Jean-Baptiste Chapuis, exceptional art boiseries

История буазери

History of boiserie

Not many people are worth to own true beauty. For 300 years the imagination of people has

been excited by the story which occurred in the most beautiful place on earth – the French

castle of Vaux Le Vicomte. Constructed by minister Nicolas Fouquet, the castle welcomed

visitors for the first time. Crown-bearing Louis XIV became the most welcome, dear visitor.

The magnificent holiday, the manager of which was La Fontaine, with murmur of hundreds

of fountains, the tables bursting with gold ware and performance of theatre of Moliere has

not impressed the Sun King. He looked at magnificent panels of boiserie, which were the

finest one could ever find in France and beyond its boundaries. In a day the minister was put

in prison, and boiseries were cut out and transported to Versailles. The most powerful has

taken hold of the piece of eternity.

For more than three hundred years boiserie staying unchanged through fashion whims has

been shaping internal furniture of the most expensive and known premises of the East and the

West. Origin of the word from French "bois" specifies distinctive feature of this sort of decorative

art – facing of walls with wood. However, boiserie is not simply wooden panel decorated with

paintings and graceful ornament. Contrary to, but more likely because of it, this word lives today

only as a mirage in that layer of a universe where the beauty still is an unattainable ideal, like

sweet deceit decorating even in the false imitation the life of people with limited possibilities.

Born by consciousness of the ancient Egyptian civilization which gave the mankind more secrets

than inventions, boiserie style has been sacrally apprehended by masters of France. The

alchemy of human soul is visible in each their masterpiece, such, for example, as a hall of a

private residence of Lauzun in Paris where precious panels display four virtues of an old family:

prudence, abstention, firmness and justice. Or in modern office of the minister of France where

panels are decorated with the image of severe Roman gods.

The improbable, deliberately complicated boiserie patterns, whether it be the strange plants

loved by the Russian nobility of the VIIIth century or battle scenes, characteristic for the

Napoleonic epoch, always were the samples of the highest art skill and fine taste of the

customer. Few masters reached art top – revival, alchemical transformation of wood. Therefore

each, even the small-sized boiserie panel went down in history and filled up catalogues of the

collectors greedily waiting for appearance of new lots at Sotheby's and Christie auctions.

The true art is immortal and invariable, as invariable are the people's conception of art. Boiserie

wooden panels continue to appear one after another in patrimonial lock castles, estates and

palaces of true connoisseurs of life, becoming property of the country of their owner. For those

who are capable to experience aura of the premise decorated with boiserie, the possession of

ancient panels becomes the real mania, a kind of obsession. So, standing in Maria Antoinette's

room in Versailles, inhaling abundance of the real royal beauty and its power, they stage space

of their own office – thoroughbred, giving sensation of omnipotence, with a patina of noble olden

time, hiding places for classified documents or weapon, massive furniture in tone to the panels

speckled by patterns.

The similar draws similar and the order of boiserie becomes the act of self-identification of really very special people. The thing is not only in taste and not so much in the prosperity exceeding the sum of ten million dollars of annual revenue. Such people are in special relations with. They can wait. They are ready to discuss the smallest details, to watch dozens of the most difficult operations which will be carried out on precious pieces of wood by the descendants of the medieval masters keeping patrimonial secrets of boiserie. They understand that several years is not a term for eternity in the space of which the masterpiece will be born. Century-old oaks from the royal garden, until recently affably rustling with branches to young Louis XIII, will fall on the earth and obedient to the XVIIIth century tool will find new, now eternal life. And two, three, four centuries later the descendants of the special person from the far-away Northern country will enjoy triumph of its immortality. One can't help yielding to boiserie magnetism – eternal clothes of a patrimonial nest, alchemy of wood.

© 2010 Jean-Baptiste Chapuis.

Ateliers Jean-Baptiste CHAPUIS Hinzal 56190 Muzillac France +33 2 97 41 49 57 ; +33 2 97 41 59 23 ;


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