To accompany the Pierre Gouthière exhibition, The Musée des Arts Décoratifs has invited the Maison Lignereux to present five of its contemporary ormolu-mounted ceramics in the 18th century period rooms of the museum. Porcelain and gilded bronze are beautifully married in these new objets d’art and they reference some of the most luxurious products ever created at that time.
These five artworks are based on the poem Kubla Khan composed in 1797 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1777-1834); a poem where East and West examine each other with mutual fascination. The sculptures also represent the four elements: Water as in the liquid gold gushing out of Mighty Fountain 70; the Earth with its rugged globes intertwined by serpents in Breathing Earth; Fire raging out of Voices; and Air, impalpable among the hanging clouds of the mobile Pleasure-Dome.
The Maison Lignereux was originally created by the marchands-merciers Dominique Daguerre and Martin-Eloy Lignereux and became one of the most prestigious businesses for objets d’art at the end of the 18th century. Their reputation was based as much on the craftsmanship of the materials used as on the invention of new original forms. The company ceased all business at the beginning of the 19th century and it is in 2016, at the instigation of Gonzague Mézin (born 1982) that it saw light again. Mézin uses the original visual language of the Maison Lignereux to design and develop new objets. These have been made by a collective of French and British artists: the Atelier Cabiria (bronziers d’art), the ceramic-artists Thiébaut Chagué, Tanya Gomez and Laura Murphy and the sculptor Samuel Yal.
Presented within the 18th century period rooms, these contemporary works create a dialogue with the museum’s collection. Though anchored in a very present moment, they also pay homage to the past and to its endless source of inspiration. The use of ormolu strengthens and vivifies the materials and traditional shapes in a poetic and unique way. As such, these new works echo Pierre Gouthière’s oeuvre and create a sense of artistic continuity with the past.