Collection / Rococo


An Important and Rare Suite of Napoleon III Painted Panels

An Important and Rare Suite of Napoleon III Painted Panels

Dimensions (framed): H: 115 in / 292 cm


Everlasting Love:
An Important and Rare Suite of Napoleon III Painted Panels

Painted with great bravura, artistic mastery and technical expertise, the set of 5 oil on canvas panels depicting scenes on gold leaf reserves within salmon pink painted borders, housed within elaborate hand-carved giltwood frames consisting of rectilinear frames, the larger panels with domed tops set with open trelliswork and an asymmetrical scrolled finial flanked by carved flowers, while the smaller panels having double-scrolled tops set with a shell finial.
French, circa 1870

The paintings are a French Second Empire artistic vision of the 17th century still life tradition married to 18th century Rococo decorative motifs and a hint of the Neoclassical. Such creative whimsy is typical of the nineteenth century, and such revivalism is likewise noted in furniture and the decorative arts of the period as witnessed at the numerous World Fairs. The largest side panels depict a large peacock, with his striking tail feathers draped over the architectural fragment on which it is perched, undoubtedly inspired by the earlier work of Melchior d’Hondecoeter, while the other panel presents a large grapevine on an ‘athénienne’ tripod with musical emblems at its feet and a pair of thyrsi symbolising Dionysian hedonism.

The pair of smallest panels with pendant trophies symbolising Spring and Autumn including bouquets of roses and poppies. By extension, we surmise the peacock, and its petunia garland, represents Summer, and the vines represent Winter when the Dionysia was celebrated in Ancient Athens. The central panel depicting a pair of kingfishers within a grassy arrangement with bulrush and water iris, on a shell-clasped pedestal below fishing accoutrements, symbolising conjugal fidelity and happiness in love.

from a Private American collection, Tennessee

REF No. 10144

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