Rocaille and Rococo

Invented by the decorators Oppenord, Meissonier and Pinault, the Rocaille ornaments are key elements of the Regence style and the Louis XV style. Shells and plants thus invade the decoration, transforming themselves according to the caprices of dreams into abstract and eventful forms.

The Rocaille ornaments are hence the French expression, in the decorative arts, of the late Baroque exuberances throughout Europe. In the nineteenth century, art historians forged a new term from "Baroco" and Rocaille to designate this European aesthetic of the eighteenth century: the Rococo.

Rocaille or Rococo, objects with capricious forms in the taste of the Louis XV style can often be described as both. More precise, however, we will prefer to speak of Rocaille for asymmetrical ornaments, evoking natural forms. These dreamlike forms continued to seduce in the nineteenth century as witnesses the success of François Linke and Leon Messager, to name but a few. Finally, the Art Nouveau also retains the lessons of these turbulent lines.

The Troubadour style

When, a few years after the French Revolution, the artists of the Salon are seized by a passion for the medieval past, the critics invent a word that will have an important destiny : the Troubadour style.

Crossing the Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles, the Troubadour style characterizes all decorations inspired by History as well as legends, that immerse us in scenes from a dreamy past. From Vercingetorix to Francis I, passing through a horde of medieval knights and king’s jesters, the Troubadour style infiltrates all the daily objects, fearing no anachronism nor any mix.

It particularly develops under the Restoration, favored by the Duchess of Berry and the Countess of Osmond, and will gain popularity until the end of the century. The Troubadour style thus formed the taste of major art figures, such as the Count of Nieuwerkerke, Viollet-le-Duc or Gusatve Doré.

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The Art Deco style

At the beginning of the 20th century, the enthusiasm for the dazzling progresses of industries stimulates a stylized, geometrical art, revealing the beauty and richness of the new world. As soon as 1910, early refined and regular-shaped works are realized, distancing themselves from the Art Nouveau asymmetries and undulations. It is in 1925, at the Paris International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, that the new style affirms its importance and causes a sensation.

Art Deco is rich in colorful ornamentation in architecture, favoring the geometrization of forms: human figures, plants, flowers, take stylized forms. The progress of Industry is put at the service of art to create impressive ironworks, immense glass windows, perfectly mastered forms.

Emblem of the Roaring Twenties, Art Deco reflects the pride of the modern world, adopted as well for the decoration of the most famous skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building, or by couturiers Jacques Doucet and Jeanne Lanvin. Timeless, Art Deco remains an important source of inspiration, especially in decoration and interior design. The "Metropolis" fireplace created by the Maison & Maison designer is a perfect example.

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The Restoration style


Following the Empire, the Restoration (1815-1830) prolongs the Neoclassical taste while clearing the decorative arts of imperial emblems and rigidity. This style opposes delicacy and suppleness to the ostentation and rigidity of the Directoire. Charles X especially promotes continuity with the forms of the Ancien Regime.

Turned in this way towards the past, the Restoration style brings back to the taste of the day motifs of the Louis XVI style, but also Gothic and Renaissance forms. Within this wide variety of shapes, the S-shaped doucine, the diamond, the palmettes, are often encountered. The fine inlaid patterns on light woods, reminiscent of the Regency, are also in vogue.

The Duchesse de Berry, a great patron of the Restoration, is also an amateur of the Troubadour taste that rises under Charles X. The Neo-Gothic style, destined to endure until the end of the century, knows its first pieces of anthology such as the Gothic Cabinet of the Countess of Osmond.