Exceptional cycle of wallpapers representing the story of Psyche in 12 grisaille paintings by the Manufacture Desfossé & Karth Circa 1872.
Christie's sale of September 28, 1995.
By descent from the previous owner
A similar series (from the same period) but not complete is kept at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. Inv. HH 2
The twelve tables in the story of Psyche refer to Jean de La Fontaine's novel Les amours de Psyché et Cupidon (1669), itself inspired by the tale The Golden Ass of Apuleius (2nd century). This panoramic decoration was made on a composition by Louis Laffite, who himself was inspired by François Gérard and Pierre-Paul Prudhon, two famous painters of the neoclassical period. We should therefore not be surprised by the style of these panels, which include antique furniture inspired by Jacob.
The realization is a technical challenge, since a motif is never repeated from one panel to another. The grisaille appearance actually required 23 colors, and the set required 1,245 carved wood planks, all of which were printed manually. Considerable work, which has been rewarded since the Joseph Dufour manufacture which manufactured it obtained a silver medal at the Exhibition of French Industry Products in 1819. The version which is exhibited is a reissue of 1872 produced by the Maison Desfossé and Karth, which indicates the duration of the success of this panoramic ...
Wallpaper enjoyed an extraordinary vogue at the beginning of the 19th century, as it was cheaper than painted woodwork and could therefore penetrate the interiors of the well-to-do bourgeoisie. By lowering costs, mass production made it possible to offer beauty to as many people as possible, a democratic argument that manufacturers have put forward a lot.
Dimensions (the width): 182 x 54 cm. / 72 by 22 ½ in.
Total dimensions of the cycle: 182 x 1404 cm. / 72 by 583 in.
The 12 paintings represent the story of Psyche in this chronological order:
1. Psyche's parents consulting the Oracle of Apollo, strips 1 and 2. Two strips. H.1.82m x W.1.08m.
2. Psyche removed by the Zephirs, strips 3 and 4. Two strips. H.1.82m x W.1.08m
3. Psyche in the bath, rolls 5 to 8. Four strips. H.1.82m x L.2.16m
4. Psyche showing her jewelry to her sisters, strips 9 to 12. Four strips. H.1.82m x L.2.16m
5. Psyche wanting to stab Love, lengths 13 and 14. Two lengths. H.1.82m x W.1.08m
6. Psyche abandoned, l 15. One l. H.1.82m x L.0.54m
7. Psyche collected by a fisherman, lengths 16 and 17. Two lengths. H.1.82m x W.1.08 m
8. Psyche bringing to Venus a vase of water from the Fountain of Youth, lengths 18 to 20. Three lengths. H.1.82m x W.1.62m
9. Psyche going to the Underworld, le 21. One le. H.1.82m x L.0.54m
10. Psyche returning from the Underworld, le 22. A le. H.1.82m x L.0.54m
11. Reconciliation of Venus and Psyche, strips 23 to 25. Three strips. H.1.82m x W.1.62m
12. Hymen of Psyche and Love, le 26. A le. H 1.82 m x L 0.54 m
4 900 €