Chantilly Castle

G. Fraipont.image.jpeg

Fraipont, Gustav(e), known for painting a vast array of posters for use by Chemins de Fer du Nord. Two of his posters Excursions à la Mer and Château de Chantilly are featured in our online special collections exhibit at MU Ellis Library.

In Fraipont’s Chateau de Chantilly (now Domaine de Chantilly), the familiar styles of art nouveau are extremely apparent. By using two themes—both Art Deco and Art Nouveau— Fraipont is able to touch a wider audience because of Art Nouveau’s then-controversial movement of seeking to abolish the “traditional” hierarchy of the arts. We see themes of Art Nouveau through the ornate border and natural elements, such as the water, free-flowing lines, and the style of font used on the poster. Respectively, since the poster was made at the start of the shift to Art Deco, we see both styles come through in this lithograph backed on linen. The Art Deco portion of the poster can be seen in the painting of the Chateau that he uses. While he uses sharp lines that contrast with the rest of the organic form, there is still dull color usage which wasn’t common of true Art Deco technique.


The poster features three distinct sections:

1. Starting from the top of the poster you first see the sunset from the Grotte across the moat Douves.

2.  Next, the three stallions pictured above the main building, and

3. Lastly, the Château de Chantilly itself.

Chantilly Map final.png

Use this map as a reference to the text about Chantilly. Take notice of the way North is facing.

The image presented at the top of the poster would have been painted from the southwest side of the building not far from where the entrance for visitors is now. Fraipont, more than likely stood near the Grotte and painted Château as the sunset passed overhead. Following in the styles of art nouveau, Fraipont may have wished to capture the naturalness of the sunset around the Chateau. The water pictured around the building is the moat Douves, which runs around the entirety of the Chateau. Further, the second image presented of the three stallions was meant to represent the Chateau’s long history with horses: “The building houses the “Museum of the Horse,” which presents the relationship between men and horses since the beginning of civilization. The Great Stables offer equestrian shows throughout the year, devoted to the art of haute-école horse training which has been contributing to Chantilly's international renown for more than 30 years.”[1] Lastly, the main portrait on the poster was more than likely painted from the Northside of the moat Douves a few meters away from the La Gerbe. The photo captures the three main cupolae and the ornate design of the building. In this portrait Fraipont paid heavy attention to the detail of the building—which is a practice of Art Deco— he used the organic-inspired design of the water below to add rigidity and contrast to the Château itself. Fraipont very obviously wanted to draw on the subtle beauty of the landscape and architecture itself without using overbearing color to intensify the reaction. Rather, we get the color from the embellished border.

[1] Sensio, Extreme. Domaine De Chantilly. Accessed December 02, 2020.