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The decorative arts

Interior decoration, decorative furniture ..
The decorative arts are arts or crafts concerned with the design and manufacture of beautiful objects that are also functional. It includes interior design, but not usually architecture. The decorative arts are often categorized in opposition to the “fine arts”, namely, painting, drawing, photography, and large-scale sculpture, which generally have no function other than to be seen.
The distinction between the decorative and the fine arts has essentially arisen from the post-Renaissance art of the West, where the distinction is for the most part meaningful. This distinction is much less meaningful when considering the art of other cultures and periods, where the most highly regarded works – or even all works – include those in decorative media. For example, Islamic art in many periods and places consists entirely of the decorative arts, as does the art of many traditional cultures. The distinction between decorative and fine arts is not very useful for appreciating Chinese art, and neither is it for understanding Early Medieval art in Europe. In that period in Europe, fine arts such as manuscript illumination and monumental sculpture existed, but the most prestigious works tended to be in goldsmith work, in cast metals such as bronze, or in other techniques such as ivory carving. Large-scale wall-paintings were much less regarded, crudely executed, and rarely mentioned in contemporary sources. They were probably seen as an inferior substitute for mosaic, which for this period must be viewed as a fine art, though in recent centuries mosaics have tended to be seen as decorative. The term “ars sacra” (“sacred arts”) is sometimes used for medieval Christian art done in metal, ivory, textiles, and other high-value materials but not for rarer secular works from that period.



Expert assessments of the work of Diego Giacometti

One year younger than Alberto, Diego Giacometti distinguished himself by producing bronze furniture animated by figurines. His work, while in the same movement as that of his brother, is completely independent. From the 1950s, using potter’s clay, plaster or bronze, he gave life to a bestiary marked by poetic naivety, the humour of which, in the poses adopted by the small animals, in no manner neglected the elegance of the forms. Overloaded with work, Diego Giacometti did not keep any written registers, orally managing the numerous orders placed with him […]

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Improper conservation, restorations and alterations of furniture

The restoration of furniture as understood today is different to that practised in the previous century and even more different to that of the preceding centuries. Through a brief history, the author retraces the evolution in mentalities, its causes and consequences. La revue Experts n° 56 – 09/2002 © Revue Experts   The restoration of works of art has considerably changed over the second half of the 20th century. In relation to furniture, the subject of discussion in this article, the current rules help both the expert and the court […]

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The value of stamped furniture

Using three specific examples, the author retraces the history of stamps, including their counterfeits and detection. We also discover the Jasmin stamps, a commode by Bernard van Risen Burgh that is unfortunately in the United States and another Riesener that was able to be brought back from London to Versailles. La revue Experts n° 55 – 06/2002 © Revue Experts   Article 36 of the ‘new’ Community of Joiners and Cabinetmakers Law of 1743, in force only in 1751, provided that “each master cabinetmaker will be required to have his […]

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Counterfeits of the works of Diego Giacometti

The author reexamines the famous proceedings that principally related to counterfeits of the works of Diego Giacometti brought in the Besançon Court of Appeal in November 1998 and the still current repercussions of the case. Article de la Revue Experts n° 71, juin 2006 © Revue Experts On 15 July 1985, Diego Giacometti died of a cerebral embolism. Three days before, he had had a success cataract operation performed in Neuilly-sur-Seine that should have enabled him to again appreciate the details that make the difference between what is ordinary, what […]

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