Symposia and Study Days

Call for papers: “The history of the Garde-Meuble in Europe (16th-21th centuries). Between administration, ceremonial and aesthetics”

Paris, October 2019 (2 days)

As part of the research programme “The Garde-Meubles of Europe”, the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles and the Centro studi del Consorzio delle residenze reali sabaude (Turin) are organising an international symposium. Scheduled for October 2019, this symposium will be held in Paris for two days.

The history of the Garde-Meuble or “great wardrobes” in Europe remains to be written. While such institutions appear to have stood at the very heart of artistic and ceremonial life associated with the power of a court or government, they remain nonetheless little understood. They can be studied as purely administrative institutions as well as centres of operation of specific individuals (administrators, restorers, craftsmen, artists), working to furnish the houses of heads of states. The history of some of these intuitions, the roles of which vary from decorative furnishing, creation, maintenance, storage and conservation, sometimes dates back to the Middle Ages. Every period and every country chose different organisational structures, but all were designed to serve their political leaders, thus creating furnishing appropriate for each regime and ceremonial etiquette.
The research programme “The Garde-Meubles of Europe”, initiated by the Mobilier national in 2013, organises an international symposium in October 2019, in partnership with Centre de recherche du château de Versailles and the Centro Studi del Consorzio delle Residenze Reali Sabaude of Turin. The purpose of the symposium is to make an inventory of those institutions that are still full active today, and to establish research goal research goals for topics relating to the history of these institutions. The meeting thus offers to discuss various avenues of study over a vast chronological spectrum (the 16th to the 21st centuries) and a very broad geographical territory (Western and Central Europe, and Russia) in order to understand better the interconnections and the cultural transfer between these institutions, their different administrative practices, artistic exchanges, the creation of workshops and manufactories.
The Garde-Meuble is central to the aesthetics of representations of power and to (court) ceremonial, as it is responsible for the decoration of places of power. Furthermore, it allows artists and craftsmen to carry on activities and display their abilities.

Three themes

The conference will focus on three main subjects:

I. The Garde-Meuble Today: Contemporary Institutions and Ceremonial
Presentation of the contemporary Garde-Meuble, country by country, as well their administrative structure and their field of intervention. One or more aspects of the current ceremonial will also have to be taken into account.

II. The missions of the Garde-Meuble at European courts: ceremonial, spaces of power and aesthetics
This part will be dedicated to two aspects of the Garde-Meuble in history:

  • The use of furniture in matters of court ceremonial and etiquette. Ordinary or extraordinary ceremonial making use of different types of furniture. In addition, depending on the rank of the user (head of state, prince, courtier, ambassador or invited monarch), the furniture is not used in the same way, in its form or function.
  • The aesthetics of the decorative and the uses of the distribution of objects in the architectures. The use of the furniture is different according to the concerns of public or private representation of the rulers. This difference then reveals a more or less asserted aesthetic that places the decorative art beyond the simple question of decoration, but also becomes a tool of communication / political propaganda.

III. Institutional figures and creators: men in the service of power
In this part will be addressed the question of the key figures of the Garde-Meuble, as well the institutional personnel (administrative, artists, sponsors) as the craftsmen or the factories in the service of these institutions. These craftsmen can belong to workshops outside the Garde-Meuble or be integrated into the workshops and / or manufactures of the Garde-Meuble.

To participate

Proposals for papers (2,000 characters maximum + curriculum vitae) must be sent before 28 February 2019 to Marc Bayard.

They will be examined by the Selection Committee composed of the following persons:
>  Marc Bayard (Mobilier national, Paris),
>  Enrico Colle (Museo Stibbert, Florence),
>  Paolo Cornaglia (Politecnico di Torino),
>  Mathieu da Vinha (Centre de Recherche du Château deVersailles, Versailles),
>  Jörg Ebeling (Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris),
>  Andrea Merlotti (Centro studi del Consorzio delle residenze reali sabaude, Turin),
>  Catharina Scheich (Hofmobiliendepot Möbel Museum Wien, Vienne).

Scientific Committe :

Henriette Graf (Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam), Catharina Scheich (Hofmobiliendepot Möbel Museum Wien, Vienne), Hervé Lemoine (Mobilier national), Marc Bayard (Mobilier national), Thierry Sarmant (Mobilier national), Jean-Jacques Gautier (Mobilier national), Morwena Joly-Parvex (Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Paris), Stéphane Casteluccio (CNRS, Paris), Mathieu da Vinha (Centre de recherche du château de Versailles), Thomas Kirchner (Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris), Jörg Ebeling (Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris), Enrico Colle (Museo Stibbert, Florence), Andrea Merlotti (Centro studi del Consorzio delle residenze reali sabaude, Turin), Paolo Cornaglia (Politecnico de Turin et Centro studi del Consorzio delle residenze reali sabaude, Turin), Letizia Tedeschi (Archivio del Moderno, Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana, Mendrisio).

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