Charlotte Vignon will be speaking in the Françoise and Georges Selz Lectures on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century French Decorative Arts and Culture on Tuesday, March 1 at 6 pm. Her talk is entitled “Rebuilding the City of Ceramic: Projects for the Renovation of the Sèvres Museum.”

The Sèvres Museum was created in 1824 by Alexandre Brongniart (1770-1847), then the director of the Porcelain Manufactory of Sèvres. At its beginning, it was considered as a technical resource, a conservatory of materials and techniques intended to inspire craftsmen and artists working at the prestigious French manufactory by providing them with varied examples of ceramic from many periods and places. Thanks to further acquisitions from the second half of the nineteenth century, the collection gradually became an encyclopedic museum offering a comprehensive overview of the history of ceramics.

Today, the Sèvres Museum brings together a collection of more than 50,000 ceramic objects from prehistory to the present, principally from Europe but also including important examples from Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania. This lecture will unveil current plans for a major renovation of the museum, which will both transform its displays and highlight its historical and physical links to the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. A true national treasure, Sèvres seeks to contribute to the world of tomorrow by balancing today’s quest for instantaneity and start-ups with a new art of living that affirms the values of artistic creativity, scientific experimentation, and cultural diversity.


Charlotte Vignon is Director of the French National Museum of Ceramics located at Sèvres, just outside Paris (Musée national de céramique de Sèvres). Previously, she was Curator of Decorative Arts at The Frick Collection in New York for more than ten years. She has held fellowships at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Frick Collection, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow. Vignon organized several exhibitions at The Frick Collection: Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop (2009); Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette (2011); White Gold: Highlights from the Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain (2011); Gold, Jasper, and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court (2012); Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection (2013); Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court (2016); Fired by Passion: Masterpieces of Du Paquier Porcelains from the Sullivan Collection (2017); Masterpieces of French Faience: Selections from the Sidney R. Knafel Collection (2018); and Elective Affinities: Edmund de Waal at The Frick Collection (2019). She is the author of numerous articles and essays on European decorative arts, including sixteenth- to nineteenth-century ceramics, tapestries, furniture, and architecture, as well as the history of the art market and collecting in the United States. Vignon is also the author of Duveen Brothers and the Market for Decorative Arts, 1880−1940, as well as Gouthière’s Candelabras, with Edmund de Waal, both published in 2019.


Bard Graduate Center is grateful for the generous support of the Selz Foundation.

This event will be held via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 4 pm on the day of the event. This event will be live with automatic captions.