This October, Tokyo-based Mori Arts Center Gallery, in cooperation with Versailles, will display a significant exhibition on Marie Antoinette, the doomed French queen known for her flair for entertaining and her refined taste in art and fashion.
The four month-long exhibition, entitled “Marie Antoinette, a Queen in Versailles,” will be the first retrospective on the French queen in Japan, providing a comprehensive insight into her life.
Close to 150 works of art and furnishings will be exhibited, together with loans from other public and private collections in France and beyond. Portraits of the Queen and members of the royal family, such as King Louis XV and Louis XVI’s grandfather, will be included in a show featuring the works of renowned portrait artists François-Hubert Drouais, Louis Michel Vanloo, Joseph Siffred Duplessis, and Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun.
Marie Antoinette’s distinctive taste will be highlighted through the specially crafted furnishings and objects created for her by the finest craftsmen she admired. A “Japan service” will also be on display, inspired by Imari porcelain, as well as a wide range of tableware designed by Sèvres Royal Porcelain Works.
However, the main feature of the exhibition will be the presentation of the Queen’s Private Apartment, unveiling the bedroom and bathroom equipped with a large part of their furnishings, alongside the stucco library which will be reproduced in 3D.
With Breguet Replica supporting the exhibition, visitors will also have the opportunity to see some of the timepieces and jewelry inspired by the last queen of France.
In 2009, Breguet launched their High Jewelry Line “La Rose de la Reine,” based on the famous painting “Marie Antoinette with the Rose” by portrait artist Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun. The rose held in the Queen’s hand was recreated using the traditional southern Italian style that involved sculpting the different layers of a shell by hand.
In that same year, Marie Antoinette’s beloved Versailles estate Petit Trianon inspired the manufacturer to produce an eponymous jewelry line, described as a “reinterpretation of the refined, royal theme that characterizes the house she cherished.” More recently, in 2014, the brand paid tribute to Marie Antoinette’s sumptuous gowns in the collection “Les Volants de la Reine,” highlighting the intricateness of the pleated silks and lace of the dresses.
Breguet’s ties with Versailles can be traced back to the 18th century, when Abraham-Louis Breguet encountered Abbot Joseph-Francois, a man who possessed reputable connections in the French courts. Eventually, Marie Antoinette, who was always on the prowl for creative and exceptional creations, became enamored with the watchmaker’s designs. She became his first famous admirer, building his reputation in the French courts and towards foreign diplomats. This heralded the start of a unique bond between the brand and Versailles.
In 1783, the Queen commissioned one of the most complicated replica watches, which was completed four decades later, long after her death in 1793. The pocket replica watch remained the most intricate of its kind for almost a century.
“Marie Antoinette, a Queen in Versailles” will run from October 25, 2016 through February 26, 2017 at Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo.