This Symposium was organized in conjunction with the exhibition Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions, on view from (November 18, 2016 to February 5, 2017). This Symposium brought together experts and scholars in the fields of Architecture, Design, Art History and History. This was the first large-scale exhibition to survey the magnificent range of projects undertaken by the French architect and designer from the end of the eighteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Although largely remembered for his close collaboration with Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853)—together they defined the Empire style and created the decorative program of Napoleon’s reign—Charles Percier’s (1764–1838) artistic style was unique, complex, and ever-evolving.

The exhibition broke with the tradition of considering Percier and Fontaine together. This choice, shaped by the discovery of new documents relating to the production of the two partners, allowed a better understanding of Percier’s multifaceted artistic practice. By focusing on his seminal works, the exhibition demonstrated the diverse and extraordinary creations of an artist whose work brilliantly bridged ancien régime court culture and the industrial production of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Jeffrey L. Collins
Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Jean-Philippe Garric
Curator, Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions; Professor, History of Architecture, University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
“Charles Percier: Beyond the Antique Model”

Iris Moon
Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Pratt Institute
“New Heads for Old Bodies: Percier’s Designs for the French Revolution”

Ulrich Leben
Research Scholar and Visiting Professor, Bard Graduate Center
“Charles Percier’s Vision of Antiquity”

Darius Spieth
Professor, Art History, Louisiana State University
“Percier and Piranesi”

Jean-François Bédard
Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University
“Franks, Not Romans: Medieval Imagery and the Making of Imperial France”

Response and Q&A moderated by Jeffrey L. Collins
Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Organized by Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York, in association with the château de Fontainebleau and the Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais, Paris. Additional support for this exhibition is provided through the generosity of Bernard & Lisa Selz, Max Blumberg & Eduardo Araújo, and other donors.