Objects and their Doubles

Decorative Arts Drawings in the Musée d'Orsay Collections

Frédéric-Jules RudolphiStudy for an enamelled jewellery bowl© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
While the role of drawing within the alchemy of painting is well documented, its place within the field of the decorative arts is less well known. The design "sheets" of the 17th and 18th century ornamentalists have come to be much valued but their 19th century equivalents are still waiting for rediscovery although fate has not been generous as regards their survival.

Since its creation, the Musée d'Orsay has been anxious to assemble a significant collection of such drawings, some of which hail from the collections of the most emblematic artists of their day such as Viollet-le-Duc, Lassus, Bracquemond, Bugatti, Gallé, Lalique, Van de Velde...

This exhibition airs many stunning examples; from a design for a soup tureen for the Maison Odiot to a setting for ostrich eggs by Zoegger, from Rudolphi's jewellery designs to Grandhomme's projects for painted enamels; some drawings are highly finished whilst others offer a quick stylisation which presages industrial design. Seen together, the exhibits give an excellent overview of the rich variety to be found in ornamental and decorative art drawing, whether it be the encapsulation of the first germ of a creative idea which either did or did not come to realisation, or the only remaining trace of a vanished object. To complement some of the designs, a few objects from the collections will be exhibited alongside.


Olivier Gabet, curator, Musée d'Orsay


48/14, La revue du musée d'Orsay, issue # 21, Autumn 2005
Musée d'Orsay / Réunion des musées nationaux
€ 11

31 January - 30 April 2006
Musée d'Orsay

Graphic Arts Gallery

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