L'Oiseau dans la Lumière (Bird in Light)

Designer: Michel Dubost (French, 1879–1952)

Manufacturer: Soieries F. Ducharne

Date: ca. 1925

Medium: Metallic thread, silk

Dimensions: 66 3/4 x 49 1/8 in. (169.5 x 124.8 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Woven

Credit Line: Gift of Monsieur and Madame Jean Ducharne, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.84


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.