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Object Timeline

1911

  • We acquired this object.

1991

2011

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2014

2016

  • You found it!

Drawing, Panel of Arabesques for the Hôtel de Salm, Paris, 1785

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Jean-Guillaume Moitte. It is dated 1785 and we acquired it in 1911. Its medium is pen and black ink, brush and gouache, black chalk on toned paper, lined. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This design for a decorative panel offers a variation on the grotesque motif, an ornamental style that was first seen in ancient Rome. Characterized by the non-narrative assembly of fantastic animals on a two dimensional surface, grotesques were capable of limitless permutations and invited the imagination of countless designers throughout the centuries. The design is host to a lively cast of classical figures: cavorting satyrs, graceful caryatids and plump putti are all connected by a system of garlands and candelabra, together forming a strong vertical axis. Jean-Guillaume Moitte, working in pre-revolutionary France, had stylistic affinities with Ancien Régime designers such as Jean Berain, who helped to revitalize the grotesque in the seventeenth century.

Moitte designed the panel as part of a commission for the Hôtel de Salm in Paris; the artist was one of the main sculptors hired to work on the building, then the private residence of Prince Frederick III of Salm-Kyrburg. The bright turquoise gouache of the drawings is typical of the highly saturated color palette then popular for domestic interiors.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled From Frivolity to Revolt: The Hôtel de Salm’s Role in the French Revolution.

This object was donated by Advisory Council and catalogued by Rudolph Berliner and Megan L. Smith. It is credited Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

43 x 10.1cm (16 15/16 x 4in.) Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 in.) Mount: 46.8 x 13.8 cm (18 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.) Frame: 60.3 x 44.8 x 2.5 cm (23 3/4 in. x 17 5/8 in. x 1 in.)

It is signed

Signed on the mount in pen and black ink, lower right: Moitte sculpteur 1785.

Cite this object as

Drawing, Panel of Arabesques for the Hôtel de Salm, Paris, 1785; Designed by Jean-Guillaume Moitte (French, 1746–1810); France; pen and black ink, brush and gouache, black chalk on toned paper, lined; 43 x 10.1cm (16 15/16 x 4in.) Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 in.) Mount: 46.8 x 13.8 cm (18 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.) Frame: 60.3 x 44.8 x 2.5 cm (23 3/4 in. x 17 5/8 in. x 1 in.); Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council; 1911-28-219

In addition to Hewitt Sisters Collect, this object was previously on display as part of the exhibition The Cooper-Hewitt Collections: A Design Resource.

This object has no known Copyright restrictions.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18170501/ |title=Drawing, Panel of Arabesques for the Hôtel de Salm, Paris, 1785 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 May 2016 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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