Pair of Three-Panel Screens (paravents)

Savonnerie Manufactory; with designs by Alexandre-François Desportes, painter; and Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay, painter
French, Savonnerie, about 1714 - 1740
Knotted woolen pile


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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.