Questions of style and interior design

Thursday, November 10, 2022, from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.,
at the Auditorium of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD)

Recreated interiors have not been limited to the opera and cinema, or museums with wax figures. They have also been used to explain lifestyles during a given period, in castles and monuments, and to illustrate a history of forms in museums, relying on the notion of styles through a range of objects.

ln private interiors, people have sought to harmonise settings, sometimes including contemporary objects, or recreating the spirit of the past more precisely. Such reconstitutions have been used in recent exhibitions, even in France where museums have long been reticent about the practice of creating period rooms. 

This study day, which takes advantage of the physical proxi­mity between Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale with the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, will examine these reconstitutions from different points of view, bringing into play collecting and museum practices, material culture, intellectual discourse, and social habitus. 

This meeting has been organized by Olivier Bonfait and Bénédicte Gady underthe aegis of the Comité Français d’Histoire de l’Art (CFHA) in partnership with Fine Art Paris & La Biennale and the MAD. 

Read the entire program


MAD: Salon du bois : Georges Hœntschel (1855-1915)- Paris, 1900 © MAD, Paris / photo : Philippe Chancel

Musée des Arts Décoratifs,  Salon du bois : Georges Hœntschel (1855-1915) – Paris, 1900
Platane d’Algérie, verre, laiton ; tenture en soie dessinée par Adrien Karbowsky (1855-1945) et réalisée par la maison Le Borgne ; peinture L’Île heureuse d’Albert Besnard (1849-1934) – H. 7,12 ; L. 14,3 ; l. 6 m – Achat, 1900 – Inv. 9403 A-G © MAD, Paris / photo : Philippe Chancel



9:00 am: Welcome by Bénédicte Gady (Musée des Arts décoratifs) and Bertrand Gautier

09:15 – 12:30 p.m.: Research News


Moderation: Audrey Gay-Mazuel (MAD) and Jérémie Cerman (Sorbonne University)

Geneviève Bresc-Bautier (Honorary Director of the Sculpture Department of the Louvre Museum):
Did Alexandre Lenoir invent the “period rooms”? The legend of the centuries at the Musée des monuments français.

Dr. Samuel Wittwer (Director of Castles and Collections, Prussian Foundation for Castles and Gardens Berlin-Brandenburg):
Sizing up history. The reconstructions of the interior decorations in the Prussian castles and the problem of the layers of time

Eléonore Dérisson (in charge of the collections of the Fondation des Artistes):
The Balzac Rotunda of the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild: mausoleum, pavilion or “period room” ?


Moderation: Anne Forray-Carlier (MAD) and Sophie Mouquin (University of Lille)

Daniele Galleni (Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale):
On the roads of the oceans: the decorations of the Atelier Coppedé for Italian liners

Juliette Trey (deputy director of the department of studies and research of the INHA):
A museum for residence: the decorations of Adrien Karbowsky for the private mansion of Jacques Doucet (1906-1907)

Nino Barattini (Paris-Sorbonne University):
Interior views and bourgeois elites in the XX” century: a milestone for the study of styles in interior decoration




3 p.m. – Lecture by Olivier Gabet (director of the Objets d’art department of the Louvre Museum):
Recreating the spirit of an era, between fidelity and freedom: interior design. period room, museums

4:00-5:00 p.m. – Discussion moderated by Cécilia Hurley Griener (École du Louvre) with Olivier Gabet (Musée du Louvre), Enguerrand Lascols (Mucem), Pascale Martinez (École du Louvre), Beatrice Quette (MAD):
Period rooms: history, styles, material culture



Watteau’s universe
Network(s) and influence(s) around Antoine Watteau


In honor of Geneviève Bresc-Bautier
From the palace to the garden, from de studio to the amateur’s office: Sculptors and sculptures from the 16th to the 19th century

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