The new book by art historian and vintage wallpaper expert Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz, Wallpaper: A History of Style and Trends (Flammarion, 2009), offers a visually stunning and comprehensive survey of decorative wall coverings. Chronicling wallpaper’s evolution—from guild organization in the 16th century through its refinement in 18th-century France; the technical advancement of the panoramique; trade and interpretation in the United States; and transformation into modern and then contemporary art—Thibaut-Pomerantz cites major exhibitions and provides detailed historical analysis across many countries, providing an invaluable resource on her subject.
The volume is generously illustrated with examples from premier manufacturers Dufour, Zuber, and Réveillon, along with limited-edition papers by contemporary artists such as Calder, Warhol, Miró, and Matisse. Examples of wallpapers in situ are particularly arresting, and some highlights include: a view of the Porcelain Room at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna covered in the 18th-century blue Chinoiseries, the scenic wallpaper reissued from Zuber that Jacqueline Kennedy hung in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, and a tromp l’oeil paper depicting shelves of books designed by Deborah Bowness for Christian Lacroix’s decoration of the Hôtel du Petit Moulin in Paris.
Thibaut-Pomerantz grew up surrounded by great artists like Giacometti and Ernst that came through her mother’s avant-garde contemporary art gallery. After completing her graduate studies in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, she gave lectures at museums and hosted a weekly “art salon” in New York for private collectors. On a trip to Paris she discovered the sale of a vast collection of vintage wallpapers: “I thought they were fabulous and I fell in love,” she says. Finding that no one was really specializing in the field—”There are a lot of academic books on the subject, but you have to do a lot of homework to get any information,” she observes—Thibaut-Pomerantz became an expert over the past twenty years, educating others and building an impressive inventory, which she mixes with her collection of mid-20th century decorative arts.
Thibaut-Pomerantz divides her time between Paris and New York and will be exhibiting at TEFAF in Maastricht and the Winter Antiques Show in New York. She will be giving a lecture about her book at the Winter Antiques Show on Saturday, January 23 at 5pm. For more information visit www.antique-wallpaper.com.