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Beauty, Rarity, History...The M.S. Rau Antiques Blog

Bill Rau

M.S. Rau Antiques

Led by third-generation owner and published fine art expert Bill Rau, M.S. Rau Antiques has grown by leaps and bounds since his grandfather Max Rau opened the doors in 1912 to a then-small antiques store in the heart of New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Bill's extensive knowledge and reputation as a leader places him among the most respected antique experts and gallery owners today.

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau Antiques is among the premier antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our 25,000 square foot gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, created by legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, and our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

On The World Stage: Sèvres World’s Fair Vases

  • The quality and scale of these stunning Sèves porcelain vases denotes their creation for the 1900 World's Fair.

    The quality and scale of these stunning Sèves porcelain vases denotes their creation for the 1900 World's Fair.

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

  • A motif of sensuous swans executed in a style illustrating the influences of the Art Nouveau and Japonisme surrounds each magnificent vase.

    A motif of sensuous swans executed in a style illustrating the influences of the Art Nouveau and Japonisme surrounds each magnificent vase.

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

  • Each vase bears the signature of Sèvres artist Horace Bieuville, and dated 1900 and 1899, respectively.

    Each vase bears the signature of Sèvres artist Horace Bieuville, and dated 1900 and 1899, respectively.

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

Beginning in the mid-19th century, the universal showcase for the world’s greatest artisans and craftsmen to unveil trend-setting techniques, styles and ideas were the International Exhibitions. The legendary Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory saw the perfect opportunity to illustrate their mastery of the Art Nouveau aesthetic through these Monumental Swan Vases at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair. 

Designed by Sèvres artist Horace Bieuville, these exquisite vases were created to draw attention to the shift in European decorative art ideals at the turn of the 20th century, which focused upon Art Nouveau and Japonisme influences. Measuring nearly four-feet in height, each grand vessel is enveloped with a stylized organic motif of graceful swans gliding through a lotus pond. The muted tree line in the background draws the viewer into the scene, giving the water fowl both focus and depth.

Known today as “World’s Fairs”, the International Exhibitions provided artists like Bieuville the opportunity to create the most beautiful and innovative pieces to display to an international audience, which often included royalty and celebrities from around the world. For well-established firms such as Sèvres, the events served to solidify their status as trend-setters by proving they were on the cutting-edge of technique and design.

Based on their sheer size and masterful craftsmanship, it is certain that these vases were created specifically for the Exhibition. Since the Exhibition that year was held in the firm’s own country, it served as the perfect opportunity to present the epitome of French porcelain to the world.

To view M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of rare antique porcelain, click here.

About M.S. Rau Antiques:
M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors world-wide. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, our peerless gallery showcases some of the world’s most extensive and stunning works of important fine art by artists such as Monet and van Gogh, rare 18th-and 19th-century antiques and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.

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