Directoire Style

If we still speak today of the Directoire style, it is above all a period of transition which prolongs and closes the Louis XVI style as much as it announces the advent of the Empire style. It extends from 1795 to 1803.


The last years of the reign of Louis XVI had already seen furniture evolve towards a greater simplicity of form. To accompany this slow mutation, he had found in Greek and Roman antiquity some ornamental graphics.


This simplicity and rigor take on an even more concrete reality in the few years following the Revolution: abolished, the guilds no longer exist so that there is even a shortage of labor; for the same reasons, marquetry is totally abandoned in favor of a more discreet geometric ornamentation frequently realized on painted beech furniture. 


Mahogany and mahogany veneer are reserved for the most luxurious furniture, sometimes enriched with bronze motifs of Greek or Roman inspiration: dragons, winged lions, the swan and the griffin. Napoleon's trip to Egypt will complete the renewal of a decorative genre, replacing the revolutionary emblems, oak branches, soup tureen, poplar of freedom or Gallic roosters, by sphinxes, lotuses, scarabs, pyramids and caryatids.


The genre will be popularized by the Directory itself, which organizes the first exhibition of French Industry in 1798, allowing to present new furniture: the meridian popularized by David in his portrait of Madame Recamier or the popular Lit bateau or the curule chair resumed from antiquity. 




Guillaume Beneman, Martin-Guilhaume Biennais, Georges Jacob, Adam Weisweiler.