Orangerie Museum : Impressionist decorations

Visit-conference : 16th of June, 2022

The 8th visit-conference of the MAHATTA program took place at the Orangerie museum. The speaker presented an exhibition called « Impressionist decorations », gathering decorative works by Bracquemond, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, and Renoir.

Why chose the Orangerie museum for this exhibition ?

Le Orangerie museum is especially adapted for this exhibition since Monet’s large “Water Lilies” represent the only famous large impressionist décor. For this works, however, it is rather the support that has been constrained to adapt to the paintings, since the rooms where they are exposed were custom made.

What did impressionist paint decorations on?

Impressionists could create paint on canvas that were adapted to a specific place, like following the shape of the kitchen or the living-room’s walls. They could also be considered decorations because the topics were adapted to the surroundings. For example, “The Turkeys”, by Monet, represent the Rothenburg castle, because it had been ordered to decorate the estate.

They could also paint directly on cupboard or house doors. Monet painted the Aiguille on the door of the dining room of the Aubourg inn.

Pissarro and Degas, among others, produced “portable” decorative fans. These elements were borrowed from Japanese influence, which had an important impact on impressionist decorative works. These textile or paper supports were decorated with modern life patterns and luminous landscapes. The half-moon shapes with no centre create striking creativity. They play on the off-centred compositions of the elements and perspectives. Whereas Pissarro allocates the decorative elements on each side of the fan (3), Degas paints dancers on only one side of the object (5).

SAMA For All and the impressionist decorations

The visit was very interactive for the participants. For example, the speaker made them choose and explain their favorite season from Pissarro’s “Four Seasons”.