Closeup of mounted porcelain

East Plus West: Chinese Porcelain in Rococo France

Sep. 19, 2020Jan. 25, 2021
Huntington Art Gallery, second floor

Arabella Huntington was one of the most significant art collectors of her time, and her taste influenced the shape of The Huntington's core art collection. She had a particular love for works from 18th-century France, and one area of keen interest was that of mounted Chinese porcelain whereby French craftspeople fitted imported Asian vases with elaborate framing elements in gilt-bronze, transforming them into hybrid objects that would aesthetically fit into the then fashionable Rococo interiors. "East Plus West" brings together several French mounted Asian porcelain pieces that Arabella collected, most of which were bequeathed to her son, who then gave them to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. The works are stunning examples of a type of artwork that often juxtaposes what might seem like improbable elements: Asian porcelain with subtly restrained elegance and French gilt bronze in wildly extravagant curvilinear forms. This is the first time that The Huntington and Legion of Honor pieces will have been displayed together.

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