The Musée des Arts décoratifs presents a major exhibition on the Maison
Christofle, showing how, from its foundation in the 1830s to the present day,
this line of talented goldsmiths, begun by Charles Christofle (1805-1863)
and Henri Bouilhet (1830-1910), transformed the lines and decorations of
silverware, allowing it to become a feature of daily life. Through an immersive
and magical exhibition, this large retrospective features a selection of over
six hundred pieces of gold and silverwork, paintings, drawings, and posters,
from the Bouilhet-Christofle Collection and other major national collections.
The first exhibition of this scale, it has been organized by the Musée des
Arts décoratifs, which has always maintained close links with the Maison
Christofle, recognized as part of France’s tangible heritage since the second
half of the 19th century.
From small spoons to large vases, as well as monumental pieces of furniture
created for world fairs, this exhibit reveals forgotten aspects of the work of
the Maison Christofle to visitors. The Maison exploited the full potential of
metal to create works of all dimensions, typologies, and colours, combining
silver, gold, enamels, and patinas. Throughout the different gallery spaces,
visitors are invited to go behind the scenes of creation where the secrets
of this remarkable expertise are revealed. Tableware, laid out in both
intimate and majestic settings, also brings to life, thanks to a resolutely
contemporary scenography, the splendour of the legendary restaurants and
palaces like the Ritz, iconic trains, liners, and planes like the Orient Express,
the Normandie and the Concorde, as well as places of political power, all
supplied by Christofle, considered an ambassador of luxury and the French
art de vivre both in France and abroad.
Today, always in search of innovation,
the Maison Christofle is present in our daily lives, transforming the most
ordinary objects into design pieces: video game consoles, coffee cups, and
sneaker boxes. For almost two hundred years, Christofle has worked with
some of the greatest creators, like Luc Lanel, Gio Ponti, Andrée Putman, and
Karl Lagerfeld, to revolutionize traditional goldsmithery. Finally, this exhibition
may be said to show the long history of the decorative arts as seen through
the prism of goldsmithery: from historicism to Japanism, Art Nouveau to Art
Deco, as well as 1950s’ design to today’s highly contemporary creations.
The exhibition is presented in the Christine & Stephen A. Schwarzman fashion galleries.