Max Tillmann spoke at the Françoise and Georges Selz Lectures on 18th- and 19th-Century French Decorative Arts and Culture on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. His talk is entitled “Les derniers goûts de France: Elector Max Emanuel and French Decorative Arts about 1715.”

Extraordinary is the term that best describes the turbulent life of Bavarian Elector Max Emanuel (1662–1726), who, due to his alliance with the Bourbons during the Spanish War of Succession, spent the years from 1708 to 1715 as an émigré at the court of Louis XIV. In his lecture at the BGC, Tillmann will explore the prince’s commissions to the great Parisian masters of the decorative arts, including Boulle furniture, gilt bronzes, and magnificent silverware, gold, and jewellery. The history of his 1713 commission of a famous gold chalice from the royal sculptor and goldsmith Thomas Germain exemplifies the Elector’s distinct impact on the design, which rejected the style of classicist grandeur in favour of what was becoming known as the goût moderne. Investigating the material and formal features of palatial furniture such as the “Bureau de l’Électeur” (Louvre, Paris), made ca. 1714–16, illustrates the Elector’s exceptional position as a patron of French arts while also revealing his commissions’ Pan-European character.

Max Tillmann studies the production and circulation of eighteenth-century French luxury arts, including painting, Boulle furniture, mounted Asian porcelain, and silver. His PhD research concerned the collecting and patronage of Bavarian Elector Max Emanuel during his sojourn in the Spanish Netherlands and France between1692 and 1715. From 2005 to 2008 he was Curatorial Assistant in the Museum Department of state-owned Bavarian Palaces, Munich, and he was responsible for the refurbishment of the princely apartment of the Badenburg, a Baroque pleasure house in the garden of Nymphenburg Palace. His publications include “‘Très belle, agréable et bien meublée’: The Electoral Palace at Saint-Cloud in the Early Eighteenth Century,” in D. A. Baxter and M. Martin, eds., Architectural Space in Eighteenth-Century Europe: Constructing Identities and Interiors (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 35–56; “‘Von denen neu französischen Mobilien’: The Impact of Boulle Furniture at the Court of Elector Max Emanuel (1680–1726),” in Baroque Furniture in the Boulle Technique: Conservation, Science, History (München: Siegl, 2013), pp. 165–172; “Re-staging the Picture Gallery: the Formation of the Grande Galerie at Schleissheim Palace,” in The Gallery of Charles XI at the Royal Palace of Stockholm: In Perspective (forthcoming). He has helped organize and catalogue numerous exhibitions, including Baroque Furniture in the Boulle Technique (Bavarian National Museum, Munich, 2011), André Charles Boulle (1642–1732): A New Style for Europe (Museum of Decorative Arts, Frankfurt, 2009), The House of Wittelsbach and the Middle Kingdom (Bavarian National Museum, 2009), and 1806: A Crown for Bavaria at the Munich Residenz in 2006. He is currently co-curating an exhibition for the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe on the role and tastes of the Margravine Caroline Louise of Baden (1723–1783) as principal founder of Karlsruhe’s painting collection.