Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions

Exhibition Website

Nov 19 2016 - Feb 12 2017

Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions will be the first large-scale exhibition to survey the magnificent range of projects undertaken by the French architect and interior designer from the end of the eighteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Although well known for his close collaboration with Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853), this exhibition focuses primarily on the individual accomplishments of Charles Percier (1764–1838), whose commissions for public and private clients significantly influenced decorative arts and architecture during an extremely turbulent and rapidly changing period in French history.

Featuring over 130 objects from principal museums and cultural institutions in France and the United States, as well as key objects from private collections, the exhibition will include Percier’s designs for furniture, porcelain, metalwork, and the renovation of the rue de Rivoli—the construction of which transformed the center of Paris. Rare drawings and spectacular examples of early nineteenth-century cabinets, candelabras, and tureens will also be displayed. Examining his most seminal works, such as sketches for the arc du Carrousel, the interior designs for Josephine Bonaparte’s rooms at the Tuileries palace, and the magnificent books dedicated to Roman palaces and interior decoration, the exhibition will demonstrate the diverse and extraordinary creations of an artist whose work brilliantly bridged ancien régime court culture and the industrial production of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Curated by Jean-Philippe Garric, professor of history of architecture at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne and organized by Bard Graduate Center Gallery, the Réunion des Musées Nationaux—Grand Palais, and the château de Fontainebleau. 

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether or not you go, Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions surveys the magnificent spectrum of projects undertaken by French architect and interior designer Charles Percier. After gaining an illustrious reputation for supervising the scenery at the Paris Opéra during the French Revolution, Percier was later appointed by Napoleon Bonaparte. With the Emperor’s support, he developed the opulent versions of neoclassicism closely associated with the Napoleonic era, and now known as Directoire style and Empire style. 

Percier worked on the renovation or redecoration of many of France’s royal palaces, including the Louvre, the Tuileries, and the chateaux of Malmaison, Saint-Cloud, and Fontainebleau. The full scope and variety of Percier’s design projects are revealed in this richly-illustrated book, which also includes archival material detailing Percier’s relationships with patrons and peers.

Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions

  • Decorative Arts
  • European
  • Design
  • Charles Percier

Exhibition Venues & Dates