This massive panoramic (11 feet long) that features a wonderful park scene in Italy, was created by the renowned French wallpaper designer, Joseph Dufour.
Dufour was born in 1754 in Tramayes, a commune in eastern France. After attending a national art school in Lyon, France, Dufour began working at a wallpaper factory. In 1797, Dufour opened his own wallpaper company, called Joseph Dufour et Cie, in Macon, France, with his brother and future brother-in-law. It was under this new company that Dufour started to gain recognition as a master wallpaper producer. The company’s panoramic, Les Sauvages de la mer du Pacifique (“Savages of the Pacific Sea”), which detailed the voyage of Captain Cook, was exhibited in 1804 at the Louvre and was deemed an immediate success. Within the next year, Dufour and his main designer, Jean-Gabriel Charvet, had created the panoramic seen here.
Our wallpaper is titled Paysage romain or Plaisirs de la ville et de la campagne (“Roman Countryside” or “Pleasures of the City and the Countryside”). The scene is full of life and bustling with activity in every corner. The center of the scene is a lake, surrounded by tall trees in the foreground, and classic Italian buildings in the background, and on the hill to the right. In the front of the lake, is a group of people socializing and playing instruments, while another group goes for a swim. A fish merchant shows her catch to a couple of ladies, and dogs play in the shrubs. Far in the back, to the left, we see groups of people in the forest, and nearby, a horse pulled carriage arrives from a long journey. Everywhere you look, some detail catches your eye.
Large wallpapers such as this one were created using a series of many wood carved blocks. The technique is referred to as woodblock printing. The blocks were painstakingly carved in relief and then applied with paints to be pressed onto the paper. Smaller sheets were connected to form entire landscapes. Historical wallpapers by Dufour are rare. Surviving examples can be found in dozens of museums, all over the world.
The Centre de documentation Joseph DUFOUR in France, has estimated the production date at 1805, just after his time spent in Macon. It recently hung in a bank in Grand Cayman, before being sent to Italy, where we acquired it. Today, this fantastic grisaille woodblock printed wallpaper will make quite a statement on any large wall.
This remarkable antique panoramic wallpaper from France can be considered a grisaille painting, in that it has been executed in mostly monochromatic shades of gray. It also has some pale yellow, tan, and other light pastel shades of color interspersed throughout. The painted paper sheets have been applied to a canvas, and it is framed in a contemporary and complimentary pale yellow frame with light gray borders.
CONDITION: Good overall condition with minor touch ups throughout. Some minor areas of wear, chipping and crack to paint as seen in photos.