«by Cindy Kang A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Institute of Fine Arts New ...»
Tapestry, Painting, and the Nabis in Fin-de-siècle France
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Institute of Fine Arts
New York University
© Cindy Kang
All Rights Reserved, 2014
This dissertation would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and institutions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Wellesley College funded a wonderfully prolific year of research and travel in Europe, during which I was based in Paris. The bulk of my archival work, as well as study of objects in museum galleries and store rooms, was conducted during this seminal year. The Getty Research Institute hosted me for another crucial year in which I wrote the majority of this dissertation. I am indebted to the GRI for providing me with the invaluable “room of one’s own” to gather my thoughts and write in such a tranquil setting. I am even more grateful, however, for its generous support and accommodation of a new working mother; their efforts count as nothing short of heroic in this country.
The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU also supported this project in its beginning stages and I would especially like to thank my committee for their unflagging encouragement and confidence in me: my advisor, Linda Nochlin, remained an enthusiastic reader and advocate of this project from its conception to its completion; Robert Lubar was an equally supportive mentor and intellectual guide; and Thomas Crow, who reminded me to maintain balance in my life amidst the rigor of working on a dissertation.
The staff at all the institutions I visited to conduct research deserve many thanks for giving me access to the works of art and primary sources that form the foundation of this dissertation: Isabelle Collet, chief curator, and the staff at the Documentation Center, Musée du Petit Palais; Jean Vittet and Liliane Lerable, archivists, Mobilier national, as well as Barbara Caen for inviting me to join her viewing appointments at the MN; Philippe Thiébaut, curator, iii and the staff of the Documentation Center, Musée d’Orsay; Nathalie Houzé, archivist, and Bertrand Lorquin, director, Musée Maillol; the staff of the Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France;
Anne Robbins, assistant curator, National Gallery, London; Kirsten Toftegaard, curator, Designmuseum, Copenhagen; Line Clausen Pedersen, curator, and Flemming Friborg, director, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek; Gloria Groom, curator, Art Institute of Chicago; Emese Pásztor, curator, the conservators in the Textile and Costume Department, and Dóra Reichart, archivist, Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest; Eszter Földi, curator, Hungarian National Gallery; Mónika Lackner and Hajnalka Fülöp, curators, Museum of Ethnography, Budapest; Judit Geskó, chief curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest; Kimberly Jones, associate curator, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Marie El-Caidi, Documentation Center, Musée Maurice Denis; Tom Norris, curatorial associate, Norton-Simon Museum.
I have benefitted from discussions with numerous scholars, many of whom were mentioned above, and to this list I would like to add Laura Morowitz, Charissa Bremer-David, Elizabeth Cleland, and Rossella Froissart. I would also like to extend deepest thanks to the friends/emerging scholars who tirelessly read and commented on my chapters: Brendan Sullivan, Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch, and Katharine L. H. Wells. Their intellectual and moral support carried me through this long and arduous process.
My final and most heartfelt debt of gratitude goes to my family: my parents, who unquestioningly supported my foolhardy desire to pursue a Ph.D. in art history; my husband, Jeremy, who gamely and devotedly came with me wherever my research took us, and made this journey a joint adventure; and our son, Jay Xinlong, whose wondrous appearance in our lives put this project into perspective.
This dissertation examines the dialogue between painting and tapestry that developed in late nineteenth-century France, specifically at the Manufacture nationale des Gobelins, and in the work of the avant-garde artists known as the Nabis. Nineteenth-century tapestry remains an obscure subject in scholarship and its influence on painting is thus not well-known or understood. This study aims to recover the symbiotic relationship that existed between tapestry and painting, and demonstrate the importance of studying the fine and decorative arts in tandem.
It furthermore presents an evaluation of tapestry’s place in the history of modern art, as well as a study of the socio-cultural anxieties that accompanied rapid industrialization and technological progress in the late nineteenth century, examined through the luxury craft of tapestry.
Part I outlines a history of the Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins, the state tapestry manufactory, from the birth of the Third Republic in 1871, to the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris. It is divided into three chapters following the tenure of three directors: Alfred Darcel, Édouard Gerspach, and Jules Guiffrey. Part II examines the needlepoint hangings of the Nabi circle in the 1890s. With a chapter each on Aristide Maillol, Paul Ranson, and József RipplRónai, this section compares and contrasts the approaches of these three artists to needlepoint “tapestry,” in order to elucidate the issues of art’s relationship to industry, nationalism, ideals of patronage, and gendered labor. With regard to the last issue, it was the artists’ wives/ companions—Clotilde Narcisse, France Ranson, and Lazarine Boudrion— who executed the majority of their designs. Part III analyzes how Édouard Vuillard drew from tapestry to reconceptualize modern painting through two monumental decorative commissions: The Album (1895), and the Vaquez panels (1896). These are exemplary of his so-called “tapestry aesthetic.”
tapestry provided him a haptic model for painting, and explore how his painting engaged with tapestry in the wider circulation of material culture of the fin-de-siècle. An epilogue follows Vuillard’s tapestry aesthetic into the twentieth century and examines how it was buried and replaced by Henri Matisse’s re-definition of the decorative in modernist painting.
PART I. Looming Change: The Gobelins at the End of the Nineteenth Century 14 Chapter 1. Alfred Darcel: Reconstruction and Experimentation 16
Plates 1a-d: Alexis-Joseph Mazerolle, cartoons for Wine, Fruits, Tea, and Coffee, oil on canvas, 1872-73, Mobilier national, Paris Plates 2a-b: Mazerolle’s Hunting and Fishing installed in the Rotonde du Glacier, Palais Garnier, Paris. Author’s photographs.
Plate 3: Gobelins Manufactory, Penelope at Her Loom, designed by Diogène Ulysse Maillart, woven 1873-75, wool and silk, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 4: Detail of Penelope at Her Loom Plate 5: Gobelins Manufactory, Saint Agnes, designed by Louis-Auguste-Charles Steinheil, woven by Emile Maloisel 1875-76, wool, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 6: Detail of Saint Agnes Plate 7: Gobelins Manufactory, The Heron, designed by Jean-Joseph Bellel, woven 1879-84, Luxembourg Palace Plate 8: Gobelins Manufactory, The Roe Deer, designed by Alexandre Rapin, woven 1888-89, Luxembourg Palace Plate 9: Gobelins Manufactory, The Siren and the Poet, designed by Gustave Moreau, woven 1896-99, wool and silk, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 10: Gobelins Manufactory, A Tournament Scene from the End of the Fourteenth Century, designed by Jean-Paul Laurens, woven 1895-99, wool and silk, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 11: Gobelins Manufactory, The Conquest of Africa, designed by Georges Rochegrosse, woven 1896-99, wool and silk, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 12: Detail of The Siren and the Poet Plate 13: Magnification of The Siren and the Poet showing the crapaud technique Plates 14a-b: Maison Leclercq, The Festival of Spring, designed by Eugène Grasset, 1900, Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy Plate 15: Gobelins Manufactory, trial study for A Tournament Scene, designed by Laurens, woven 1893, present location unknown, reproduced in Art et Décoration, vol. 2, no. 8 (August 1897): opp. p. 42
Plate 17: French, Armorial of the Golden Fleece, ca. 1430-61, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, ms.
4790, fol. 71 Plate 18: French, Armorial of the Golden Fleece, ca. 1430-61, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, ms.
4790, fol. 154v Plate 19: Jean-Paul Laurens, model for A Tournament Scene, 1894, watercolor, gouache, pencil, pen and brown ink on paper, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 20: Detail of A Tournament Scene (author’s photograph taken at an oblique angle) Plate 21: Attributed to Barthélemy d’Eyck, The Tournament Book, ca. 1462-65, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ms. Fr. 2695, fols. 54v-55 Plate 22: Attributed to Barthélemy d’Eyck, The Tournament Book, ca. 1462-65, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ms. Fr. 2695, fols. 100v-101 Plate 23: Detail of costumes depicted in A Tournament Scene (author’s photograph taken at an oblique angle) Plate 24: Detail of costumes depicted in A Tournament Scene (author’s photograph taken at an oblique angle) Plate 25: Grantil workshop, The Poppy, wallpaper décor, 1899-1900, Musée des art décoratifs, Paris Plate 26: Detail of The Conquest of Africa Plate 27: Detail of The Conquest of Africa Plate 28: Emile Lévy, detail of poster for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Industriels, 1890, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris Plate 29 : Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, Liberté eclairant le Monde, Le Journal Illustré, October 10, 1875 Plate 30: Detail of Georges Rochegrosse, model for The Conquest of Africa, oil on canvas, 1896, Mobilier national, Paris Plate 31: Detail of The Conquest of Africa (author’s photograph taken at an oblique angle) Plate 32: Emile Lévy, poster for Le Progrès national, 1885, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
Plate 34 : Detail of top right corner, The Conquest of Africa Plate 35: Detail of bottom left corner, The Conquest of Africa Plates 36a-b: Details of bottom border, The Conquest of Africa Plates 37a-b: Details from The Conquest of Africa Plate 38: Gobelins Manufactory, The Striped Horse, from The Old Indies series, designed by Albert Eckhout and Frans Post, woven 1692-1730, wool and silk, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles Plate 39: Louis-Gustave Binger, Du Niger au Golfe de Guinée par le pays de Kong et le Mossi, vol. 1, p. 185 Plate 40: Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, “Voyages dans l’Oeust africain,” Le Tour du Monde, vol.
54 (1887), p. 317 Plate 41: Maillol, Self-portrait, ca. 1896, ink on paper, Musée Maillol, Paris Plate 42: Maillol, Girls in a Park, 1894, wool on canvas, Fondation Dina Vierny Plate 43: Southern Netherlands, Seignorial Life: The Promenade, first quarter 16th century, wool and silk, Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris Plate 44: Girls in a Park as it looks today. Photograph from Musée Maillol Archives, Paris Plate 45: Maillol, Enchanted Garden, ca. 1895, wool and gold thread, Musée Maillol, Paris Plate 46: Maillol, preparatory sketch for Enchanted Garden, ca. 1894, oil on canvas, Musée Maillol, Paris Plate 47: Maillol, Concert of Women, ca. 1895, wool, silk, linen, silver thread on linen, Designmuseum, Copenhagen Plate 48: Maillol, The Book, ca. 1896, wool and metallic thread, present location unknown Plate 49: Maillol, Music for a Bored Princess, ca. 1896-98, wool, silk, linen, silver thread on linen, Designmuseum, Copenhagen Plate 50: Southern Netherlands, Seignorial Life: The Bath, first quarter 16th century, wool and silk, Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris
Plates 52a-b: Magnification of Concert of women showing the chiné technique Plate 53: “Maillol at his tapestries.” Photograph published in L’Art décoratif, February 1911 (Supplement), p. 18, but probably taken ca. 1902 Plate 54: Ranson, Spring, 1895, wool on canvas, Musée d’Orsay Plate 55: Ranson, Alpha and Omega, ca. 1893, cotton and silk, private collection Plate 56: Ranson, Four Figures Reading a Scroll, 1894, wool on canvas, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt Plate 57: Ranson, Woman in a Cape, 1895, wool on canvas, private collection Plate 58: Ranson, Women in White, 1894, wool on canvas, Musée d’Orsay Plate 59: Ranson, Letter I from Chapter XXXIV, The Book of the Virgin, 1895, Musée Lorrain, Nancy Plate 60: Ranson, Seven Woman Harvesting, 1895, distemper on canvas, Prefectural Museum of Art, Nigata, Japan Plate 61: Ranson, preparatory sketch for Spring, watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper, 1895, private collection Plate 62: Detail of Spring showing zigzagging straight stitches Plate 63: Ranson, Snack in the Dunes, 1897, wool on canvas, present location unknown Plates 64a-b: Photographs of France Ranson and the children of Dr. R., ca. 1897, private collection Plate 65: Ranson, Last Flowers, 1898, wool on canvas, present location unknown Plate 66: Rippl-Rónai, preparatory sketch for Idealism and Realism, 1894-95, watercolor on lined paper Plate 67: Rippl-Rónai, Idealism and Realism, 1895, wool, destroyed in 1906 Plate 68: Detail of Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, designed by Ödön Lechner, 1896 Plate 69: Detail of Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, designed by Ödön Lechner, 1896
Plate 71: Rippl-Rónai, Azstrik transmitting the crown, reproduced in Magyar Iparmővészet, vol, 15, no. 3 (1912), p. 96.