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Studies Gallery

De la Chine aux Arts Décoratifs : l’art chinois dans les collections du musée des Arts décoratifs
February 13th 2014–January 11th 2015

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Brûle-parfum en forme de gui couvert, Chine, dynastie Qing, période Qianlong (1736-1796)
Emaux cloisonnés et champlevés sur cuivre
Dépôt public Fondation Salomon de Rothschild, 1923
Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris
© Les Arts Décoratifs / Photo : Jean Tholance

For the first time, the De la Chine aux Arts Décoratifs exhibition is revealing the exceptional quality and scope of Les Arts Décoratifs’ collection of Chinese d’objets d’art. The fruit of acquisitions made in the first decades after our institution was founded, and of gifts and bequests by generous collectors, this remarkable ensemble reflects the fascination for Chinese art in France, principally in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The interest of these donors in the art of China, and more broadly the Far and Near East, often stemmed from their fascination for certain techniques and materials, and for their forms and decorative motifs. The pieces on display reveal exquisite skills and plunge us into the fascinating, intriguing universe that revitalised the French ornamental vocabulary, from the first World’s Fairs until very recent times.

Today, our knowledge of Chinese culture enables us to regard these objects in a different light, that of their meanings and uses, and to more fully understand the interest that the Chinese themselves have shown in them down the centuries. It is these dual points of view that we have tried to bring together in this exhibition which is organised within the context of France Chine 50 -

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In the Contemporary Gallery

Sous pression, le bois densifié
March 28th–September 14th 2014

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Pressure Point, Paul Cocksedge, 2013
© Mark Cocksedge

Softwoods such as pine can become as hard as rare tropical species. This exhibition highlights the work of the EPFL+ECAL LAB, a joint venture of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, in transforming this technique into uses and emblematic objects created by designers such as Paul Cocksedge, Chris Kabel, Lea Longis, Normal Studio and Big Game. The first of the exhibition’s two sections explores the historical context and technical advances in the use of wood, an ancestral composite material principally composed of fibres and resin. The story of this evolution is told via a selection of furniture from the Arts Décoratifs collection dating from the 19th century to the 1960s, including works by Thonet Gebrûder, Alfred Latry & Cie, Alvar Aalto, Charles Eames and Grete Jalk. The second section features creations in densified wood by contemporary designers. Five large boxes fixed to a mural panel show the fabrication process of each project from the metal mould with the initial piece of wood before it is introduced into the machine, until the realisation of the final object in densified wood.

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In the Toys Gallery

Les jouets en bois suédois
June 19th 2014–January 11th 2015

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Camion de pompier, fabriqué à partir de 1949, Brio Leksaks- fabrik (depuis 1884), fabricant, Suède
Bois, métal, caoutchouc, corde, plastique
© Brio Lekoseum / photo : Carl-Johan Nilsson

“Wood makes essential Objects, Objects for all time.” Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1957.

In 1987, the musée des Arts décoratifs’ Toy department showed the wooden toys from all countries and all times exhibition, and in 2010 we invited Vilac to celebrate its 100th anniversary: two exhibitions telling the story of the use of wood in different Cultures and Traditions. Organised by the Bard Graduate Center in New York, the Swedish wooden Toys exhibition explores Swedish play culture via a selection of more that 250 toys and documents from the sovrintendenza capitolina ai beni culturali di Roma capitale in Rome, the Brio Lekoseum at Osby in Sweden, and the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris.

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Fashion Space

Dries Van Noten - Inspirations
March 1st-November 2st 2014

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Dries Van Noten, défilé Automne/Hiver 2006
© Mathieu Ridelle

The work of the belgian fashion designer, Dries Van Noten, is featured at the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. This is the very first exhibition devoted to the artist’s work. As Dries Van Noten takes us on an intimate journey into his artistic universe, he reveals the singularity of his creative process which he illustrates with his various and numerous sources of inspiration. This event is an eye opening experience, where Dries Van Noten’s men’s and women’s collections are put together with iconic pieces from the museum’s fashion and textile collection. The show also includes photographs and videos, film clips, musical references, as well as artworks by renowned artists, from public and private collections, that have triggered the designer’s imagination throughout his life and career.

For this exhibition, Dries Van Noten has brought together elements which point to other sources of inspiration, such as the Renaissance ‘chambers of wonder’ or ‘curiosity cabinets’ in which collectors amassed memorabilia and souvenirs. He has selected anonymous 19th century pieces and works by emblematic couturiers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior ans 1980s designers, to evoke intimate subject matters such as youth, the archetype, ambiguity and passion, while highlighting his ‘signature’ themes.

Thanks to exceptional loans, masterpieces by important artists such as Bronzino, Kees Van Dongen, Yves Klein, Victor Vasarely, Francis Bacon, Elizabeth Peyton and Damien Hirst are on display in each section of the show. Major films, including Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange and Jane Campion’s The Piano, are also part of the event.

The exhibition is the result of Dries Van Noten’s close collaboration with the Arts Decoratifs Museum, which has prompted him to use several 19th century textile patterns in his 2014 men’s ans women’s Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collections that he unveiled in Paris in June and September 2013.

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Buy the Book


Recto Verso : 8 pièces graphiques
May 21st 2014-Ferbuary 1st 2015

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Affiche de l’exposition

Les Arts Décoratifs is inviting eight french graphic designers: Akatre, Jocelyn Cottencin, Helmo, Christophe Jacquet, Fanette Mellier, Mathias Schweizer, Pierre Vanni and Vier5. The Recto-Verso. 8 pièces graphiques exhibition explores the problematic relationship between the graphic designer’s commissioned works and personal projects, and thus also between fine art and applied art. In short, is the graphic designer essentially a communication technician or an artist? By definition multiple and designed to be shown in a public space, a commissioned graphic object (poster, document, etc.) runs counter to the criteria defining a work of art. Yet since the early 2000s graphic design is no longer solely a practice reflecting on-going economic and cultural developments but is regarded by some of its actors as an area of critical hybridisation between visual communication and contemporary art. Each of the eight graphic designers will use a room in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in their own original way, showing both commissioned works and personal projects: posters, performances, videos, photographs, installations, comics strips and artistic collaborations in creative fields as diverse as dance, literature, fashion and music. The joint presentation of these two “categories” of work shows how their mutual porosity will eventually result in the construction of a single artistic and formal universe.

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Les Arts Décoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris

Phone: +33 (0)1 44 55 57 50

Disabled access to museum via lift at 105, rue de Rivoli.

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