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Work Pair of "Bachelier vases with high handles"

Department of Decorative Arts: 18th century: neoclassicism

Paire de vases « Bachelier à anses élevées »

© Musée du Louvre / Objets d'Art

Decorative Arts
18th century: neoclassicism

Author(s):
Muriel Barbier

This pair of vases known as "Bachelier vases with high handles" is the work of the painter Jean-Jacques Bachelier (1724-1806), active at Vincennes-Sèvres from 1748 to 1793. Bachelier produced several innovative forms in the years 1765 to 1770. His models stand out for their pure lines and their sober decoration as in the pair of vases at the Louvre, which are enameled with a 'beau bleu' ground. These pieces reveal the role played by Bachelier in the introduction of neoclassicism.

Jean-Jacques Bachelier and the influence of neoclassicism at Sèvres

Several forms are named after the painter Jean-Jacques Bachelier (1724-1806). Originally a painter of flowers, he is believed to have joined the Vincennes manufactory in 1748. He had a long career at Vincenne-Sèvres, retiring only in 1793. His task at first was to provide designs for the painters. Later, he came to be interested in forms and modeling. In 1765, he began to produce models for vases, including the "Bachelier vase with high handles". This period of Bachelier's activity, spanning from 1765 to the appointment of Boizot at the head of the modeling workshop, is important in the Sèvres production since this is when he introduced the first forms inspired from Greco-Roman Antiquity.

A new form: the "Bachelier vase with high handles"

This vase form was created by Bachelier in 1765 and named after him. As of 1768 the form came in three sizes. It is a vase with a long, almost tube-like body, typical of the models designed by the painter. The vessels are mounted on a small base in the shape of a parallelepiped. They are composed of a tiny pedestal, a fluted bottom, a long body divided up into bands, and a lid topped with a pine cone finial. Scrolls, ending in acanthus leaves, form the handles. This pair of vases is of a monumental size. The Musée du Louvre, however, owns another pair in the same style but in a smaller size and dating from 1769.

Sumptuous decoration

This novel form is decorated with a new type of blue ground, a color in use at Sèvres only since 1763 and enhanced here with white and gold motifs. The repertoire of ornaments is typical of neoclassicism: the bottom is adorned with fluting, the lower part is circled with a running scroll and the upper part of the belly with a frieze of scrolling foliage and gilt fleurons. As for the lid, it is decorated with imitation fluting in gold. Despite the splendor of their form and decoration, the identity of the vases' recipient is not known.

Bibliography

"Un défi au goût", catalogue de l'exposition, Paris, musée du Louvre, 1997, p 97.
"Nouvelles Acquisitions du département des Objets d'art 1990-1994", catalogue de l'exposition, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1995, pp 198-199.

Technical description

  • Manufacture de Sèvres

    Paire de vases « Bachelier à anses élevées »

    1767 (pied)

  • Porcelaine tendre ; bronze doré

    H. : 81,30 cm.

  • Provenance : baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild, et, par descendance, 6e comte de Rosebery; acquis en 1992 , 1992

    OA 11353, OA 11354

  • Decorative Arts

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Additional information about the work

Painted marks: two Ls intertwined around the letter-date "O" [1767]