Private home, artistic stage
The circulation and display of interior dreamscapes
in Interior decorating in nineteenth-century France
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Pierre-Luc Cicéri, chief decorator at the Paris Opéra, also established a career as interior decorator and educator of students that treated interior spaces as three-dimensional images and artworks in their own right. Cicéri’s followers helped push the art of fantasy architecture to a new level, creating a new form of art and popular entertainment around the “ideal home.” Exhibited at the Salon and at a variety of universal and decorative arts exhibitions as well as published in expensive, luxury folios and reprinted in cheaper, popular editions, the “interior dreamscapes” by Cicéri’s followers disseminated the interior for interior’s sake. The domestic interior could be admired, collected, hidden inside cabinets, or reappropriated as an object of contemplation for private walls. The same images functioned as two-dimensional blueprints for the construction of three-dimensional settings and as advertising schemes for the artists that produced and popularized them, furthering interest in and creating a common language about the appearance of the modern, private home. The chapter ultimately argues that wishful thinking and vicarious identification with the - often missing - owners of the model interiors made available through these means and furtively perused in private homes helped create a professional niche that would soon be occupied by the interior designer.

Interior decorating in nineteenth-century France

The visual culture of a new profession

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