L’Arriere-Main Hermes carre

L’Arriere-Main Hermès carré by Philippe Ledoux 1969 – RARE – Personal Collection

The lovely L’Arriere-Main Philippe Ledoux carré draws its inspiration from a painting by Théodore Géricault entitled Les Croupes, (The Hindquarters/Buttocks).

Théodore Géricault was a French Romantic Painter (1791-1824) from Rouen, France. His oil painting entitled Les Croupes, (The Hindquarters/Buttocks) provided the Inspiration for the 1969 Hermès carré, L’Arriere-Main by Philippe Ledoux

Most likely the studies for this painting found their inspiration at the Royal Stable, the Grande Écurie of Versailles, an impressive structure that could accommodate up to six hundred horses. Constructed during the 17th century under the watchful eye of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the Royal Stables have been home to the Equestrian Arts Academy (Académie du spectacle équestre) since 2003.

The Great Stables or Royal Stable, the Grande Écurie, at the Palace of Versailles
Les Croupes – close up

Les Croupes, which portrays twenty-four horses from behind is rather an unusual compositions as it features the hindquarters and not the heads of twenty-four horses in three neat rows. Surprisingly there is one defiant horse that stands out as it is turned around facing us, the audience. I cannot help but attribute lightness and humor to this rather unusual arrangement and composition.

Perhaps charmed by this as well was what inspired Philippe Ledoux to reproduce the Les Coupes as a drawing for his 1969, L’Arriere-Main, now highly sought-after design.

L’ARRIERE-MAIN HERMÈS SILK SCARF VINTAGE LEDOUX 1969 – AVAILABLE

Surprisingly Monsieur Ledoux omits the rebellious horse in his drawing but includes the same checkered blankets that are very often found in Géricault’s other paintings. Perhaps it will remain a mystery why Ledoux left the defiant horse out, but included the horse blankets, which undoubtedly link his design to the French master’s. With this the L’Arriere-Main Hermès carré features three rows but only twenty-three hindquarters and not the twenty-four from its original Inspiration.

L’ARRIERE-MAIN HERMES SCARF BY PHILIPPE LEDOUX 90 CM SILK TWILL 1969 – RARE – AVAILABLE

On a personal note

I have not taken the time to write a new post because quite frankly, these take a good amount of time, research, photos and such, to make them worth your time; time I just have not had.

Why?

For one, my daughter has driven from coast to coast to visit us, her family and her friends. Her limited time here, a prized commodity, has added a delightful “distraction” to my otherwise structured life.

Our recent new found “freedom”, thank you J&J, Moderna and Pfizer, has allowed my family, and I hope yours as well, to get together and enjoy some of the activities we have in the past and missed so terribly over the past year.

View towards Pyramid Peak, near Lake Tahoe, California, late June, 2021

Finally able to enjoy the ole’ cabin this summer, an annual ritual, we have embraced the outdoors, each other in ways that have brought new level of appreciation and a freshness to long standing traditions.

Here is my takeaway: enjoy life! Spend time with the ones you love; NOW

not tomorrow,

because…you just don’t know.

And as much as I LOVE writing about my passion, the Hermes carre, I know I can hit the pause button this summer and confidently and hopefully with new enthusiasm and a fresh approach, resume my writing later. Perhaps from a diffent coast, or even a different continent :]

So, a big and appreciative thank you, to you, my patient reader.

South Fork American River, California 2021

La France HERMES Carre by Francoise de la Perriere 1959

Even before I could read, maps captured my imagination. Neither the heaviness nor its size ever stopped me from pulling the oversized atlas from among the smaller books until I managed to place it safely on the rug in front of me. Its pages provided endless opportunities for incredible journeys at first following such guides as Robin Crusoe and later Jacque Cousteau.

So it is no wonder that even today I am immediately drawn to designs like the La Cite Cavaliere or the La France.

La Cite Cavaliere Hermes Scarf Designed by Octave Marsal 2019/2020 – Personal Collection

Sixty years its senior, to me the de la Perriere creation is as captivating as the Marsal.

La France Hermes carre – AVAILABLE

In her 1959 design, Françoise de la Perriere highlights the various regions of France and represents them skillfully and beautifully with symbols for each area. There is so much to behold here; from the Monche (The Channel) in the north to the Mediterranean in the south, from the Atlantic in the west to the Vosges in the East…

But lets begin with the rooster at the center, the Coq Gaulois, the longtime unofficial symbol of France. From here we can travel to Notre Dame, then Mont Sainct Michele and end at Château of Chambord.

The fairylike Château of Chambord in the Loire Valley (photo courtesy Wikipedia
Mont-Saint-Michel (Photo courtese Amaustan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79528206)

Madame de la Perrier did not forget France’s mountain regions with the Pyrenees bordering Spain, the Alps Italy and Switzerland, and the Vosges Germany.

France’s famous wine regions are also all represented here; Bordeaux, Champagne, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Alsace (Rhine) and Rhone. We are also reminded of France’s long tradition with horses and horseback riding with the cowboy from the Camargue region in the South, polo gear representing Chantilly and a jockey competing at a race at Ateuil.

Nature’s bounty and epicurean cuisine are of course also included as are other iconic architectural works. Altogether they showcase France’s riches and together they allow us to travel from destination to destination, pausing here and there, enjoying and discovering the wonder of Madame de la Perriere’s creation.

I will dare to suggest that the fashion House itself is represented here in the form of a carriage
Bravo Madame de la Perrière et merci beaucoup!
LA FRANCE HERMES CARRE BY FRANCOISE DE LA PERRIERE 1959 – SOLD

La Comtesse de Segur Hermes carre by Philippe Dumas

Considered rare and highly sought-after, this carre was designed by Philippe Dumas, grandson of the founder, heir and former CEO of Hermès. Like two of his other designs, the La Comtesse de Segur, showcases his unique unmistakable style which you may recognize from his Les Amazones and Le Cirque Molier.

La Comtesse de Ségur Hermes Carre by Philippe Dumas was first issued in 1982 and re-issued in 1996

The La Comtesse de Ségur Hermes carre depicts several vignettes capturing scenes from the beloved children’s stories by the French writer, Sophie Rostopchine, the Countess of Ségur. Born in Saint Petersburg in the late eighteenth century, Sophie’s family left Russia in 1814 and ultimately ended up in Paris.

Even though the Comtesse did not write her first book until the age of fifty-eight, her stories place her as one of the most famous and most beloved writers of French children’s books. She has twenty novels to her name all written between 1857 and 1869 for her nineteen grandchildren. Her books were published as a collection La Bibliothèque rose illustrée, a set of beautifully bound red books and all her stories were written to both educate and entertain at the same time.

La Bibliothèque rose illustrée by La Comtesse de Ségur
photo courtesy expertissim®

Inspired by these popular children’s books and the adventures of their characters, Philippe Dumas beautifully captures the essence of some of these beloved stories in his equally beloved scarf…

Here perhaps Sophie, Camille, Madeleine and their mothers, all characters from Les Petites Filles Modeles (Good Little Girls), are heading for a ride in the country
“Come on, Félicie, don’t be lazy”
Here the eldest child, Félicie of a rich family, the d’Orvillet, is in trouble with her governess (once again); with little lasting effect, as the story goes…

For me it is unthinkable not to fall in love with this scarf each and every time.

Beautifully executed, it is difficult to just quickly glance at it. To not get involved with the various characters and not follow them along on their adventures? Well, for me that is utterly impossible!

La Comtesse de Segur Hermes scarf – Original 1982 Issue
Designed by Philippe Dumas – Now AVAILABLE

Musee Schlumpf “Prestige” Hermes Scarf by Philippe Ledoux – Limited Edition

This is a limited edition carre, specially designed by Hermes for the Opening of the Schlumpf Automobile Museum, the Musée National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse, France in 1971.

Only 1,475 scarves in eleven colorways were ordered by Fritz Schlumpf one of two brothers, who were Swiss textile industrialists and collectors of automobiles.

At an international tradeshow in the late 1960s Robert Dumas, the then head of Hermès, intrigued by the carved buttons on Fritz Schlumpf’s waistcoat, approached the fabric manufacturer.

Fritz Schlumpf was an avid admirer of Hermès and both men shared a passion for cars, and so a great friendship grew quickly. The two men decided to create a Carré Hermès in honor of the opening of the Schlumpf automobile museum that was under construction in Mulhouse and nearing completion.

The talented Philippe Ledoux, already well known and responsible for numerous Hermes designs, was put in charge of designing this special carre.

1906 SAGE Biplace Coup,
Photo courtesy Cité de l’Automobile

After a number of minor revisions Fritz’s favorite car, a 1906 SAGE took center stage surrounded by various auto parts. Transmission chains, clutch gears but also his wife Arlette, daughter, Martine and Fritz himself were forever immortalized.

Here Fritz and Arlette, his wife are getting ready for a drive
Fritz Schlumpf is at the wheel and Martine, Arlette’s daughter, has joined him for a ride with a scarf tied as a traditional Elsatian headdress.

Below is the Schlumpf coat of arms

Fritz gave his approval to Hermès in January 1971 and placed an order for 1,475 carres in eleven colors, ranging from black and gold, to brown, khaki and even powder blue/navy version.

The entire production was reserved for Fritz Schlumpf to give to guests at the Grand Opening of his Museum.

A truly rare and unique find.

The Battery New-York Hermes Scarf by Ugo Gattoni

A Limited Edition carre, The Battery New-York scarf is in its third issue, this time in various colorways. First issued in 2017, portion of all proceeds were donated to The Battery Conservancy in New York City. Both, 1st and 2nd Editions were in this beautiful blue colorway and both sold out quickly. It appears this might also be the case with this year’s colorful edition.

The Battery New-York Hermes carre – 2nd Issue – Highly Sought After

It is November 2019, the sun is low in the sky and I am heading south on West Street towards my destination, The Battery, formerly known as Battery Park. Admittedly, this will be my very first visit to this iconic park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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Aerial view of Battery Park and Financial District

courtesy Gryffindor / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan just past Wall Street, is a 25 acre public park. From here ferries take you to the famous Statue of Liberty, Ellis, Governors and Liberty Islands. The park was named after the artillery batteries that were constructed here in the late seventeenth century to protect settlements. By 1820 Castle Clinton was turned into a theater as the entire area became an entertainment destination. A couple of decades later Castle Clinton became an immigration and customs checkpoint and the surrounding area was transformed into Battery Park. When Ellis Island became the arrival point for immigrants in 1890, Castle Clinton became the home to the New York Aquarium until the 1940s.

With the Statue Liberty in the distance, and the financial district behind me, I enjoy the last hours of the day . The Hudson is to my right and just over my shoulder to the left is the famous Brooklyn Bridge and time to head back…

It is no surprise to me that Gattoni’s fun rendition of this park has become such a hit. In its third release now, it has sold out twice before. This third issue sports different colors than the two earlier issues, but this particular carre is from the second issue in its original blue colorway.

The story behind

Located at the far end of Manhattan, The Battery is the park that runs alongside the Hudson. Opposite two iconic landmarks:  Ellis Island, where immigrants were processed at the beginning of the last century, and the Statue of Liberty. Steps from Wall Street, it remains a place for remembrance. Ugo Gattoni presents it in his own way, adding his personal vision of the city. He outlines its contours, its skyscrapers, the vegetation and the long esplanade at the water’s edge, and supplements it with a few surprising details: a foot sculpture atop a tower, a monumental hand emerging from the Hudson, and a host of little characters busying themselves here and there.

Copyright © Hermès 2020. All rights reserved.

Oh what fun indeed!

The Battery New-York Hermès Limited Edition (2nd Issue, original colorway) – AVAILABLE

PHILIPPE LEDOUX’s JUMPING & HARNAIS DE COUR

I am very fortunate not just to have such a dear friend, but also someone who graciously offered to share her perspective on this amazing artist, Philippe Ledoux, whom I call The Other Hermès Legend and two of his popular designs.

My friend Dee, a longtime fellow Hermes aficionado, is ready to share with us fascinating insights into two of the world’s most beloved Hermes designs, Ledoux’s Jumping and his Harnais de Cour.

Enjoy…                               

Ladi has written a very comprehensive and enjoyable blog on the artist Philippe Ledoux in which she mentions his sense of humor.   I would like to share with you two ways I see evidence of this in his Hermes carre designs. 

I am generally reluctant to make statements about what an artist thought or felt when he designed his work.   Who of us really knows what was going on in the mind of an artist unless he has left us clear notes?  So what I give you is my own fanciful reaction to what I see before me.

Jumping Hermes carre – SOLD

The first is Jumping which was first released 1971.   Here we see what are cameo scenes of open jumping in the show ring.  Six horses and their riders are jumping over challenging obstacles.  We see the show bridle and the rosettes, so we know this is horse show ring jumping as say opposed to steeplechase or fox hunting.  We can ‘feel’ the tension and concentration of horse and rider as they clear massive hurtles.  

Jumping Hermes scarf – detail – SOLD

If we listen closely we can hear the rider click softly to his mount and hear words to steady and focus him.  We can ‘hear’ the leather creak and the horse give a grunt of super effort.  We can ‘see’ exactly where the high bar is.  BUT in his playfulness, Ledoux has removed all the bars and the horses are jumping nothing!  Just flying through the air!  Yet any rider can see those rails and knows exactly the angles and heights. 

Jumping Hermes carre – SOLD

Much like the Impressionists, Ledoux was evidently a believer in viewer participation!  What fun!

Another example of him engaging the viewer is his 1977 Harnais de Cour. 

Harnais de Cour en Patch scarf – (courtesy hermes.com)

Here we see a pair of the finest carriage horses no doubt from the royal stables in their best parade harness.   You can see them with their necks flexed just so, putting pressure on the bit to be off.  

HARNAIS DE COUR (photo courtesy Etsy.com)

You can see their alert ears flicked back showing just a bit of well-behaved impatience, giving a toss of their heads to make the harness jingle a bit.  You can hear the metallic scrape of a hoof on the cobblestones.  But wait!  There are no horses there!   Ledoux has tricked our eye into seeing them even though they aren’t there.

I have my own playful vision of the head of Hermes, M. Dumas dumping a pile of harnesses next to Ledoux’s drawing board and saying, “Illustrate that!”   And Ledoux rising to the challenge and creating this magnificent scarf.

This is what I think of when Ladi refers to Ledoux’s sense of humor.   No collection of Hermes carres for a horse lover would be complete without an example of each of these two carres.

What an insightful, fun and playful way of seeing such familiar designs. Thank you, Dee for your new and fresh perspective.

Merci beaucoup, ma chère amie!

PROJETS CARRES HERMES SCARF BY HENRI D’ORIGNY

Part of the Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection, the Projets Carres by Henri d’Origny may look somewhat different from let’s say his earlier design, the classic L’Instruction du Roy from 1993.

Projets Carres Hermes scarf – Rare 
Designed by Henri d’Origny in 2007 as part of the Autumn/Winter Collection – AVAILABLE
L’Instruction du Roy Hermes scarf on a silk jacquard with riders was designed by Henri d’Origny in 1993 – AVAILABLE

Why? Well, to my knowledge, this is the first design to be created digitally rather than by hand.

Close up of the Projets Carres Hermes scarf by Henri d’Origny from 2007
Close up for comparison of his stunning 1993 L’Instruction du Roy Hermes silk jacquard scarf
Close up of the Projetes Carres
close up of the L’Instruction du Roy

Various riding implements such as whips, stirrups and bits cast their shadows in such a way that the illusion of space is beautifully recreated in this spectacular carre. 

Of course the L’Intruction du Roy is in its own right spectacular and will always be a personal favorite.

L’Instruction du Roy Hermes silk jacquard scarf (100% silk) – Vintage
Designed by Henri d’Origny in 1993
Projets Carres Hermes silk twill scarf COL. – Rare 
Designed by Henri d’Origny in 2007 as part of the Autumn/Winter Collection

Musee Vivant du cheval HERMÈS© carre by Hubert de Watrigant

What a fun and playful design. Full of wonder of the Living Museum of the Horse at Chantilly.

The Grandes Écuries, the Grand Stables, are home to the Living Museum of the Horse (Musée Vivant du Cheval) at Chantilly, France
Musée Vivant du Cheval Chantilly Hermes scarf was designed by Hubert de Watrigant and released in 2002 Spring/Summer Collection
Aerial view of the Musée Vivant du Cheval Chantilly complex
(photo courtesy http://www.seminar-france.com

The Château de Chantilly complex includes the château, the Grand Stables, Grandes Écuries, home of the Living Museum of the Horse, a racetrack and large area of forests, located about 25 miles north of Paris. The Musée Vivant du Cheval is dedicated to the art and culture of the horse. Built in 1719 to fit a king, who believed he might be reincarnated as a horse, Louis Henri had these stunning stables constructed to house him, should his belief come true with room for 239 fellow horses and 500 hounds.

Today the Grandes Écuries are a stunning example and a masterpiece of 18th century French architecture and the stables are home both to the museum and about 31 various horse breeds. Here all sorts or equine art, from paintings to sculptures, ceramics to riding equipment can be found. It is the horses that make this a “living” museum.

The purpose of the Musée Vivant du Cheval is to educate the public about horses as well as promote interaction with them. To further promote this concept, five dressage demonstrations a day are performed at the stables.

The 2002 Le Carre HERMÈS© put it best:

This scarf depicts some of the equestrian tableaux presented by the Living Museum of the Horse under the dome of the great stables at Chantilly. We can see the horse dancing the same steps as a ballerina, and the draught-horse adjusting his pace to that of the pony. We pass from Venice to the circus, whilst la Renommée performs a jazz solo. If only all great museums could start to “live” thus the Mona Lisa might begin to smile less enigmatically!

Copyright HERMÈS© 2002

La Renommée, Fame a Greek deity, who personifies public or social recognition. But here, Watrigant makes her perform a jazz solo!

Hubert de Watrigant’s love of horses comes alive in this fun scarf! More about the artist can be enjoyed here.

The Hunt by Philippe Ledoux

Every so often a scarf comes along that is absolutely exquisite, both in story telling and execution.

The Hunt Hermès carré by Philippe Ledoux from 1963

Philippe Ledox’s Hermès carrés are loved and collected around the world, The Hunt, perhaps one of his more elusive carrés from the early 1960s, takes us on a ride through the English countryside. Four vignettes capture moments from a fox hunt, the famous Berkeley Fox Hunt to be exact. Putting my personal thoughts and opinions on hunting aside, I delight in Ledoux‘s ability to emulate an engraving and marvel how Hermès was able to reproduce so much detail on a piece of silk some fifty years ago – simply marvelous, in deed!

More on The Art of Printing the Hermès carré, please follow this link

On the Hermès silk road: PRINTING.

We follow Monsieur Ledoux as he takes us on a hunt through the rolling hills of the English countryside.

An engraving by B. Marshall from 1810 inspired this particular vignette. not just in composition but also execution. Philippe Ledoux’s entire composition mirrors a finely executed engraving worthy of framing.

Is that Thomas Oldaker and his trusted Brush? By George, it is!

Mister Thomas Oldaker was a famous huntsman, who was known to use the Berkeley Hounds named after the Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, home of the Berkeley Hunt. The Berkeley Hound pack is one of the best in the world and is England’s oldest, dating back to the 12th century.

In this vignette George III returns from the hunt with Berkeley Castle in the distance
Le cavalier démonté? Did the rider dismount or was he dismantled? 🙂
With the activities behind them, both rider, horse and hound can rest and enjoy refreshments and libations…
And so the story of the Hunt, the Berkeley Hunt is masterfully retold.
The Hunt Hermes Scarf by Philippe Ledoux - Inspiration by Carre de Paris
The Hunt Hermes Scarf
Early Vintage
Designed by Philippe Ledoux in 1963

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