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What is this?

A shell-work fountain on a mound of rockwork in the foreground, with two monkeys at the left. In the background, a temple portico houses another fountain, with vase and pyramid beside it.

Why is this in our collection?

This engraving, a screen design by great artist François Boucher, is iconic for its inclusion of the French word rocaille. In the eighteenth century, rocaille referred to the irregular rockwork that was used to embellish picturesque grottos and garden fountains but the word has since come to be synonymous with the Rococo as a style. The design exemplifies the fanciful profusion of flora and fauna characteristic of the period.Sinuous plant forms asymmetrically frame a fountain encrusted with shells. Below, two monkeys squabble beside a flowing pool of water. The entire composition evokes motion, tempting the viewer’s eye to travel continuously. There is the sensuous suggestion that one could hear the splashing of water and feel a breeze in the air. Boucher contributed four of the five screen designs published in the Nouveaux Morceaux pour des Paravents [New Concepts for Screens]. The engraver Claude-Augustin Duflos uses a masterful balance of expressive lines and hatched marks to achieve the scene’s tonal variation and sense of liveliness. Painted in bright polychrome, the design could be applied to a multi-paneled folding screen. Freestanding screens provided privacy and invited painted ornament, creating a perfect synthesis of fine and decorative arts.

This is a print from France. It is dated 1730s and we acquired it in 1931. Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.

This image is on display This object is currently on display in room 205 as part of Hewitt Sisters Collect.

Its medium is

etching, engraving on white paper

Its dimensions are

49.4 x 24.8 cm (19 7/16 x 9 3/4 in.) Frame: 60.3 x 44.8 x 2.5 cm (23 3/4 x 17 5/8 x 1 in.) Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 in.)

It is inscribed

Inscribed on plate, lower left: F. Boucher inv.; lower center: ROCAILLE; lower right: Cl. Duflos sculp.

This object was designed by François Boucher and engraved by Claude-Augustin Duflos

This object was donated by Eleanor Garnier Hewitt and Sarah Cooper Hewitt

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

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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= |title=Print, Rocaille (rococo design), in Nouveaux morceaux pour des paravents (New concepts for screens) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 July 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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