The Frick Collection, New York
June 7 – September 11 2011
1 East 70th Street New York 10021
+ 1 212-288-0700

By the late eighteenth century, France had long been fascinated by the Ottoman Empire. Trade with Turkish territories had been going on for centuries, and in the fall of 1776, centuries of trade and diplomacy between France and the Ottoman empire inspired a fashion that began in the theatre and consequently launched a taste for interiors à la turque, or “in the Turkish style.”

Soon after, boudoirs turcs were created in several royal residences in the circle of Marie-Antoinette. This taste was largely confined to the royal court and the French aristocracy, and few objects survive today.

A pair of French console tables at the Frick, whose exceptional quality suggested royal origin, inspired this dossier exhibition. Such items were created by interior decorators, architects, designers and craftsmen inspired by an imaginary Ottoman empire and were not literal copies of Turkish models. Although the objects often contain Turkish features in their design, their form and function remain essentially French. Moreover, having been made for the royal family or wealthy aristocrats, they were of the highest quality, and can be attributed to the best artists of the time.