The Sèvres porcelain manufactory

The Manufacture de Vincennes opened in 1740 and enjoyed great success thanks to the quality of its productions and the support of the Court. The manufactory moved in 1756 to Sèvres and initiated its history of excellence in soft-paste porcelain and hard-paste porcelain from 1768.

The Manufacture de Sèvres has attracted renowned artists such as François Boucher, Albert Carrier-Belleuse, Albert Dammouse, Alexandre-Evariste Fragonard, Auguste Rodin and many other artists of all periods. It has become an essential artistic scene as demonstrate the many World Fairs where the manufactory participated.

Its success comes from its ability to adapt to trends while perpetuating a technical and artisanal savoir-faire still practiced today.

World’s Fair of 1873 in Vienna

In 1873, Vienna hosts the World’s Fair, commissioned by Emperor Franz-Joseph I to promote international exchanges in Austria-Hungary. Vienna becomes indeed a capital of arts and culture after this major event, that surpasses the former exhibitions with its gigantic dimensions.

France stands particularly out for its artists, and in particular its art foundries and ceramists in the decorative arts. The Marchand house provides a circular couch for the event, with a little fountain and plants in the center, designed by Eugene Piat. Prices of Honor are awarded to Barbedienne, Christofle, Durenne, the manufactories of Sevres and Saint-Gobain, and Theodore Deck.

The latter shows beautiful ceramics tinged with Japanism, an idea that will inspire the Zsolnay Factory of Austria-Hungary, which is attending the exhibition for the first time. The discovery of Japan continues indeed, and the public discovers a Japanese garden with bonsai, where paper fishes are floating in the sky.

The 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris

An important Universal Exhibition, that one of 1867 innovated by proposing every invited country to build a construction representing their architecture, the national Pavilions. Held in Paris, it hosts the public in the Palais Omnibus, around which a huge Park enables to travel from a pavilion to another. More than ever, the World’s Fair is the meeting of all nations.

Indeed, Japan is represented for the first time, by Tokugawa Akitake’s delegation. Russia is guest of honor, and sets several typical buildings, notably Isbas which stayed in the French capital. Last but not least, Egypt brings an important collection of antiques, statues and mummies.

In the Decorative Arts, the Grand Prix is given to Fourdinois for a huge Cabinet sculpted with winged chimeras, while Guillaume Diehl presents a cabinet inspired by the Merovingian past, a curiosity of the Exhibition now kept at the Orsay Museum in Paris.

The 1862 Universal Exhibition in London

England had innovated in 1851 with the very first World’s Fair. Ten years later, it wishes to celebrate the anniversary of this event and thus hosts the third World’s Fair, the second on its soil. It however only opened in 1862, in a new building still rivaling grandeur, the Exhibition Palace.

The tenors of the French decorative arts, Ferdinand Barbedienne, Carrier-Belleuse, Fourdinois, Viollet-le-Duc, are present and illustrated in the album of John Burley Waring, Masterpieces of the Industrial Art of the International Exhibition of 1862. Barbedienne in particular causes a sensation with his works of arts inlaid with cloisonné and chased enamels, updating an old technique, after the designs of Constant Sevin.

Like the two previous exhibitions, this one houses under the same nave the products from all nations, 39 of which are attending. Japan honors this event with a delegation to visit the World’s Fair, in order to consider a further attendance.