Courtepointe, 2019

Courtepointe is an ongoing series of drawing and stitching works, hanging installations where Françoise Dupré reconfigures the technique of quilting/ matelassage and draws motifs from the collection of printed fabrics left by her mother.  One favourite fabric is tissu provençal, Provencal print, popular through France and purchased in the 70s and 80s for cushion and curtain. The motifs, often, single stylised floral or geometric patterns were also reproduced on self-adhesive vinyl to decorate the inside of drawers and cupboards shelves.   

Other printed motifs present in Courtepointe are produced by small rubber on wood cylinders.  They are used by Dupré to create ink trimming bands across width of Washi paper. 

In Courtepointe installations, the artist combines together these drawn and printed motifs into stitched layers.  Creating pale and delicate hanging presences – traces of her parents’ home.    

Courtepointe is a bed cover, with two stitched layers of fabric.  It is made using the technique known as quilting/matelassage. The stitching/piquage follows a chosen design: diagonals lines/damier/checkerboard or floral or geometric motifs. The motif is raised by pushing (bouter), between the fabrics, extra cotton strands, a technique known as méchage.  In France the technique is associated with the broderie de Marseille, broderie au boutis, provençal whitework quilting.   

The stitch used is a running stitch/point devant.  

In traditional provençal costumes, quilting was used, (mainly) for skirts made with printed cotton. The quilted/matelassées technique is known as courtepointe en indienne.  

A tissu provençal is a printed fabric with small stylised motif and bright colours.  It was traditionally used for garments.  Its origin is Indian printed cloth.  Chintz textiles, Indian textiles for the West/indiennes, were printed cotton originally imported from India.  They became highly fashionable in 17th century Europe, fulfilling desire for novelty and the exotic.   

Printed Indian textiles/indiennes are associated with Marseille, an important commercial and manufacturing centre, opened to commerce with India, Persia, the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire. Imports began in the 16th century. Rapidly, indiennes became very popular in Provence and remained so until 19th century.   

First manufactured in the Provence region, production of indiennes moved through France (Jouy, Alsace, Rouen) and other European countries. Indiennes became part of the provençal identity and were worn by its common people (skirts, caraco, square scarfs, apron, petticoat).  Floral motifs were favourite and evolved through time in response to fashion and seasons (light background for summer, dark brown in winter)The development of printing techniques allows for frequent design changes.

In France, a popular motif was mignonettes, the repeat of a small abstracted motif, easily reproduced for printed cloth for everyday garments.  The regularly doted stylised floral or geometric pattern recalls the Buti an Indian name given to a single small flower stylised and printed on cotton.

Printed Indian cottons were part of the vast trading activities led by 18th century East Indian Companies.  Textiles were essential in this commerce covering four continents, India, Europe, Africa and the Americas.  In Africa, Indian textiles were swopped for slaves.  

Beyond the familial, Dupré also connects us with the transnational history of textile.  Using the tissu provençal as a leitmotif, Dupré brings another layer into her narrative, the history of French textiles and its worldwide connections.    

References:

Indiennes Sublimes, exhibition catalogue, 2011, Villa Rosemaine, Toulon, France.

Aziza Gril-Mariotte, La consommation des indiennes à Marseille (fin XVIIIe-début XIXe siècle), Rives méditerranéennes, 29, 2008.

Aziza Gril-Mariotte, Les toiles de Jouy: histoire d’un art décoratif, 1760-1821, Rennes : Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015.

Colette Establet, Répertoire des tissus indiens importés en France entre 1687 et 1769, IREMAM, 2017.

Photos © Carl Fox, photography

Images ©Françoise Dupré Archive


Courtepointe en indienne avec papier à fleurs/Quilting with wall paper, 2019, hanging installation.


Courtepointe en indienne avec papier à fleurs/Quilting with wall paper, 2019, hanging installation detail.
Courtepointe en indienne/Quilting,2019, two panels hanging installation.
Courtepointe en indienne/Quilting,2019, two panels hanging installation detail.
Courtepointe en indienne/Quilting,2019, two panels hanging installation detail.
Courtepointe piquée (rouge)/ Quilting (red),2019, wall installation.
Courtepointe piquée (rouge)/ Quilting (red),2019, wall installation detail.



Fabric samples and sticky-backed plastics with provençal patterns.
Buti sketch drawing, 2018.

Courtepointe en indienne avec papier à fleurs/Quilting with wall paper, 2019, hanging installation.

Stitch: running stitch, quilting stitch/Point devant, courtepointe piquée.

Washi (Japanese paper), Kozo (mulberry); mid-20th century wall paper; DMC Mouliné Spécial, stranded cotton embroidery thread, linen thread; white glass-headed steel pins; graphite pencil, drawing from Provencal print (Buti motif) .

1m03 H x 0m54 W x 0m23 D 2m10 H from floor  

Courtepointe en indienne/Quilting, 2019, two panels hanging installation.

Stitch: running stitch, quilting stitch/Point devant, courtepointe piquée.  

Washi (Japanese paper), Kozo (mulberry); DMC Mouliné Spécial, stranded cotton embroidery thread, linen thread; white glass-headed steel pins; graphite pencil, drawing from Provencal print (Buti motif); printed ink motif transferred from early-20th century rubber cylinder.

1m15 H x 0m50 W x 0m27D each panel 2m10 H from floor 1m05 overall W

Courtepointe piquée (rouge)/ Quilting (red),2019, wall installation.

Stitch: running stitch, quilting stitch/Point devant, courtepointe piquée.

Washi (Japanese paper), Kozo (mulberry); Kitchen towel, cotton mattress ticking; DMC Mouliné Special, stranded cotton embroidery thread; linen thread; dressmaking steel pins, yellow plastic-headed quilting steel pins; aluminium rod; white metal rings; printed ink motif transferred from early-20th rubber cylinder.

1m20 H x 1m06 W x 0m10 D 2m23 H from floor

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