Aubusson Tapestry
Six centuries of luxury and creation

The "millefleurs", 15th c., Cité de la tapisserie, Aubusson
The "millefleurs", 15th c., Cité de la tapisserie, Aubusson

For almost six centuries, Aubusson Tapestry is synonymous of luxury and excellent expertise.

In September, 2009 it was added to the prestigious list of the "Immaterial Cultural heritage of Humanity of UNESCO " although both its national and international aura, had not waited for this classification.

Benefiting from the protection of the French Workshops under François 1st, it was promoted to Royal Factory in 17th century under Colbert, like the Gobelins Tapestries. Becoming independent again after the Revolution, the Aubusson and Felletin workshops always maintained a recognized production. State orders becoming scarce, their production turned to furniture and carpets, before again, during the 20th century, this ancestral art was reborn from its ashes thanks to its creative strength. 

Greenery and giraffe, c. 1600, Hospices Civils de Lyon Museum
Greenery and giraffe, c. 1600, Hospices Civils de Lyon Museum
 Children's Games: Dance, Maingonnat workshop, 1720, Petit Palais, Paris
Children's Games: Dance, Maingonnat workshop, 1720, Petit Palais, Paris

Mythological scenes of "verdures" (greeneries) appreciated all round the world, creators of cartons and master weavers of Aubusson have always been inspired by the artists of their time: Jean-Baptiste Ourdy, François Boucher, Watteau, Charles Le Brun, etc. Also, as from the Second World War, artists such as Marcel Gromaire settle there. Afterwards, Jean Lurçat, frees woven subjects from tradition and creates original models in close collaboration with master weavers. Works are exhibited, Aubusson abandons a production on order and distances itself again from the Gobelin Tapestries.

Finding its sources of inspiration in the "present", the number of projects woven from great artists of the 20th century increased: Braque, Calder, Cocteau, Picasso, Rouault, Le Corbusier, Léger, Prassinos, Soulages, and more recently Garouste, Man Ray or even Tolkien, etc.

Tapestry c. 1786 from a carton of J.B. Huet, Grobet-Labadié Museum, Marseille
Tapestry c. 1786 from a carton of J.B. Huet, Grobet-Labadié Museum, Marseille
Fine greenery with the arms of Count Brühl, 18th c., Cité internationale de la tapisserie Aubusson
Fine greenery with the arms of Count Brühl, 18th c., Cité internationale de la tapisserie Aubusson

Post-war, Jacques Lagrange and Wogensky give in their turn their nobility to the art of the cartons by creating "The Association of the artists, creators of cartons" whose names as famous complete artists are too mant to count: Dom Robert, Jacques Fadat, Daniel Riberzani, Michel Tourlière, Jean-René Sautour gaillard, etc.

Miles Davis, Bernard Rancillac, R. Picaud workshop
Miles Davis, Bernard Rancillac, R. Picaud workshop

From ancestral heritage to contemporary creation, the artists of Aubusson count, even today, a dozen workshops grouping several dozen master weavers, but also of creators of cartons, and dyers, fulfilling orders from the State of creation but also of restoration (site of Marie-Antoinette's Big Trianon). Internationally, there are still programmes of creation or acquisition by most prestigious organizations worldwide, as recently the Sydney Opera has acquired gigantic tapestries by Corbusier.

Pursuing the history, several hundreds of years-old, of one of the most ancient traditions of decorative arts, Aubusson tapestry never ceases to renew its search for contemporary talents and their reflections on new expressions of woven art.

Shadows, Man Ray (detail)
Shadows, Man Ray (detail)