La harpe des mers (Harp of the ocean)
Tapestry woven in the Berthaut workshop.
Complete with certificate of origin signed by the artist.
Jean Picart le Doux is one of the foremost figures in the renaissance of the art of tapestry. His earliest contributions to the field date back to 1943 when he designed cartoons for the passenger ship “la Marseillaise”. A close associate of Lurçat, whose theories he would adopt (limited palette, numbered cartoons…), he was a founding member of the A.P.C.T. (Association des Peintres-cartonniers de Tapisserie), and soon after, a teacher at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. The state gave him several commissions most of them at the Aubusson workshop, and some at the Gobelins : the most spectacular of these being for the University of Caen, the Theatre in Le Mans, the passenger ship France or the Prefecture of the Creuse département … In as much as Picart le Doux’s aesthetic is close to that of Lurçat, so also is his insipiration and his subject matter, although in a register which is more decorative than symbolic, where he brings together heavenly bodies (the sun, the moon, the stars…), the elements, nature (wheat, vines, fish, birds…), man, literary quotation …
« La harpe des mers » (Harp of the ocean) (Bruzeau n° 60) just as its companion piece « La harpe des forêts” (Harp of the forest), identical in size, is one of a set of cartoons by Picart le Doux dealing with the theme of the lyre and the harp : the geometrical rigour and graphic power of the parallel strings were a particular inspiration to the artist. Here, music and nature are closely associated (cf “l’arbre-lyre” the tree lyre from 1953) and Orphée Orpheus (a cartoon from 1952) is the single figure which encapsulates this assimilation.
Maurice Bruzeau, Jean Picart le Doux, Murs de soleil, Editions Cercle d’art, 1972
Exhibition catalogue Jean Picart le Doux, Musée de la Poste, 1980