Thursday, January 21, 2010

papiers de tapisserie

For the householders of modest requirements, there was a great need for some kind of mitigating wall coverings. Labour-intensive and costly fabric hangings were impractical. An atmosphere that was warm and livable, inexpensive yet decorative was fulfilled by paper.

The oldest fragments of European wallpaper were produced as small single sheets. There is no verifiable origin. The first appearances trace to Germany, Northern Italy, and the Netherlands, where graphic arts were most prominent. Wood-grain ceiling papers date through the 16th century as well as marbled paper. In 1481, Louis XI made purchase of 50 'grand rouleaux" paper blue. Richard III passed statute in 1483 that prohibited the importation of cheap foreign manufactured goods including 'painted paper'. In 1688 a popular shop at the sign of the Butterfly was 'dominotier' Jean Papillon, creator of 'papiers de tapisserie' or dominoes, repeated designs across multiple sheets using woodblock and stencil techniques.

Notable artists that have produced wallpapers include: Raoul Dufy, Koloman Moser, Alphonse Mucha, William Morris, Marie Laurencin, Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Will Owen, and Andy Warhol. Thomas Couture's masterpiece "Les Prodigues" is one of my favorites.

I enjoy the influence of wallpaper in my research for it's varied uses of panoramic scenes, repeated patterns, border friezes, and remarkable use of the "Grammar of Ornament".

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