Pair of tapestries in wool and silk, manufacture of Beauvais around 1785.
"Cherry picking" and "The offering to love", rare pair of tapestries from the hanging of "Pastorals with blue draperies and arabesques", designed by Jean-Baptiste Huet* for the royal manufacture of Beauvais.
The two tapestries present, on a beige background, bucolic countryside scenes framed by a double border made of a blue drapery decorated with mantling where birds and garlands of oak leaves are perched on a soft green background.
The first tapestry, "Cherry Picking", presents us with a harvesting scene taking place in front of a farm. In addition to the main couple which symbolizes love, it is the peasant way of life which is offered to us, with two young children playing in the middle of the animals of the farmyard.
The second tapestry, "The offering to love", takes place on a mound in front of a statue of Cupid, a meeting place where young teenagers are looking for love, while in the foreground a couple of shepherds rest in the middle of their flock.
The blue braids signed at the bottom "DM. Beauvais " between two lily flowers, for Mr. de Menou, director of the royal manufacture of Beauvais.
Tapestry of basse lisse, wool and silk, 8 threads of warp to the cm.
Manufacture of Beauvais, Louis the XVIth period, around 1785.
- "The offering to love" : height 2m75, width 2m65.
- " The cherry picking " : height 2m65, width 2m55.
- Double Collection, May 30, 1881, lots 409 and 410.??
Tapestry from the « Pastorals with blue draperies » hanging :
- Musée du Louvre, "L'Escarpolette" (OA6527) and "La danse à deux" (OA6526).
- Mobilier national, "La pêche" (GOB-862-000).
- Collection of the 5th Duke of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, Scotland, complete hanging.
Our opinion :
Our two tapestries are from one of the most beautiful hangings woven in France in the second part of the 18th century. The arrival of Jean-Baptiste Huet in the 1780s will give a new breath to the royal manufacture of Beauvais. The painter who is one of the greatest French animal specialists will put all his talent in the development of particularly rich cartoons. He will concentrate on the same tapestry, the most beautiful French baroque style, with bucolic scenes of François Boucher, framed by borders combining draperies and floral decorations of the greatest finesse. The master will embellish the whole with animals of all kinds, birds, fish ... An area where he excels. The precision of his brush will be faithfully rendered by an extremely tight silk weaving and by a dyeing with a delicate polychromy.
The whole gives us a Louis the XVth rocaille, tempered by the finesse of floral borders, typically Louis the XVIth. This art constitutes the apogee of the career of Jean-Baptiste Huet and also corresponds to that of the manufacture. If many armchair trimmings, in particular referring to the fables of La Fontaine, will be woven at this time, it is not the case of the large hangings, extremely time-consuming and expensive, which will be reserved for an elite. It is estimated that three or four "Pastorals and blue drapery" tapestries came out of the workshops, for tapestries that are today kept in the greatest collections and museums.
Our two tapestries, in perfect state of conservation and with still very fresh colors, represent to us the quintessence of the art of the French weavers of the XVIIIth century.
*Jean Baptiste Huet is a French painter, born in Paris on October 22nd, 1745 and died in the same city on August 22nd, 1811.
Son of Nicolas Huet, painter of the king's furniture storage, Jean-Baptiste Huet apprenticed with Charles Dagomer (circa 1700 - circa 1768), a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc. He was then admitted to the Academy on July 30th, 1768 and received the title of Academician on July 29th, 1769 as an animal painter with a scene depicting "A Mastiff Throwing Himself at a Geese" (Paris, Louvre Museum).
He then followed the advice of Jean-Baptiste Le Prince from 1769, and entered the movement of painters of rococo style. He exhibited regularly at the Salon until 1789, much encouraged by the critics. His taste for engraving linked him very early on with Gilles Demarteau, who engraved many of Huet's works, thus participating in the diffusion of the animal painter's compositions.
He excelled in pastoral and light scenes, sheepfolds which attest to the filiation of his style with that of François Boucher. He worked for the Jouy canvas factory directed by Oberkampf, providing various sketches to be printed on cotton canvases. Many examples can be seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
His works were also very popular as tapestry cartoons for the Beauvais factory. We keep a very beautiful set today preserved in the Nissim-de-Camondo Museum.
Around 1790, Huet was charged with the reorganization of the Beauvais and Gobelins manufactures.