Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fire screen (écran)

Georges Jacob (French, 1739–1814)
Fabric panel in the style of Philippe de Lasalle (French, 1723–1804)
ca. 1786
French, Paris
Carved, gilded and silvered beech; 18th-century silk brocade (not original to frame)
H. 42 x W. 26-3/4 x D. 16-1/4 in. (106.7 x 67.9 x 41.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1971
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 527
On a visit to the royal palace of Fontainebleau on September 14, 1787, Arthur Young described Marie-Antoinette’s then recently redecorated boudoir as a delicious little room with exquisite painting, observing that “nothing can exceed the extremity of ornament that is here with taste bestowed.”[1] Designed by the architect Pierre Rousseau (1751–1829 ), the queen’s boudoir at Fontainebleau is, indeed, a jewel box of a room. Its large mirrors alternate with shimmering mother-of-pearl-like boiserie painted by Michel-Hubert Bourgeois and his assistant Jacques-Louis-François Touzé with lighthearted arabesques and flowers. An important aspect of the interior decoration was the matching seat furniture supplied by Georges Jacob and clearly intended to harmonize with the gold and silver tones of the decor. This screen’s gilded frame incorporates silvered highlights, now much worn, such as the wisps of ivy trailing around the uprights shaped like burning torches. The overall unity in the design of the room and its furnishings was also expressed through the subtle repetition of certain decorative motifs. The cupid’s bow and wreath of roses, symbols of love, carved on top of the fire screen, for instance, recur in gilt bronze on the mantelpiece, where they are combined with ivy. The motif of a string of pearls pulled through a spiraling ribbon is used not only to embellish the screen but to frame the wall paneling of the room as well.

[Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, 2010]

[1] Young 1792, pp. 55–56.
Signature: Stamped beneath the lower rail in the center: G. IACOB

Marking: Stamped beneath the lower rail, twice to the left and once to the right of maker's stamp: CHATEAU/ DE ST CLOUD [large]; Stamped beneath the lower rail, once to the right of maker's stamp: CHATEAU/ DE ST CLOUD [small] (Marks of the Château de Saint-Cloud used during the nineteenth century)
Château de Fontainebleau ; Château de Saint-Cloud, Seine-et-Oise, France ; Marie Antoinette, Queen of France , Palais de Fontainebleau and Château de Saint-Cloud , Seine-et-Oise, France; Paul Dutasta (until 1926; sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 3–4, 1926, lot 113); Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman , New York (until 1971; to MMA)
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