M.me Sans Gene


Length cm 19,5
Spread cm 37

France Directory 1795-1799

Decorated silk page with gold and silver paillettes ,gold damascened  tortoise-shell sticks .at the center there’s female figure who holds a cartouche; the face follows the fashion of the Chinese fans called “100 faces”, in painted ivory, the dress in with paillettes. At sides two carnival masks, which have the transparent part formed by a very thick web of gold needle embroidered. De Mauri (p.55) reports a similar fan dating it to the “revolutionary period”. The revolutionary period were the years from 1789 to 1799; but only with the Directory period the typology of the fan changes in a very radical way: le measures are reduced, the materials of the pages are in tissue, silk, feathers of little exotic birds. Rich embroideries with paillettes appear, after the death of Robespierre the rich middle class finds the richness  and ostentation taste .

G. Fraipont ( p.142) reports the complaints of Mme de Genlis on fashion which imposes éventails imperceptibles which are not able anymore , because of the dimensions, to hide neither shames nor embarassments. Fans like this one, double mask  are not usual, just 7 have been published. For Mrs Helene Alexandre ( fan Museum London) and Mrs Madelain Gainsburg ( Victoria and Albert Museum), in the female figure madame Sans Gene could be recognized. Exposed in : Rimini June- july 1984 and in Bristol September 1989.

Historical notes :
Revolutionary period dates:
3rd May 1789 opening of the General States
17th June 1789 proclamation of the general Assembly
14th July 1789 the storming of the Bastille.
26th August 1789 declaration of Man’s rights
3rd September 1791 proclamation of New Constitution by King Louis XVI
10th August 1792 attack to the Tuileries, the real family is imprisoned in the Temple
January 1793 the king is beheaded.
June 1793 the Public health Committee with Robespierre, Marat, Saint-just, a period known as Terror.
28th July 1794 Robespierre arrest and condemnation to the guillotine.
September 1795 proclamation of New Constitution which will give the start of the Directory.
"Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail." Leonardo Da Vinci