Bamboo shelf – Perret & Vibert, France, end of the XIXth century
This imposing piece of furniture presented by the Galerie Vauclair draws its inspiration from the sinuous and Japanese repertoires through its plant decoration directly evoking the Far East. Its structure is made of bamboo stems. Standing on four legs, the piece of furniture is made up of two leaves. The lacquer panels decorating the lower part of the piece of furniture represent branches with flowers and birds taken from the Japanese repertoire. The sides of the piece of furniture are also decorated with lacquer. The upper part of the piece of furniture includes a shelf with different parts including a fan decorated with a lacquer panel.
The style of this piece of furniture is the result of the particular attraction of 19th century artists to the Far East.
Orientalism, the science of oriental sciences and civilizations, is a word that has been attested since 1826 and deals with a world of dreams and fantasy. As early as 1704, Galland’s first French translation of the Tale of a Thousand and One Nights began the fashion for turqueries and chinoiseries. Thereafter, the taste for exotic furniture qualified as orientalist was amplified by the opening of Europe towards the East. From then on, the various European embassies travelling to the East will bring back home their memories of this fantasized Orient. The decorative arts will then receive the influence of this new opening on the world, moving from the attraction towards the west when discovering the Americas to the east and its oriental charms. The advent of universal exhibitions attracting a considerable number of visitors will open a window on the world and on civilizations formerly ignored. Thus, the exhibition pavilions will attempt to reproduce Indian or Japanese interiors in an almost identical manner. Artists and intellectuals will therefore receive a large part of their inspiration from this fantasized Orient. In addition to the decorative arts, painting, literature and fashion will also use certain oriental attributes, thus creating a real artistic emulation around this geography.