This exhibition, organized by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, depicted the beauty of everyday artifacts and examined their context as objects of consumer desire following a period of economic upheaval in France.

Form, Function and Beauty: Early 19th-Century French Watercolors of Decorative Objects
included 50 hand-painted drawings of household objects. At the time, manufacturers hired designers to illustrate the objects they produced. These drawings were distributed to retail merchants as an early form of sales catalogue. In watercolor and gouache, the drawings showcased ordinary household things—ranging from tableware to inkstands, scrub brushes, brooms, toiletry kits, and hinge mechanisms. The objects pointed to an emerging middle class consumer lifestyle concerned with domestic comforts in the wake of the social and political tumult of the French Revolution.

This exhibition appeared in tandem with another, The Borders of Eclecticism: French Wallpapers, 1789-1830, also from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Bard Graduate Center was the only venue in the United States to present the two exhibitions.