Works of art in the home reflect an owner's taste and interests and bring warmth, texture and personality to the private realm. But with so many choices available, decisions can be daunting. The best advice is to combine the knowledge of a specialist with your own intuition in acquiring a work of art. Qualified dealers offer their expertise, practical counsel and passion to help the collector decide where to begin. Charles Plante continues the tradition of presenting catalogued exhibitions on architecture, gardens and interiors begun the 1950's in New York and from the 1970's in London. His role in this tradition has been acknowledged by the experts such as Professor David Watkin --"the tradition has now been splendidly revived by Charles Plante,"-- and John Harris-- "Charles Plante is surely alone as a dealer who can show something of every category" always a gallimaufry of delight. He is therefore acknowledged as one of the few specialist dealers in architectural drawings of the period.
Charles Plante, director of Charles Plante Fine Arts, established the firm in 1988 and deals in European works of art from the 18th and 19th centuries, especially the neoclassical period, c. 1760-1840. He specializes in watercolour drawings of architecture, gardens and interiors, oil sketches on paper and small paintings, handsomely presented in frames of the period. He also offers “Grand Tour” works of art and sculpture, as well as French Empire and English Regency porcelain. Throughout the range of offer, an emphasis is placed on quality, condition, authenticity and provenance, and therefore frequently meeting museum standards and have been included in major public collections worldwide. Works from the cabinet of Charles Plante Fine Arts remain special and individually meaningful, each having a different tale to tell, ranging from the intimate to the sublime, from the charming to the spectacular.
Charles Plante was for many years a member of the BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS ASSOCIATION and is now a member of the LONDON AND PROVINCIAL ART AND ANTIQUE DEALERS ASSOCIATION.
The Neoclassical Style
Neoclassicism emerged during the eighteenth-century, the Age of Enlightenment. It used the tools of history and archaeology to turn the focus anew on the legacy of ancient Greece and Rome. This high-minded idealism valued simplicity and purity of form in art and architecture, thought of as the "True Style," a reassertion of timeless truths of antique models. It quickly became an international visual language and was adopted as official style by Napoleonic France and by the American Republic.
In France, the Louis XVI and Directoire styles were followed by the Empire, especially as refined through the study of Italian Renaissance sources by Charles Percier and Pierre F-L Fontaine. In England, the architects Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and Sir John Soane drew on the material culture of the "Grand Tour" tradition for inspiration. The influential collector Thomas Hope used archaeological sources in his designs for furniture, a taste popularised under the Regency. In America, the Federal and Empire styles suited the bold new Republic. French style was widely disseminated around Europe: In Sweden it influenced Gustav III, in Russia it enthused the "art-possessed" Catherine the Great, and in Germanic lands it was embraced by many princes and patrons, with the Biedermeier later proving the perfect style for the middle classes. Stylistic choice broadened after 1815, as the Gothic Revival and the Italianate style burgeoned, in an eclecticism mirrored in today's post-modern architecture and interior decoration.
Interest in Neoclassical high art is seen in recent exhibitions including: “Thomas Hope: Regency Collector” (London 2008), “William Beckford” (London 2001), "Sir John Soane" (London 1999), “Treasures of the Czars" (Paris 1998), "Sir William Chambers"(London 1997), "Visions of Antiquity: Neoclassical Figure Drawings" (Los Angeles 1993), "Napoleon" (Memphis 1993), "Classical Taste in America: 1800-1840" (Baltimore 1994), " Un Age d'Or des Arts Decoratifs: 1814-1848 ” (Paris 1991), "Karl Friedrich Schinkel" (London 1991),. The founding show in this series was “The Age of Neoclassicism”(London and Paris 1972) and the publications of Mario Praz. More everyday evidence on historic interiors and design in the exhibitions like “Home and Garden: Paintings and Drawings of English, middle-class, urban domestic spaces 1675 to 1914” (Geffrye Museum, London 2003) clearly draws heavily on Charles Plante’s own contribution to the subject.
This is reflected in Charles Plante's exhibitions and catalogues from "Inside Out: Historic Watercolour Drawings, Oil Sketches and Paintings of Interiors and Exteriors 1780-1880" (London 2000) to his recent single owner sale entitled: Town & Country Perspectives: The Charles Plante Collection, Christies, South Kensington, London (June 2008) reflects the latest state of his collecting. (see PUBLICATIONS)
Neoclassicism is not only a style well suited for interior decoration and architecture but also an unrivalled source for decorative arts including silver, porcelain, jewelry, fabrics, frames, glass, lighting and furniture. Charles Plante Fine Arts offers an exceptional variety in paintings and decorative works of art from the exclusive and expensive to the genuinely affordable.
About Charles Plante
Charles Plante’s most recent success was the notable and successful single owner sale at Christies, London entitled, Town & Country Perspectives: The Charles Plante Collection. This reflects the most recent development of his collecting into the C20 up to his cut-off date of 1959, as well as his long established and widely recognized role as a collector since 1988 when he first established CHARLES PLANTE FINE ARTS DEALERS. He quickly established himself in the highly specialized and demanding world of international art trade, making a reputation for beautifully presented and thoroughly researched objects presented in recreated in period surroundings at exhibitions and in a series of authoritative catalogues since 2000. He is therefore acknowledged as one of the few specialist dealers in architectural drawings of the period.
Plante has sold to private collectors at numerous exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic since 1988. He has also sold to public collections worldwide, including the British Museum, the Geffrye Museum, the National Trust, the National Gallery (London), the Saint Helena Government, the National Museum of Wales, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection, Historic Royal Palaces, the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. .
Plante has lectured and published articles and books on the subject on both sides of the Atlantic: INSIDE OUT: Historic Watercolour Drawings, Oil Sketches and Paintings of Interiors and Exteriors 1780-1880 (London 2000), Designs for Gilt Bronze Objects from the French Restoration 1814-1830: Clocks, Candelabra, Chandeliers, Wall Sconces and Inkstands (London 2002), A French Alphabet Book of 1814 for Alfred Bourdier de Beauregard created by his uncle Arnaud at the Chateau de Beaumont de Beauregard (London 2004), and Tools of the Trade:Watercolours of metalwork from the Biedermeier period (London 2006).
Charles Plante received a MA Honors degree in History of Art from the University of Cambridge, with a focus on Neoclassical Art and Architectural History, following his BA degree from Connecticut College.
2011 New York Exhibition: Girls Indoors: Red chalk drawings and European watercolours from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, at Mallett, 929 Madison Avenue at 74th Street, New York City
(March 1 through 31 2011)
2011 London Exhibitions: The Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair, London
(Summer and Winter Fairs, from 1993 through 2011)
2011 Miami Beach Exhibition: Miami Beach Antiques Show, Miami, Florida
(February 3-7, 2011)
2010 New York Exhibition: Three-hundred pictures spanning three-hundred years: 1650-1950, at Mallett, 929 Madison Avenue at 74th Street, New York City
(January 20 to February 20, 2010)
2010 Baltimore Exhibition: Baltimore Antiques Show, Baltimore, Maryland
(September 1-6, 2011)
2008 London Exhibition: Town & Country Perspectives: The Charles Plante Collection, Christies, South Kensington, London
(June 4, 2008)
2007 New York Exhibition: Tools of the Trade: Watercolours of metalwork from the Biedermeier period and The Grand Tour in Watercolours, at Mallett, 929 Madison Avenue at 74th Street, New York City
(January 17 to March 17, 2007)
2004-2005 New York Exhibition: Our Mirrored Past: Bricks, Flowers and Likenesses in Watercolours and Drawings 1750-1900, at The Florian Papp Gallery, New York City
(December 1, 2004 to January 22, 2005)
2004 Palm Beach Exhibition: The Palm Beach Art & Antiques Show, Palm Beach, Florida
(February 13-17, 2004)
2003-2004 New York Exhibition: Bringing Home the Grand Tour: European Watercolour Drawings of Architecture, Gardens and Interiors 1750-1900, at The Florian Papp Gallery, New York City
(December 3, 2003 to January 23, 2004)
2002-2003 New York Exhibition: Designs for Gilt Bronze Objects from the French Restoration 1814-1830: Clocks, Candelabra, Chandeliers, Sconces and Inkstands at The Shepherd Gallery, New York City
(December 10, 2002 to February 15, 2003)
2002 New York Exhibition: The Fall Fair: International Fine & Decorative Arts, New York
(September 18-23, 2002)
2001-2002 London Exhibitions: The British Antique Dealer's Association Fair, London
(March 2001 & 2002)
2001-2004 Nantucket Exhibitions: The Nantucket Historical Society Antiques Show, Massachusetts
2000 London Exhibition: Inside Out: Historic Watercolour Drawings of Interiors and Exteriors 1780-1880 at Stair and Company, London
(December 12-22, 2000)
1991-1998 London Exhibitions: The World of Watercolours and Drawings Fair, London
1994 New York Exhibition: The International Fine Art Fair, New York
Town & Country Perspectives: The Charles Plante Collection, Christies, South Kensington, London introduction by Charles Plante, June 2008
Tools of the Trade: Watercolours of metalwork from the Biedermeier period, Charles Plante Fine Arts, London 2006
A French Alphabet Book of 1814 for Alfred Bourdier de Beauregard created by his uncle Arnaud at the Chateau de Beaumont de Beauregard, Charles Plante Fine Arts, London 2004
“Collecting Old Drawings,” in Stephanie Hoppen, editor, Picture Perfect: Collecting Art and Photography and displaying it in Your Home, London 2004
Designs for Gilt Bronze Objects from the French Restoration 1814-1830: Clocks, Candelabra, Chandeliers, Wall Sconces and Inkstands, Charles Plante Fine Arts, London 2002
"A Connecticut House,” in Geoffrey Beard, editor, Country Houses and Collections: An Anthology, The Attingham Trust 2002, London 2002
INSIDE OUT: Historic Watercolour Drawings, Oil Sketches and Paintings of Interiors and Exteriors 1780-1880, Charles Plante Fine Arts, London 2000
"Old Designs with Antique Themes," House and Garden Magazine, May 1991
"Edgar de Noailles Mayhew," The New London Day, November 1991
"F.C. Penrose (1817-1903) Athenian Architect", University of Cambridge, Department of History of Art, MA Dissertation
"History in Houses: The Deshon-Allyn House, New London, Connecticut," The Magazine Antiques, Oct 1986