Mark Your Calendar for Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette

Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette
June 8 through September 11, 2011

The Frick Collection

1 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212-288-0700

Introduction to the Exhibition

Soon after Marie-Antoinette ascended the throne in France in 1774, the young queen embraced a new fashion for interiors à la turc. This style grew out of a taste for neoclassical decoration initiated about 1770 by architects and designers who had studied ancient architecture in Italy. To the classical motifs, le goût turc called for the addition of turbaned figures, camels, crossed crescents, pearls, and other decorative elements associated with the Ottoman Empire. Such an eccentric style was reserved for the decoration of private spaces, boudoirs, or cabinets, which gave designers and architects more freedom than was permitted in public apartments at court or in aristocratic residences. As a result, furniture and decoration for such spaces were particularly ornate.

Marie-Antoinette's brother-in-law, the comte d'Artois, was also fond of interiors decorated in the Turkish style. The younger brother of Louis XVI, d'Artois took the lead in 1776 by commissioning a cabinet turc for his Parisian residence, the Palais du Temple. He was soon followed by Marie-Antoinette, who created a boudoir turc at the Château de Fontainebleau in 1777. The comte d'Artois commissioned two other cabinets turcs: one at Versailles in 1781–82 and an additional one in the Palais du Temple in 1783. Meanwhile, the queen commissioned a boudoir turc for her apartments at Versailles, and her friend the princess of Guéméné added one to her Château de Montreuil. Although a few other Turkish rooms existed, this fashion was confined almost exclusively to the royal court and the French aristocracy.

Le goût turc was inspired by several operas and plays with Turkish themes that were popular at the time, such as Achmet and Almazine, The Three Sultanas, and Zémire and Azor, which were performed at the French court in 1776 and 1777. On November 1, 1776, the royal theater of Fontainebleau premiered Mustapha and Zéangir, a tragedy in five acts by Sebastien-Roch Chamford. Marie-Antoinette was so pleased with the production that she congratulated the author with a handsome reward of 1,200 livres.

Such performances belonged to a century-long craze for Oriental tales, which took root soon after the first translation in French of Antoine Galland's Thousand and One Nights, published in several volumes between 1704 and 1717. Besides this central text, other famous and influential works of eighteenth-century Orientalist literature included the satirical Persian Letters by Montesquieu (1721), the comte de Caylus's Oriental Tales (1743), Voltaire's play Mahomet (1736), and his philosophical account Zadig (1747), to cite only a few. Some of these were works of pure fiction, others derived directly from Oriental narratives, and some were inspired by the epic lives of historical figures.

The relationship between the Turkish rooms at the court of Marie-Antoinette and a fictional Orient diffused through tales, plays, and operas is strengthened by the fact that some of the architects responsible for the designs of such Turkish productions were also involved in the creation of Turkish rooms. All the stage sets have disappeared, and only one cabinet turc has survived: the one made in 1777 for Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau. Sadly, only a few of the decorative elements and pieces of furniture made especially for Turkish rooms have survived; among these examples are the six pieces presented in this exhibition. These objects often feature motifs associated with Turkish culture but are not literal copies of Turkish originals; their form and function remain essentially French. All are of the highest quality, as we would expect of works of art made for a queen, a future king, or wealthy aristocrats by some of the finest artists and craftsmen employed by the royal court.

The exhibition is made possible by Koç Holding.

Courtesy of The Frick Collection.



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Far Rockaway.. new hipster paradise???

ready to flee to the beach??? I am not talking about Hamptons or Belmar.. the new hip beach is in Far Rockaway.. yes that's right, with the new ferry service from Manhattan, it is now only one hour away.

Please note that the ferry only runs on the weekends and it is first come first serve basis.

Rockaway Beach Ferry Fares
One-way $15.00
Round Trip $25.00
Bicycles additional $5.00
Surf Boards additional $3.00
Golf Clubs no additional charge
Boat & Bike Rental Combo Ticket This combo ticket includes a comfort bike for the day (to be picked up at South St. Seaport, Pier 17) and round trip ferry to Rockaway Beach, New York where you can enjoy more bike paths. For pricing and to purchase click here.

Rockaway Beach Ferry Schedule 2011

Operates only on SATURDAYs, SUNDAYs & HOLIDAYs

Travel Time is approximately 1 Hour

Wall Street (South of S. Street Seaport)
New York, NY
9:15 AM
11:45 AM
3:45 PM

Jacob Riis Beach Park Area
Rockaway (Queens), NY 11697

8:00 AM
10:30 AM
2:30 PM
5:00 PM

Riis Landing
Beach 169th St. and State Rd
Rockaway (Queens), NY 11697
West Side of Marine Pkwy Bridge
Get Directions

Pier 11
(Wall Street) Manhattan
11 Bush Terminal Yard
Manhattan, New York 10005
Get Directions

For more info please visit the ferry website.