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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

TEFAF Maastricht 2022

Upon the occasion of its third participation in TEFAF Maastricht, Galerie Gismondi is pleased to present a special selection of period furniture and fine art objects dating from the 16th to 20th centuries, reflecting the gallery’s taste for eclecticism and discovery.

Galerie Gismondi, XX, Rue Royale, 75008 Paris, France. Image Courtesy Galerie Gismondi

Galerie Gismondi’s booth will be divided into two distinct parts. Thanks to judicious scenography, the settings thus partitioned will present on the one hand an exceptional example of four so-called “Watteau paper” painted paper panels depicting Chinese scenes framed with rococo flourishes, c. 1750-1752, and on the other hand a unique set of Himalayan cedar Indian wood panels engraved with flora or fauna motifs, crafted around 1885-1892.

These rare pieces illustrate a specific period in History, and furthermore attest to the interest of 18th-century and 19th-century western citizens, and in particular the British, for “exotic” goods displaying craftsmanship and know-how from Asia.

Galerie Gismondi, XX, Rue Royale, 75008 Paris, France. Image Courtesy Galerie Gismondi

Exceptional pieces bearing witness to historical exchanges The exchanges established by the French and English East India Companies were not limited to trade relations; they also had a significant impact on the field of decorative arts in Europe. As of the 17th century, the importation of objects coming from China provided a new source of inspiration that was highly fashionable in European courts. In order to meet increasing demand, Chinese workshops soon established themselves in the trading posts of Macao and Canton so as to satisfy western collectors on the lookout for unique pieces.

Detail of a so-called « Watteau paper » painted paper panel depicting Chinese scenes framed with rococo flourishes, c. 1750-1752

Also, as of 1741, in England, a taste for chinoiseries and wallpaper began to grow. The English aristocracy developed a passion for this novelty and the English ordered entire decors for their residences. In the years 1748 to 1750, John Hampden VIII thus ordered from the famous supplier Bromwich and various Cantonese shops new decorations for his country house, Hampden House, among which the four painted paper panels presented this year at Galerie Gismondi’s booth. They were installed circa 1758 in the drawing room of this Elizabethan residence, the first country house to ever be adorned with this kind of decoration.

Such collaborations between Western and Eastern craftsmen further intensified in the 19th century during Queen Victoria’s reign. They also reflect the Arts & Crafts movement that emerged in England during the same time period, whose goal was to advocate and support handcrafted work and creation as well as safeguard traditional techniques and learn them anew. It was in this context that the British Crown created the Mayo School of Art in Lahore, the first art school in British Punjab, for the purpose of preserving the arts from this geographical area. With John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911) appointed as principal in 1875, it brought together Indigenous teachers and craftsmen, including Bhai Ram Singh (1858-1916) with whom Kipling would also collaborate for numerous projects both in India and in Great Britain such as, in 1884, Bagshot Park, residence of Queen Victoria’s third son and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught.

Upon the request of Purdon Clarke (1846-1911), John Lockwood Kipling also made wood panels as well as carved wood architectural elements for the creation of a Punjab court and a Durbar Hall for the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London. Later sold to the prolific collector Lord Brassey, the wood panels presented upon the occasion of TEFAF Maastricht by Galerie Gismondi allegedly came from these ensembles, most of the remaining elements thereof being kept today in Hastings Museum. On one of the panels, an inscription in Urdu and Punjabi says: “This piece was designed and crafted by the students and teachers of the Mayo School of Art, Lahore;” this included the Indian master Bhai Ram Singh, who in 1890 also designed the Durbar Room for Osborne House, one of Queen Victoria’s royal residences.

A drawing presenting a project for an additional room in Bagshot Park, kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, could also be connected to these exceptional wood panels, reopening speculation pertaining to their intended purpose.

Giovanni Castrucci (Lucca, 1541-1595), Bohemian stone panel representing a “View of Schwarzenberg palace on Hradcany hill in Prague” Circa 1605

Are also presented at the fair:

A Walking Horse, a bronze equine statue by Antonio Susini (active in Florence from 1580 to1624), modelled after the equestrian statue of Cosimo I located in Florence, and two hard stone marquetry panels depicting two different views of Prague, after drawings dating from 1603 to 1608 [by Roelandt Savery (1576-1639) and Pieter Stevens (1567-av. 1632)] attributed to the Castrucci family, c. 1605-1610 and reputed as coming from the treasury of Rudolph II, will complete the selection presented at the fair.

Antonio Susini (Florence, active 1580-1624) Walking Horse, bronze

Galerie Gismondi

The internationally renowned Gismondi gallery is based in in the luxury 8th arrondissement of Paris city centre and specializes in furniture, decorative arts dating from the 15th to 19th Century, and on the lesser scale in sculptures, old masters and drawings dating from the 16th to 18th century.

Galerie Gismondi was founded by M. Jean Gismondi in 1966, originally located in Antibes, the gallery expanded in 1980 and relocated itself to the luxury city centre of Paris at its actual location where the gallery operates on a 700 sqm three stories building located on the 20 rue Royale. The gallery is a member of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires since 1970 and participates in the Biennale de Antiquaires since 1974. The gallery has also always been active in the promotion of arts and the art market, periodically creating events and exhibitions at its main gallery space and regularly issues catalogues of their discoveries. Through the years the gallery also helped and encouraged many scholars and it always keeps their doors opened to researchers.

Mrs Sabrina Gismondi collaborated with her father/founder of the gallery since 1986 and participated in the operation of the Galerie Gismondi since then. She proudly took over the gallery after M. Jean Gismondi passed away since 2014 and she actively continues the promotion of the gallery and its development.