The J. Paul Getty Museum

Pair of Three-panel Screens (paravents)

Object Details


Pair of Three-panel Screens (paravents)


Savonnerie Manufactory (French, active 1627 - present)
After cartoons by Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay (French, 1653 - 1715)
and Alexandre-François Desportes (French, 1661 - 1743)




about 1714–1740


Wool and linen; cotton twill gimp; wooden interior frame; modern velvet lining

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Object Description

The Savonnerie workshops, the royal manufactory that provided carpets, screens, and covers for chairs and benches for the sole use of the French royal household, made this pair of three-panel screens of knotted woolen pile. Such screens were known as paravents (against the wind) and were usually kept folded in the corners of dining rooms or anterooms of the palaces. When needed, servants would arrange the screens to protect the occupants from drafts.

The Savonnerie manufactory produced eight different designs for screens, of which the Getty Museum's examples are the tallest. Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay provided the cartoons for these screens in 1714, and François Desportes drew the birds in the central panels. Each panel has a yellow ground, while the flowers, leaves, and birds are woven in equally vivid shades. The relatively unfaded colors of this pair make them exceptional in comparison to other surviving screens.

Exposition de Tapis de la Savonnerie: à l'occasion du centenaire de la réunion des ateliers de Chaillot aux ateliers des Gobelins (December 16, 1926 to January 31, 1927) (lent by Germain Seligmann)
  • Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins (Paris), December 16, 1926 to January 31, 1927
Le Siècle de Louis XV (February to April 1927) (lent by Germain Seligmann)
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), February to April 1927
Louis XIV, Faste et décors (May to October 1960) (lent by Germain Seligmann)
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), May to October 1960
Experts' Choice: 1000 Years of the Art Trade (April 22 to June 12, 1983) (lent by Dalva Brothers, Inc.)
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond), April 22 to June 12, 1983