs. Principally meant for decorative panel paintings, though generally widely applicable, his designs consisted of vignette-like landscapes that he filled with figures or genre scenes that were meant to evoke a Chinese setting. Many of his designs were translated into print series that were avidly collected and served as inspiration for artists working across a variety of disciplines in the decorative arts. This drawing by Pillement relates to a print in the series "Cahier de Balançoires Chinoises", which was published in 1771 or 1773 and contained etchings by Jean Jacques Avril and Martin Demonchy. The composition consists of an overgrown ladder-like folly with a plateau at top onto which a cart is placed, one figure stands on the cart while holding a sail that is billowing as if catching a big gust of wind. Below, two figures are balancing on a beam that has been placed atop one of the spokes of the ladder and functions as a see-saw. The whole scene is surrounded by fantastical vegetation typical of the work of Pillement.

Design for the "Cahier de Balançoires Chinoises", Jean Pillement (French, Lyons 1728–1808 Lyons), Black chalk, with stumping; framing lines in pen and brown ink

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