The J. Paul Getty Museum

Bed (Lit à la polonaise)

Object Details

Title:

Bed (Lit à la polonaise)

Artist/Maker:

Unknown maker

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place Created)

Date:

about 1775–1780

Medium:

Gessoed, gilded, and painted walnut; gilded iron; modern silk upholstery and passementerie; ostrich feathers

Object Number:

94.DA.72

Dimensions:

302 × 179 × 226 cm (118 7/8 × 70 1/2 × 89 in.)

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Object Description

In the 1700s, grand beds like this one stood in deep niches in the bedroom of a palace or mansion belonging to wealthy patrons. These people frequently received visitors while they were still in bed or preparing for the day. The size and splendor of such pieces of furniture impressed visitors and reminded them of the owner’s importance.

Wealthy Europeans of this era spent vast sums of money on lavish textiles to decorate their rooms. Although, in this case, the extravagant upholstery, passementerie (fringes, cords, and tassels), and hangings are modern, they replicate its original grandeur documented by photographs dating from the early 1900s, when much of the historic fabric remained. The museum preserves this original fabric and passementerie for scholars to study.

Lit à la polonaise means literally “bed in the Polish manner,” but this type developed in France and took this name because the swags of drapery - on the side, on the canopy, and even the big drapes on the four posts – reminded the French of Polish dress.

Provenance
Provenance
1890s

or Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, fourth duc de Dino, French, 1843 - 1917 (Place Vendôme, Paris, France)
Source: Duveen Brothers Records at the Getty Research Institute, Box 98 (folio 30), under no. 17969; Fowles, Edward. Memories of Duveen Brothers (London: Times Books, 1976), p. 168.

by 1899 - 1912

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (London, England; later sent to Paris, France; sent to Carlhian and Beaumetz, Paris, on July 29, 1912), sold to Gilda Darthy, October 8, 1912.
Source: Duveen Brothers Records at the Getty Research Institute, Boxes 56 (folio 183) and 98 (folio 30), under stock nos. 2054 (Paris) and 17969 (London); Duveen Brothers stock documentation at the Getty Research Institute, Boxes 523-530.

1912 - 1923

Gilda Darthy, French, 1878 - 1952 [sold, Objets d'Art et de bel ameublement ... composant la Collection de Mlle Gilda Darthy, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 18, 1923, lot 77, for 72,000 francs to Fernand Schutz]
Source: Duveen Brothers Records at the Getty Research Institute, Boxes 73 (folio 236), 94 (folio 170), and 98 (folio 30), under stock nos. 2054 (Paris) and 17969 (London).

1923 - 1929

Fernand Schutz, French, died 1929 (25 quai Voltaire, Paris, France), upon his death, held in trust by his estate, 1929.

1929 - 1932

Estate of Fernand Schutz, French, died 1929 (25 quai Voltaire, Paris, France) [sold, Objets d'Art et de Curiosité ... Composant la Collection de M. Schutz, Hotel Drouot, Paris, May 20, 1932, lot 68, for 20,000 francs to M. Bauer]

1932 -
-

Possibly Espirito Santo Family (Europe)

- 1983

Private Collection [sold, Important French Furniture and Clocks, Sotheby's London, July 8, 1983, lot 96, for £37,400 to Barbara Piasecka Johnson.]

1983 - 1992

The Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection, Polish, 1937 - 2013 [unsold, Important French Furniture and Clocks, Sotheby's London, June 26, 1987, lot 76; sold, Important French and Continental Furniture Decorations, Ceramics and Carpets, Sotheby's New York, May 21, 1992, lot 88, for $484,000 to Karl Lagerfeld]

1992 - 1994

Karl Lagerfeld, German, 1933 - 2019 (Paris, France), sold through Sotheby's Paris to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
La Vie Parisienne au XVIIIe Siècle (March 20 to April 30, 1928) (lent by F. Schutz)
  • Musée Carnavalet (Paris), March 20 to April 30, 1928
Bibliography
Bibliography

Galerie Georges Petit. Catalogue des Objets d'art et bel ameublement principalement du XVIIIe siècle ... composant la Collection de Mlle Gilda Darthy. May 18, 1923, p. 19, lot 77, ill.

Contet, Frédéric. Meubles et Sièges d'Art. Époques Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Empire (Paris: F. Contet, 1924), pl. 10.

La Vie Parisienne au XVIIIe Siècle, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée Carnavalet, 1928), p. 51, no. 285, ill. facing p. 47.

Hôtel Drouot. Objets d'Art et de Curiosité ... Composant la Collection de M. Schutz. May 20, 1932, p. 18, lot 68, pl. 4.

Fowles, Edward. Memories of Duveen Brothers (London: Times Books, 1976), pp. 168-69.

Sotheby's London. Important French Furniture and Clocks. July 8, 1983, pp. 70-71, lot 96, ill.

Ponte, Alessandra. Il Mobile del Settecento: Francia. Documenti d'Antiquariato. (Novara: Istituto Geografico de Agostini in collaboration with Sotheby's, 1985), pp. 36-37, ill.

Sotheby's London. Important French Furniture and Clocks. June 26, 1987, pp. 60-61, lot 76, ill.

Disertori, Andrea, Massimo Griffo, Anna Maria Necchi Disertori, et al. Il mobile del Settecento. (Novara: Istituto Geografico de Agostini with Sotheby's London, 1991), p. 114, ill.

Sotheby's New York. Important French and Continental Furniture Decorations, Ceramics and Carpets. May 21, 1992, lot 88, ill.

Page, Amy. "Voulez-Vous Coucher?" Art and Auction 17, no. 4 (November 1994), pp. 147, 151, ill.

Jodidio, Philip. "Le Monastére de Brentwood." Connaissance des arts 511 (November 1994), p. 132.

"Acquisitions/1994." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 23 (1995), p. 64, no. 4, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 228-29, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 54-55, no. 104.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), pp. 248-49, ill.

Bremer-David, Charissa. "A Case Study of a Lit à la Polonaise and Its Upholstery in a Brocaded Silk after Designs by Philippe de Lasalle." Furnishing Textiles: Studies on Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Interior Decoration. Anna Jolly, ed. Riggisberger Berichte 17 (Riggsberg: Abegg-Stiftung, 2009), pp. 115-26, figs. 68-71.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 302, ill.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Are you Sleeping?

Students learn to measure using their feet as the unit of measurement and sketch the pieces of furniture they measured.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; Math

K-2

Single Class Lesson

Dream Bed

Two beds show students that everyday objects can be works of art, and that artists design functional items that are often beautiful.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

3-5

Long-Term Unit