In the world of decorative arts, the city of Aubusson is the cream of the crop! A city that grew alongside the ancient art of tapestry: centuries of weaving are celebrated in the city’s own museum of tapestry in the region of Limousin.
In Aubusson, ponder over 600 years of weaving savoir-faire! Tapestries, rugs, cardboard templates and design mock-ups from the 18th to 20th Century make for an exceptional ancestral collection.
330 mural tapestries and over 15,000 graphic works which have taken many hours of dedicated work, achieved only by the dexterity of a weaver with years of experience in the field.
Stretched across the walls, the Abusson tapestries typically depict nature, such as trees and leaves, as well as hunting scenes (unicorns, wolves, lions, boars, deer...) and representations of religion (lives of saints, scenes from the Old Testament).
The exceptional savoir-faire and art of weaving Aubusson tapestry were recognised by UNESCO, and in 2009 was added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. As a result, the project of the Cité internationale de la tapisserie et de l'art tissé (English: International House of Tapestry and Woven Art) was launched in 2010, a building to commemorate this newfound cultural heritage.
An old art form gets a new lease on life
As well as giving a new home to the works at the tapestry museum in the summer of 2016, the Aubusson “International House” equally strengthens the heritage of contemporary tapestry. This art form is constantly evolving with new creations following a different theme set each year.
“La tapisserie d’Aubusson tisse la mode” (The Tapestry of Aubusson Weaves Fashion, 2015) and “La matrice tapisserie” (Pascal Haudressy prizewinner in 2014) clearly illustrate the modern-day rebirth of this timeless art.
20th Century Renovation
That being said, the art of tapestry (dated from the 15th Century) had previously had yet another revival at the beginning of the 20th Century. It was then that the artist Jean Lurçat initiated the movement of peintres-cartonniers, a group of artists that would paint scenes and designs to be converted into tapestries, and therefore re-popularising the trend.
This initiative by Jean Lurcat attracted the attention and participation of renowned artists (Georges Braque, Victor Vasarely, Fernand Léger, Le Corbusier) through exhibition at great Parisian galleries such Demeure and Denise René Gallery.
Musée départemental de la tapisserie d'Aubusson
Avenue des Lissiers