L'Art de Vivre: Decorative Arts and Design in France, 1789-1989

Yvonne Brunhammer, Author, David R. McFadden, Author, Nancy Aakre, Editor Rizzoli International Publications $60 (255p) ISBN 978-0-86565-976-6
Based on a current exhibit at Manhattan's Cooper-Hewitt Museum, this generously illustrated volume collects eight essays by European and American curators and art historians on French design of the past two centuries, from the emergence of the dining room (earliest records date the French version to 1694) to haute couture from the 1988 Paris collection of Christian Lacroix. We learn of late 19th-century French designs for chairs (fringed, cushioned and curvaceous) and beds (flowing with canopies); 19th- and 20th-century jewelry, including a dragonfly brooch of gold, enamel and diamonds; and the latest in black and red minimalist traveling irons, along with predictably splendid artifacts of Napoleonic vintage. Commentary, though written by scholars, is accessible and engaging. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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