It was during the reign of the The Sun King, Louis XIV of France (1643 to 1715), that the art of tapestry weaving in France blossomed. As patron, heir, and collector, Louis XIV vastly augmented the prestigious French royal collection of tapestries and formed the greatest collection in early modern Europe.
Three hundred years after his death, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles will showcase 15 monumental tapestries from the French royal collection during the reign of Louis XIV.
Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV is the first major museum exhibition of tapestries in the Western United States in four decades. Highlighting 15 larger-than-life tapestries (11 of which have never before been exhibited in the United States), this exhibit also demonstrates why tapestries were the ultimate symbolic expression of power. “Tapestries conveyed a prince’s status, wealth, erudition, asthetic sophistication, and patronage,” explains the Getty’s curator of sculpture and decorative arts, Charissa Bremer-David. “Woven Gold celebrates the extraordinary legacy of the French royal collection in the tercentenary of Louis XIV’S death (1715-2015).”
At the Getty, preparatory drawings, related prints and a life-sized cartoon (oil), will accompany the immense hangings. The tapestries in the exhibition are conceived upon works of art by Raphael, Rubens, Charles Le Brun and others. They come from the most notable workshops in Europe, including the Gobelins, which rose to prominence under Louis XIV’s patronage. Several of the best-preserved and most famous examples of Gobelins weaving will be on view.
“Thanks to unprecedented loans from the Mobilier National in Paris, the largest modern-day repository of Louis XIV’s holdings, Woven Goldoffers a dazzling showcase of the art of tapestry design at the height of its technical and artistic achievement under France’s Sun King,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Also on view at the Getty, a second exhibition, Louis XIV at the Getty, running until July 31, 2016, highlights a variety of extraordinary pieces in the Getty’s permanent collection made during Louis’ lifetime when France became the leading producer of luxury arts in Europe.
Woven Gold runs through May 1, 2016. The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California. Opening Hours: Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is $15 per car. No reservation is required. Additional information is available at www.getty.edu.
Barbara Gerber is the France Today Ambassador for Los Angeles