Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court at The Frick Collection, November 16, 2016 – February 19, 2017

“Pierre Gouthière (1732–1813) was one of the greatest French artists of the eighteenth century. A master chaser-gilder, he created opulent objets d’art that were coveted by the wealthiest and most important figures of pre-revolutionary France, including Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Louis XV’s mistress Madame Du Barry, and the Duke of Aumont. Like a sculptor, he made his own models and had them cast in metal. Using dozens of specialized tools, he then created patterns and textures on the surface of the metal objects before gilding them. So exceptional was his talent that his work commanded amounts equal to, and sometimes greater than, those asked by the era’s most famous painters and sculptors. The Frick Collection presents the first exhibition devoted to Gouthière, a project that brings together twenty-one of his finest masterpieces, drawn from public and private collections across Europe and the United States. Many of these remarkable objects—from firedogs, wall lights, and doorknobs to elaborate mounts for rare Chinese porcelain and precious hardstone vases—have never before been shown publicly in New York, and their assembly in an exhibition will provide the basis for a fresh understanding of his oeuvre.” — The Frick Collection

Comments Vignon, “With this exhibition, some five years in the making, we hope the public will appreciate the creativity and craft behind the works created by Gouthière. The beauty and perfection he achieved is worthy of special focus, and we’ve sought to clarify what can be attributed with certainty to his oeuvre while illustrating for visitors the steps of his remarkable technique, now only preserved in the hands of a few craftsmen. Our joy in turning to this topic—which was inspired by a remarkable object in The Frick Collection—is that we hope to kindle further interest in the subject and in other artists who contributed to this remarkable artform.”

Gouthière Pierre (1732-1813). Paris, musée du Louvre. OA5178;OA5179.

Vase. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, green Greek porphyry possibly carved by Augustin Bocciardi or Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Delaplanche. After a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775−80. 15 × 15 × 11¾ inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

GouthiËre Pierre (1732-1813). Paris, musÈe du Louvre. OA5178;OA5179.

Vase (detail). Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, green Greek porphyry possibly carved by Augustin Bocciardi or Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Delaplanche. After a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775−80. 15 × 15 × 11¾ inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

GouthiËre Pierre (1732-1813) (attribuÈ ‡). Paris, musÈe du Louvre. OA5182.

Two pot-pourri vases. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, ca. 1770−75. Chinese hard-paste porcelain, eighteenth century. Each, 11 × 12⅝ × 7½ inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY

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Pair of incense burners. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775. Japanese Kakiemon hard-paste porcelain, eighteenth century, porphyry. 14 × 6 inches. Private collection; photo: Thomas Hennocque

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Incense burner (detail). Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775. Japanese Kakiemon hard-paste porcelain, eighteenth century, porphyry 14 × 6 inches. Private collection; photo: Thomas Hennocque

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One of a pair of vases. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, 1782. Eighteenth-century Chinese celadon hard-paste porcelain, porphyry. Each, 23 × 15 × 11⅞ inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: Joseph Godla

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One of a pair of vases (detail). Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, 1782. Eighteenth-century Chinese celadon hard-paste porcelain, porphyry. Each, 23 × 15 × 11⅞ inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: Joseph Godla

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Pair of candelabra. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, 1782. One hard-paste vase, Meissen factory, ca. 1720; the other, a later replacement. 17⅛ × 6⅞ × 6⅞ inches. The Frick Collection, New York, gift of Sidney R. Knafel, 2016; photo: Michael Bodycomb

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Candelabrum (detail). Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, 1782. Hard-paste porcelain. 17⅛ × 6⅞ × 6⅞ inches. The Frick Collection, New York, gift of Sidney R. Knafel, 2016; Photo: Michael Bodycomb

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One of a pair of vases. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, alabaster (probably eighteenth-century) probably carved by Augustin Bocciardi or Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Delaplanche, green marble. After a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1770−75. Each, 16⅛ × 16½ inches. Private collection; photo: Joseph Godla

GouthiËre Pierre (1732-1813). Paris, musÈe du Louvre. OA11995;OA11996.

Pair of wall lights. Gilt and patinated bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1780. 28 × 11⅜ × 22 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Art Resource, NY/ Martine-Beck Coppola

GouthiËre Pierre (1732-1813). Paris, musÈe du Louvre. OA11995;OA11996.

Wall light (detail). Gilt and patinated bronze by Pierre Gouthière after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1780. 28 × 11⅜ × 22 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Art Resource, NY/ Martine-Beck Coppola

Paris, musÈe du Louvre. OA5260.

Pair of firedogs. Pierre Gouthière, 1777. Gilt bronze and blued steel. 12¾ × 8⅞ × 4⅜ inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

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Knob for a French window. Pierre Gouthière after a design by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Gilt bronze, ca. 1770. Knob: 2 × 2¼ inches. Back plate: 2¾ × ⅜ inches. Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris; photo: © Th. Hennocque

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Knob for a French window (detail). Pierre Gouthière after a design by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, ca. 1770. Gilt bronze. 2 × 2¼ inches. Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris; photo: © Th. Hennocque

Gouthière Pierre (1732-1813). Paris, musée du Louvre. OA5178;OA5179.

Vase. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, green Greek porphyry, possibly carved by Augustin Bocciardi or Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Delaplanche. After a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775−80. 15 × 13⅜ × 11 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY

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Vase (detail). Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, green Greek porphyry, possibly carved by Augustin Bocciardi or Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Delaplanche. After a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775−80. 15 × 13⅜ × 11 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY

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Pair of ewers. Gilt bronze by Gouthière, ca. 1767−70. Porphyry and gilt bronze. Each, 10½ × 4⅞ × 3⅞ inches. Private collection; photo: Michael Bodycomb

GouthiËre Pierre (1732-1813). Paris, musÈe du Louvre. MR1077.

Capital for a porphyry column. Pierre Gouthière, probably after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger, ca. 1775−80. Gilt bronze. 9 7/16 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris; photo: RMN-Grand-Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Thierry Ollivier

Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin (1739 - 1811) Designs François-Joseph Belanger (1744 - 1818) Designs Pierre Gouthière (1732 - 1813) Bronzes Blue Marble Side Table with Neoclassical Mounts, 1781 bleu turquin marble and gilt bronze 37 1/2 in. x 81 1/8 in. (95.25 cm x 206.06 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest. Accession number: 1915.5.59

Side table. Bleu turquin marble supplied and carved by Jacques Adan. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger and Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, 1781. 37½ × 81⅛ × 27 inches. The Frick Collection, New York, photo: Michael Bodycomb

Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin (1739 - 1811) Designs François-Joseph Belanger (1744 - 1818) Designs Pierre Gouthière (1732 - 1813) Bronzes Blue Marble Side Table with Neoclassical Mounts, 1781 bleu turquin marble and gilt bronze 37 1/2 in. x 81 1/8 in. (95.25 cm x 206.06 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest. Accession number: 1915.5.59

Side table (detail). Bleu turquin marble supplied and carved by Jacques Adan. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger and Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, 1781. 37½ × 81⅛ × 27 inches. The Frick Collection, New York; photo: Michael Bodycomb

Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin (1739 - 1811) Designs François-Joseph Belanger (1744 - 1818) Designs Pierre Gouthière (1732 - 1813) Bronzes Blue Marble Side Table with Neoclassical Mounts, 1781 bleu turquin marble and gilt bronze 37 1/2 in. x 81 1/8 in. (95.25 cm x 206.06 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest. Accession number: 1915.5.59

Side table (detail). Bleu turquin marble supplied and carved by Jacques Adan. Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière, after a design by François-Joseph Bélanger and Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, 1781. 37½ × 81⅛ × 27 inches. The Frick Collection, New York; photo: Michael Bodycomb

Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court was organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection.

Following its presentation at the Frick, the exhibition will travel to Paris, where a version will be shown at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, March 15 – June 25, 2017.

Images courtesy The Frick Collection.