La Girafe en Feu

Salvador Dalí
La Girafe en Feu
Aubusson tapestry

An original Salvador Dalí tapestry textile.

(Giraffe on Fire)

Aubusson tapestry

67 x 87 inches

The History of Aubusson Tapestry The art of tapestry making is one of the French traditions that have greatly contributed to the embellishment of heritage over the centuries. Aubusson tapestry, according to tradition, was introduced by Saracens who survived the Battle of Poitiers (732 AD) and who, legend has it, asked for the protection of the lord of Aubusson. They proceeded to set up several weaving workshops in the Creuse valley, where the waters are renowned for a property they have of making colors very pure in tone.

It was around 1662 that the French Prime Minister Colbert gave Aubusson his aristocratic title and the privilege of making the tapestries of the royal manufacture. Workshops abounded and the prized works spread throughout Europe. There was a great diversity in the different themes treated : religion, pastoral, country scenes dotted with people and/or animals, floral designs. The French Revolution unfortunately put an end to the masterful creativity of tapestries, with the destruction and theft of numerous works. At the end of the 19 th century, the Aubusson workshops opened a school of weaving and design, which later became the National School of Decorative Arts.

After World War II, tapestry experienced a real rebirth and Aubusson workshops updated their technology. It was Jean Lurçat who was to become the instrument of a truly new art. In fact, he understood that the tonal opulence of the golden age of tapestry was due to a wise knowledge of the sparing use of very pure tones, whereas the monumental effect of the works was due to the clarity of the designs. Hatched, contrasting tones were used instead of shadings; the range of different colors was reduced and those chosen were brighter. Pierre Argillet and Salvador Dali actually decided to produce Dali’s work in tapestry because they wanted art in a very large format to decorate the enormous walls of the castles they had individually built as their respective museums.