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a handwoven tapestry. In the strict sense, it is a product of the Paris factory founded in 1662 in the suburb of Saint Marcel and still in existence today. The factory was established as a royal enterprise and included a number of individual weaving establishments, including the workshop of the Flemish weavers M. Comans and F. Planche, founded in 1607. The main factory building was the former workshop of the Gobelins, the famed 15th-century dyers by whose name the factory and its products came to be known. Gobelin tapestries were woven with colored wool and silk (sometimes also silver and gold) threads according to drawings, or cartoons, made by the artist directing the factory—C. Le Brun and, in the 18th century, F. Boucher, J. B. Oudry, and others. Gobelins were woven on special hand looms by the selective weaving method, that is, in separate sections, which were then sewn together with a fine silk thread. Characteristic of a Gobelin is the ribbed surface of the “right” side, created by the warp threads, and the uneven surface of the reverse side, formed by the seams and woof threads.
The high artistic merit of 17th- and 18th-century Gobelins, with their historical, mythological, religious, and literary subjects, made them so popular that imitative tapestries made by other French and European factories began to be called Gobelins. In the 19th century tapestries in general and even machine-made upholstery fabrics with a close weave, the so-called Gobelin fabrics, were called Gobelins. In the 19th century the artistic level of Gobelin tapestries declined sharply, but since the 1930’s the art of weaving Gobelins has been revived on a new artistic and stylistic basis. In the 19th and early 20th centuries drawings for Gobelin tapestries were created by G. Geoffroy, C. Monet, J. F. Raffaelli, among others. Since 1945 the drawings of J. Lurçat have contributed significantly to the development of the art of weaving Gobelins.
REFERENCESFenaille, M. État général des tapisseries de la manufacture des Gobelins…. Paris, 1904-23.
Schmitz, H. Bild-Teppiche: Geschichte der Gobelinwirkerei, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1922. (Bibliography.)
La manufacture nationale des Gobelins. Paris, 1948.