François de Cuvilliés


François de Cuvilliés

François de Cuvilliés (23 October, 1695, Soignies, Hainaut14 April 1768, Munich) was a Belgian-born Bavarian decorative designer and architect who was instrumental in bringing the Rococo style to the Wittelsbach court at Munich and to Central Europe in general.

Cuvilliés was so diminutive in stature that it was as a court dwarf he first came to the notice of the currently exiled Max Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, [Probably when the Elector visited Mons. Preston Remington, "Doors after the Designs of François de Cuvilliés" "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin" 22.2 (December 1927, pp. 292-294) p.291. Two pairs of painted and gilded doors from the Benedictine abbey of Heilige Kreuz, near Donauwörth, Bavaria, are in the museum's collection.] who detected the young dwarf's aptitude and had him tutored in mathematics, then underwrote his further education with Joseph Effner and sent him to Paris, 1720-24, where he trained in the atelier of Jean-François Blondel, [Blondel was the uncle of Jacques-François Blondel, the great architectural teacher of the neoclassicists and enemy of the rococo, discussed by Freek H. Schmidt, "Expose Ignorance and Revive the "Bon Goût": Foreign Architects at Jacques-François Blondel's École des Arts" "The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians" 61.1 (March 2002), pp. 4-29.] On his return to Munich he was appointed court architect, at first in conjunction with Effner.

At the Elector's death in 1726, for a time Cuvilliés worked at Schloss Brühl for the new Elector's brother, Clemens August of Bavaria. He provided designs for the chapel at Brūhl, (1730-40) and the hunting lodge Falkenlust (1729-40) but as Charles Albert's interests shifted to Munich, he also returned to Munich. There his fame was established by the decors of the Reiche Zimmer in the Munich Residenz, which had been damaged by a fire, 14 December 1729. The contents of the "Schatzkammer" fortunately had been spared, and Cuvilliés was commissioned to design the panelling of a new interior, to be executed by the court's premier carver Joachim Dietrich. [Today it is the "Porzellankabinett".] with four rococo gilded console tables on scrolling legs with playful dragons [Afra Schick, "François Cuvilliés and Joachim Dietrich: The Furnishing of the Treasury in the Munich Residenz", "The Burlington Magazine" 138 No. 1119 (June 1996) pp. 393-395.]

His masterpiece is the Amalienburg in the park at Nymphenburg, built 1734-39, with silvered or gilded naturalist Rococo decorations set off by coloured grounds. As the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica commented, "his style, while essentially thin, is often painfully elaborate and bizarre. He designed mirrors and consoles, balustrades for staircases, ceilings and fireplaces, and in furniture, beds and commodes especially".

The Residenztheater, or "Cuvilliés Theatre" (1751-1755) designed and constructed for Elector Max III Joseph by Cuvilliées; though the theatre was bombed during World War II, the carved and gilded boxes had been dismantled and stored for security. Afterwards the Residenztheatre was meticulously recreated in the 1950s.

He wrote several treatises on artistic and decorative subjects, which were edited by his son, François de Cuvilliés the Younger, who succeeded his father at the court of Munich. From 1738 he embarked on his life-long series of suites of engravings of wall-panelling, cornices, furniture and wrought-iron work, which were then published in Munich and distributed in Paris and doubtless elsewhere; [1738, 1745, 1756.] theyserved to disseminate the Rococo throughout Europe.

Chief works

*Palace in Brühl (1728 bis 1740)
*Palais Piosaque de Non (1729; destroyed) in Munich
*Wilhelmsthal Palace (1744) in Kassel
*Upgrading of the Munich Residence (1730-1737), including construction of the Cuvilliés Theatre (1750-1753)
*Palais Holnstein in Munich (1733-1737)
*Amalienburg in the park of Nymphenburg Palace (1734-1739)
*Facade of the Theatiner Church (1768)

Notes

References

* [http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artMakerDetails?maker=993&page=1 (Getty Museum) François de Cuvilliés] : the Getty Museum has a pair of white and gilded commodes with carved decoration, attributed to Cuvilliés.


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  • François de Cuvilliés — Château de Tuernich. François de Cuvilliés (23 octobre 1695, Soignies 14 avril 1768, Munich) est un architecte allemand né en Belgique. Il est reconnu comme l un des maîtres du rococo bavarois. Son style très ornemantal et riche en motifs …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • François de Cuvilliés — (Soignies, Henao, 23 de octibre de 1695 Munich, 14 de abril de 1768) fue un arquitecto alemán nacido en Francia. Reconocido como uno de los maestros del rococó bárbaro. Su estilo ornamental y rico en motivos vegetales, se difundió por gran parte… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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