Los Angeles

“Aubusson Tapestries”

Dalzell Hat­field Galleries

The history of architec­turally oriented arts (tapestry, mosaics, mural painting) provides three overlap­ping alternates of organization and of spatial considerations: the heraldic banner; the repeated pattern of the frankly and joyously decorative interpretation of a scene or subject; and the least noteworthy Hellenistic phase, the illu­sionistic rendering of a painter’s touch. Thus, while Sicard’s rendered skyscrap­er wins only sympathy for the skilled weaver’s dedication at reproducing brushstrokes of broken analogous tones, Leger’s Constructeurs, because of the master’s two-dimensional simplification of elements, seems a more natural ap­proach to the medium. (Though, no doubt, one would rather view the origi­nal.) As another approach to illusion, Arould’s treatment of Chenonceaux as a thoughtful semi-Cubist facade dis­penses with perspective completely but achieves relief by means of value modu­lation.

The others, Fumeron, Henry, Perrot, and Saint-Saens deal with harmless ab­stractions drawn from the animal king­dom. They must however be measured against the leading influence behind the Aubusson loom revival, Jean Lurcat. His designs are unmistakable trade­marks; flamelike stylizations isolated on a rich ground, broken by unending trans­parencies, bits of blended rainbows, and reversals of positive and negative. Sam­ples from a series of signs of the zodiac as Les Gemeaux and the banquet Nape Rouge show Lurcat at his best. But by virtue of its formality and lu­minous use of color, Jean Picart le Doux’s Le Soleil Masque outshines them all.

––Fidel A. Danieli