25 February 2013

Studio Visit: Atelier Peinture sur Bois, Paris

Work in progress at the studio of Jean-Pierre Besenval
Entrance to the Atelier

One rainy day in Paris, after a fabulous day exploring the Musée Carnavalet, my friend Ziska and I set off through the Marais thinking about a good place for dinner, when we were distracted by the sight of a doorway and signs for the Atelier Peinture Sur Bois, the studio of Jean-Pierre Besenval.
I'm a long-time fan of M. Besenval's painted furniture and have two excellent books on his work.
So of course we ventured inside the courtyard to the shop,  where we were warmly greeted by artist Luigi Madéo, Besenval's longtime collaborator and co-author.
The shop contains a gallery filled with beautifully painted furniture pieces and art panels, all done with traditional media and techniques, and inspired by Italian Renaissance ornament, as well as 15th century Flemish painting and other historic European decorative art.
Luigi Madéo in the atelier
We got to talk about  traditional painting methods and the hopeful revival of these techniques and materials, like gesso, caseins, egg tempera, decorative gilding.
Painted furniture and art panels in the studio/gallery of Jean-Pierre Besenval
work in progress in the studio
The studio itself is a showpiece, with all of its beams and posts painted with colorful traditional designs.

This is I think a great way to raise the height of the ceiling and create a simple architectural opportunity for some splendid ornament.
Borders are repeated in different colors and with added elements, and while each beam is unique, the color palette and structure of the ornament is consistent and overall look is cohesive and utterly charming!

The huge support posts in the center of the shop are also decorated, and the designs are painted plumb, even when the  posts themselves are not.
I love this armoire door inset which is spectacularly painted, and seems to pay homage to Renaissance botanical artist  Jacques Le Moyne De Morgues.

If you are in Paris, be sure to visit the Atelier Peinture sur Bois at 32 rue de Sévigné in the Marais; or visit the website at www.meublespeints.com 

All photos in the post by Lynne Rutter, October 2011
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11 February 2013

Inspiration from the Tribal & Textile Arts Show

detail of a 19th century Suzani piece
This weekend I attended the San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show. And what a fabulous show it was, bursting with inspiring patterns, colors, textures.
a large 19th century Suzani tapestry - all hand-embroidered
Dealers from around the world come to this show, offering museum-quality antique tribal art, jewelry, and textiles. 
Detail of an intense purple antique batik sarong. Note the tiny white dots that follow the form of each petal.
My friend Daniel Gundlach from The Language of Cloth was there, along with noted batik expert Rudolf Smend from Cologne, Germany. 
Nearby, a collection of Ottoman textiles caught my eye:
Ipek Ottoman wedding robe with bullion thread
detail of Ottoman wedding robe- intense ruby silk and silver bullion
What is this intense ruby color? What pigment or dye makes this color?  I have to find out.
large antique Suzani in fuchsia pink. Fabulous.
detail of a splendid pink and black Suzani
The color palettes in some of these fabrics are loaded with surprising combinations, and I found many of them remarkably modern looking.

antique Japanese lined printed in an interconnected geometric pattern

An antique printed and dyed pattern on gossamer light linen from Africa

Marvelous patterns and colors can also be found in tiles, baskets, carpets... 
antique Iznik tile 
flat woven wool carpet (kilim)
lush Moroccan berber carpets in black and white and rich colored  patterns from Gebhart Blazek, Austria
a collection of antique African baskets from a Belgian dealer
A colorful and abstract Saami quilt
I was particularly intrigued by a display of vintage Saami ralli quilts -  made from discarded fabrics, pulled apart and recycled by the nomadic Saami people around Sindh, Pakistan, hand-dyed scraps are beautifully and simply assembled and embroidered.  This work is fast becoming a lost art.
Saami ralli quilt
detail of Saami ralli quilt
On the opposite side of the spectrum, an example of superb formal  embroidery  from China:
Antique Chinese embroidery
detail of silk embroidered peony
Ikat when done well is truly mesmerizing. Ikat is a near universal weaving style common to many cultures from Argentina to Java, from Uzbekistan to Japan.  It is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration.
A rich woven silk Ikat fabric (Turkish) from the 19th century
I found a length of antique printed fabric with a lovely patina, the kind of thing that influenced the work of Fortuny. I found it rather inspiring as well.
antique printed fabric from Persia (?)
Persian printed fabric, detail

All photos in this post by Lynne Rutter,  February, 2013
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