Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Where on Art.....? The Fan Designer
The Fan Museum in Greenwich. The museum is hosting an incredible exhibition of gorgeous fans such as these in the exhibition 'Alexandre - Fan Maker to the Courts of Europe'.
Ok so it's not the best season to talk about fans, at least on this side of the hemisphere, but these rare and collectible beauties are an inspiration all year round, no matter the weather.
Since 1991, The Fan Museum has staged over 60 temporary exhibitions. This year, The Fan Museum celebrates 20 years of exhibition making, so the museum has formulated a programme of temporary
exhibitions that truly reflects and celebrates its status as one of Greenwich’s ‘cultural gems…’
'Alexandre: Fan Maker to the Courts of Europe', shows the work of Félix Alexandre (b.1823) who rose to fame during the 1850’s to become fan maker to Empress Eugènie, the Empress of Russia, the Queen of the
Netherlands and Queen Victoria – a fact proudly proclaimed in gold letters on the inside of his fan boxes. Not to mention the glittering society of Paris and beyond. Not only did Alexandre paint fan leaves and produce designs for many of the elaborate montures (sticks and guards), but he was also the first éventailliste to employ painters and designers who were part of the coterie of fashionable artists working in France at this time.
Carousels of figures, putti, flowers; montures of sumptuously carved ivory, tortoiseshell, engraved mother of pearl and lavish gilding: even the most cursory glance at an Alexandre fan will reveal an era of enormous
affluence where emperors and royalty were the celebrities of the day. Most ‘high society’ women coveted an Alexandre fan and these beautiful objects will be displayed with an elegant ball-gown (once worn by a
princess) and other accessories of the period which covers the second half of the nineteenth century.
This ambitious exhibition, a joint initiative of The Fan Museum and Musée Galliera (Musée de la Mode et du costume de la Ville de Paris), brings together, for the first time, an array of exquisite Alexandre fans
including loans from Royal Collections and some of Europe’s most prestigious collectors. Drawing on extensive archival research, the exhibition offers unparalleled insights into the craft of a particularly
enigmatic éventailliste, undoubtedly one of the major forces in 19th century French fan design and production.
The museum is open Tue-Sat: 11am-5pm. Sun: 12-5pm