Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Celebration of Paris: On View Through November 2007

A Celebration of Paris
Arader Galleries, November 2007

Arader Galleries is pleased to present a special exhibition of antique engravings and lithographs relating to Paris, France. Paris has been a center for arts and culture for over a millennia. The city, as the seat of the French government, has also been the backdrop to countless historical events that had huge influence throughout the world. From 16th century maps, to 19th century French revolution scenes, Arader Galleries has a wide range of material highlighting Paris, and its rich history, which will be on view and available for purchase during November. Also featured in this special exhibition are highly regarded artists, such as the great botanical artist Pierre-Joseph Redoute, that lived and worked in Paris.

November 15, 2007
5 to 8 p.m.
Arader Galleries
435 Jackson St.
Jackson Square, between Montgomery and Sansome
San Francisco, CA 94111

Please call (415) 788-5115 to request a catalog of the exhibition.

We also invite you to attend the Jackson Square Holiday Walk on November 29th, 5-8 p.m.

Upcoming Exhibition: Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at Versailles

Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at Versailles
November 17, 2007 — February 17, 2008
Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Marie-Antoinette, the Austrian-born queen of Louis XVI of France, was given the Petit Trianon, a small château secluded in the park at Versailles, upon her accession in 1774. An icon of French neoclassicism, it exemplifies the perfection of 18th-century French architecture through its delicate balance of form and proportion. Its interiors were furnished to the queen's order with pieces of the utmost elegance, restraint, and beauty. This exhibition gives a visual history of the Petit Trianon through 88 pieces of the finest furniture, paintings, and sculpture from this château. It is complemented by watercolors, prints, and drawings of the house and its innovative landscaping, including the picturesque Hameau, a rustic village where the queen and her favorites could relax away from the prying eyes of the court at Versailles. This is the only venue of the exhibition, which is organized by the Musée National of the Château de Versailles. Link

A Grand View of the Gardens of Versailles

Pierre le Pautre
“Plan General de la Ville & du Chateau de Versailles, des Jardins, Bosquets et Fountaines”
Paris: 1717
Hand-colored copperplate engraving
Paper size: 37 ½" x 50"
Framed size: 43 ½" x 56 ½"

Louis XIV (1638-1715), the Sun King of France, had grown up during a civil war between rival factions of aristocrats, known as the Fronde, and wanted a site where he could control the French government by absolute rule. Louis settled on the royal hunting lodge at Versailles, which had been acquired by Louis XIII in 1632, and over the following decades expanded it into the largest palace and grounds in the world. It was Louis XIV's hope to create a center for the royal court at Versailles.

Beginning in 1669, the architect, Louis Le Vau (1612-1670), began a detailed renovation of the château. The Château of Versailles, outside of Paris, was converted into a spectacular royal palace in a series of four major and distinct building campaigns. By the end of the third building campaign, the Château had taken on most of the appearance that it retains to this day, except for the Royal Chapel in the last decade of the reign. Louis XIV officially moved to Versailles, along with the royal court, on May 6, 1682.

Louis had several reasons for creating such a symbol of extravagant opulence and stately grandeur, and for shifting the seat of the monarch. By moving the royal court and the seat of the French government, Louis XIV hoped to gain greater control of the government from the nobility. All the power of France emanated from this centre: there were government offices here, as well as the homes of thousands of courtiers and all the attendant functionaries of court. By requiring that nobles of a certain rank and position spend time each year at Versailles, Louis prevented them from developing their own regional power and kept them from countering his efforts to centralize the French government in an absolute monarchy. Thus, many noblemen had to either to give up all influence, or to depend entirely on the king for grants and subsidies. Instead of exercising power and potentially creating trouble, the nobles vied for the honor of dining at the king’s table or the privilege of carrying a candlestick as the king retired to his bedroom.

Versailles also served as a dazzling and awe-inspiring setting for state affairs and for the reception of foreign dignitaries, where the attention was not shared with the city of Paris, but was assumed solely by the king. Court life centered on magnificence; courtiers lived lives of expensive luxury, dressed with suitable magnificence and constantly attended balls, dinners, performances and celebrations.

This grand view showcases the garden plan of Versailles, the grounds of which are the largest formal gardens ever created, with extensive fountains and canals (identified with a key on either side of the illustrated garden plan). The gardens at Versailles were designed by the landscape architect André Le Nôtre (1673-1700). Le Nôtre modified the original gardens by expanding them and giving them a sense of openness and larger scale. The plan was centered by the central axis of the Grand Canal (le Canal), an ornamental body of water covering 105 acres. The gardens are centered on the south front of the palace, which is set on a terrace, giving the palace a sweeping view of the gardens. The Fountain of Latona (6) is located at the foot of the steps, and tells a story taken from Ovid’s poem Metamorphoses, which was considered an allegory of the Fronde, the French civil war (1646-53) that occurred when Louis XIV was a child. Beyond this is the Fountain of Apollo (15 - Bassin d’Apollon), which symbolizes the regime of the Sun King. To the right of the Grand Canal is Trianon, a getaway built by Louis XIV to spend time with his family, and unwind from the tedium of life at the royal court. Far into the distance lie the dense woods of the King’s hunting grounds.

This view is currently on view at Arader Galleries and is available for purchase.