Charles de Wailly’s panels restored


15/3/08 — Restorations — Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs — Early last year, the Société du Salon du Dessin launched a fundraising drive to restore seven large decorative panels drawn in watercolors by Charles de Wailly. The size of the works (193 x 124 cm.), as well as the subject (a décor of busts of theatre writers surrounded by arabesques and putti enacting scenes from their plays) is more similar to cartoon tapestries than to drawings. Nonetheless, these are finished works which were to decorate the dressing room of Mademoiselle Contat, an actress of the Comédie Française. One of the panels which is a bit larger than the others has a slightly different iconography. It represents Molière, France’s most prestigious playwright, seated in his armchair. The busts on the rest of the drawings depict other theatre writers.

1. Charles de Wailly (1730-1798)
Project for the décor of Miss
Contat’s dressing room : Molière
, 1787, before restoration
AWatercolor,
pen, brown ink on
paper - 193 x 124 cm
Paris, Musée des Arts décoratifs.
Photo : Musée des
Arts décoratifs

1. Charles de Wailly (1730-1798)
Project for the décor of Miss
Contat’s dressing room : Molière
, 1787, after restoration
AWatercolor, pen,
brown ink on paper - 193 x 124 cm
Paris, Musée des Arts décoratifs.
Photo : Musée des
Arts décoratifs


Thanks to numerous donors as well as to the Amis des Arts Décoratifs, the needed funds were found and the works were restored. This consisted in treating the rings and the oxidation on the drawings by applying damp blotting paper and also treating the tears and other missing spots with Japanese vellum or laid paper. After being lined and placed on canvas, the panels were remounted on frames and covered with glass. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs will exhibit the seven drawings in its XVIIIth century rooms during the Salon du Dessin 2008 in April.

Version française


Didier Rykner, dimanche 16 mars 2008



imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : New acquisitions for the Sculpture Department at the Louvre

Next article in News Items : Two paintings by Cals acquired by French museums