Friday, April 3, 2020

A New Chinoiserie Gone Wrong

de Gournay

I received a great response to my new series on Chinoiserie Gone Wrong. Lots of comments, lots of emails, and some great ideas for upcoming posts. Thank you!

I am a huge fan of de Gournay wallpaper. My first post when I created Chinoiserie Chic more than 11 years ago below is of de Gournay wallcovering - a room by Ruthie Sommers. I still love this.

Ruthie Sommers - de Gournay

I had never seen a de Gournay wallcovering I have not liked. Until now. Yikes. Check out the green blobs.

Can you guess what this is supposed to be?

1. Melons?
2. Avocados?
3. Breasts?
4. Alien pods?
5. Green rainbows?
6. Rocks?
7. Exotic eggs?
8. Some strange fruit?

And the correct answer is Kiso Mountains. Wow. And the scale of those flowering trees? Some are as tall as the mountains. I cannot imagine decorating a room with this or living with it. I don't find anything aesthetically pleasing about this at all. Perhaps in a commercial space like a restaurant. Otherwise a hard pass.

Love it? Hate it? Thoughts?

30 comments:

  1. Certainly a conversation starter! See it here in a foyer: https://m.startribune.com/inside-a-3-45-m-minneapolis-mansion-refreshed-for-the-next-century/501039372/

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    1. Thanks - I checked out the house and still hate this wallpaper and IMHO the rest of the house was awful as well.

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    2. Totally agree.

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  2. This is something I might expect from fundamental wallpaper. Modern is sometimes difficult to understand,what I say about modern art is that I do not know enough about it to appreciate the work. Keep posting great posts

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    1. I don't think expertise is required to distinguish ugly from beautiful. And I love modern art.

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    2. Agree. The ability to appreciate something beautiful, and be repelled by what is ugly, is innate, in my opinion.

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  3. I'm going to go with "Chinois Moderne"...a nod to Deco.

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    1. You are of course correct - just having some fun. I like Art Deco, but not this.

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  4. Love the Chinoiserie Gone Wrong feature. I am not sure which room I think is uglier--the one with the totally out of sync live edge tree trunk coffee table or this one. That wallpaper is hideous and so is the style, contours, and color of the furniture. I correctly guessed the green blobs were mountains.

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    1. I agree. Glad you are enjoying this series. It is meant to be a little distraction for everyone. Thanks!

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  5. Please check out Paul Montgomery wallpaper, they also make beautiful
    hand painted wallpaper and they are here in Staunton, Va. were I live.

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    1. He has beautiful papers - he used to be a sponsor of Chinoiserie Chic.

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  6. Every day when I open my email from Chinoiserie Chic, I'm worried I'll see my own blue-tiled bathroom with Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper featured as "Chinoiserie Gone Wrong"...!

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    1. I wouldn't do that - I said I was just using interior designers' work and am leaving off the designers' names in general - but big name designers who seek out features in shelter magazines are public figures and fair game IMO.

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    2. LOL, Carrie!

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  7. I personally think this is a nod to some of style of Japanese ukiyo-e. E.g., an art by 17th century artist Hiroshige, see 2nd from last on https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/artists-of-the-floating-world-five-great-ukiyo-e-artists/ , another one of his arts https://www.artribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Utagawa-Hiroshige-Hakone.-Vista-del-lago-1833%E2%80%9334-ca.-Museum-of-Fine-Arts-Boston-William-Sturgis-Bigelow-Collection.jpg , and a modern ukiyo-e https://www.pinterest.com/pin/858287641456637602/. I think it is an apropos depiction considering they try to depict Japanese mountains. It is very different though! -Sasha

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  8. To me it looks like some kind of weird homage to a Chinese dragon robe's waves and mountains. Here's a picture of a dragon robe. You can see the waves and mountains along the bottom of the robe.

    https://collections.mfa.org/objects/8042

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    1. I find the robe very beautiful and think that would have worked far better.

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  9. Well, you certainly got a lot of responses, Beth. I find it rather beautiful, and unusual - certainly, but I don't believe I would want to live with it. Interesting how we all have our own different emotional reactions to things.

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    1. Yes, I have enjoyed reading all the comments.

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  11. First, that Ruthie Sommers room is SO gorgeous. That is one of the best uses of de Gournay I have seen--- with those beautiful cherry blossoms up against all those delicate colors. I like most of de Gournay wallpapers, but only LOVE a few and that is one of them. I think it's fitting that such an exquisite room was the first post on Chinoiserie Chic!
    As for the Kiso addition, WTF is up with de Gournay? If this were a few days ago, I'd assume it was an April Fools joke. That wallpaper is so hideous, so gloomy, so spooky, and the further up it goes toward the ceiling, the more ominous it becomes. Even the color combination is horrendous. I can't imagine who would have commissioned this. The green velvet sofa is nice, the carpet looks interesting.but the wallpaper ruins everything. I would leave the very bottom group of white blossoms, and paint everything above that a light lime green, or silver, and call it a day.

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  12. nmc1066@gmail.comApril 5, 2020 at 12:06 AM

    It's frighteningly overwhelming. I love the colors - maybe on a much smaller scale?

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  13. I absolutely love it! I 100% agree with the poster who said it was a nod to Japanese Ukiyo-e. As i'm obsessed with that art tradition i immediately knew it was mountains. Maybe its something you like more if you know the art context? A lot of people think it's a nod to Art Deco because that in turn was influenced by Ukiyo-e -so they're seeing the connection.

    I would LOVE to have this wallpaper in my home - but not in the actual reality of my tiny matchbox house. However if i had a dream house with a giant wardrobe room (this will tragically never happen) then i would love to have this wallpaper coating the walls - either that or one of the more traditional de Gourney chinoiserie with a silver leaf background..... *sigh* None of this will ever happen, but i can dream!

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    1. Interesting. I of course knew it was supposed to be mountains, I was trying to be humorous. Perhaps you could frame a panel for your house?

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  14. I looked at pictures of the entire house and that wallpaper is my favorite thing in it. The rest of the house was too contemporary and had too much acid green for my taste.

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