“Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection” features aristocratic European furniture and decorative arts, drawings, and paintings from the mid-sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. Organized chronologically, stylistically, and thematically, the exhibition includes important examples of English, French, German, and Flemish furniture, ceramics, gilt bronzes, clocks, andirons, and hardstone vases. Highlights include a spectacular Flemish tortoiseshell cabinet-on-stand dating to the mid-seventeenth century; important early blue-and-white Delft wares; one of the earliest long-case clocks by the French royal cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle; a rare pair of rococo mahogany vase stands inspired by the designs of the English cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale; a painted secretary desk by the Paris cabinetmaker René Dubois; major examples of porcelain produced at the Chelsea, Meissen, and Sèvres factories in the eighteenth century; and a highly important collection of works executed in bronze, including a cartel clock attributed to Charles Cressent, a mantel clock by renowned bronze-maker Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and a pediment clock attributed to Francois Rémond.
Approximately 75 drawings and paintings provide a broader cultural context for the furniture and decorative objects. Some of the themes that unify the drawings are studies of the human figure, literary illustrations (fables of La Fontaine), religious and mythological subjects, architectural fantasy and ruins, and design drawings for the decorative arts. The exhibition includes a few choice paintings by François Boucher, Joos de Momper, Jacques Linard, and Jean Pillement, and a generous selection of outstanding drawings by, among many others, Gericault, Guercino, Fragonard, Greuze, Oudry, Piazzetta, Rubens, and G.D. Tiepolo.