Drawing, Design for a Bedroom, Hotel de Mailly-Nesle, Paris, 1770–80
This is a Drawing. It was attributed to Gilles Paul Cauvet. We acquired it in 1911. Its medium is pen and black ink, brush and wash, over black chalk on paper, lined with two sheets of heavy paper and framed with blue paper colored black and strips of gold paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
Rich stucco decorations overtake this opulent neoclassic bedroom designed by Gilles-Paul Cauvet (1731-88), the director of Académie de Saint Luc, the guild for artisans and decorative painters. Cauvet was a prominent sculptor and designer at the French court, not only working for Louis XVI’s brother and Marie Antoinette, but also on several Parisian hôtels (private residences) including the Hôtel Mailly-Nesle, depicted here. This hôtel was first built in the seventeenth-century on the quai Voltaire in Paris. A luxuriously draped lit à l’Italienne is presented behind a colonnade of columns and candelabras composed of sculptures of maids and soldiers. The back wall is ornamented with neoclassical motifs as well as decorations inspired by the Jean Berain and Pierre Le Pautre. The motif of female figures flanking a large medallion is particularly evocative of Primaticcio’s decorations for Fontainebleau in the sixteenth-century. On the cornices of the curved ceiling are military trophies and the emblems at the foot of the bed suggests that this room was likely executed for the Marquis de Mailly. This drawing is a prime reflection of an era where sculpture prevailed over painting in interior decorations.
Cite this object as
Drawing, Design for a Bedroom, Hotel de Mailly-Nesle, Paris, 1770–80; Attributed to Gilles Paul Cauvet (French, 1731 - 1788); France; pen and black ink, brush and wash, over black chalk on paper, lined with two sheets of heavy paper and framed with blue paper colored black and strips of gold paper; 1911-28-10