Enjoy this playful grouping of French objects from the collection of the Frick Pittsburgh.
Born in Germany, Martin Carlin moved to Paris to become an ébéniste—a furniture maker who works with marquetry and wood veneer. He became known for elegant tables, music stands, and cabinets decorated with Sèvres porcelain. This table is decorated with twenty-eight Sèvres plaques, painted with bouquets of flowers.
These two small figurines illustrate an innovation known as “biscuit ware” by the Sèvres porcelain factory.
The factory began producing these unglazed ceramics—purportedly “discovered” and popularized by Madame de Pompadour—around 1750.
Impatient to see her still-unfinished order on a visit to the factory, Madame de Pompadour demanded to see the pieces and was so impressed with their marble-like appearance that she ordered them to be delivered as they were.
The couture house of Gustave Beer was based in Paris on the Place Vendôme. Beer's designs were also sold at luxury hotels during the tourist season.
According to her daughter Helen, Adelaide Frick wore this ensemble by French designer Gustave Beer to a reception given at the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt.