See Louis XIV’s Royal Treasures From the Louvre at Legion of Honor SF


During his 72-year reign as King of France, Louis XIV instituted myriad political and social reforms that made him the father of the modern State. Louis—also well known for his vanity—was as serious about design, architecture and the arts as he was reform. After appointing a Supervisor of the Royal Furniture, he declared “There is nothing that indicates more clearly the magnificence of great princes than their superb palaces and their precious furniture,” and this was apparent in the opulent carved wood furniture gilded with gold and a cadre of other precious materials.

The San Francisco Fine Arts Museum at the Leigon of Honor is celebrating his obsession with design and art with Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette, an exhibition featuring an unparalleled collection of decorative arts from the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Louis XIV rolltop desk

Many of the objects in the exhibition have never been shown in the United States and much of them have never even left France.

A Louis XIV figure of Naiad

One of the greatest treasures of the Louvre, the Gemmes da la Couronne—Louis XIV’s personal collection of hard-stone vases mounted in gold and gemstones—is one of the most significant loans in this exhibition. Made of rare hard-stone—amethyst, agate, amber, jade, and rock crystal—and representing the highest technical achievement, many of these objects were displayed in rooms specifically designed to receive them in the royal apartments at Versailles.

Even his coffee grinders were lavishly adorned.

This is a unique opportunity for American Louis XIV design fanatics and Francophiles alike to get an up-close look at what made his reign the zenith of the French aesthetic.

The exhibition opens November 17, 2012 and runs through March 17. Opening day festivities include family galleries, and all-French program by City Opera SF, and a special exhibition lecture by Marc Bascou, the Curator of European Decorative arts at the Louvre.

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