PARIS — Francis Kurkdjian’s olfactive installation was unveiled Wednesday at the Grand Palais museum here, decorating the Clemenceau entryway leading into the first retrospective in France of painter Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, who died in 1842.
The perfumer, working with production designer Séverine Baehrel, framed the door with a 49-foot-high mirror festooned with metallic roses.
Kurkdjian has long had an affinity with the flower. In July 2014, he launched first in Japan the fragrance À La Rose, which was directly inspired by Vigée Le Brun’s portrait of Marie-Antoinette, for his eponymous fragrance house.
Kurkdjian’s piece at the Grand Palais is meant to link concepts of the rose, the art of portraiture and the epoch when Vigée Le Brun was painting at the Château de Versailles.
The idea of a mirror came about because Vigée Le Brun used to place one behind her while working, so she could compare a model’s reflection against what was in her own painting. It also gives a nod to Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors.
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A rose fragrance, especially created by Kurkdjian for the exhibition, is emitted from either side of the Grand Palais’ door.
The installation will remain up through the Vigée Le Brun exhibit’s run, which ends Jan. 11, 2016.
Kurkdjian has created numerous olfactive installations in the past, including for the Château de Versailles.
This year, he marks 20 years of working as a perfumer.