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Zero Hero Speaker Series:  Reaching For Zero
February 26, 2020, 12pm to 1pm

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Zuber: The Art of French Scenic Wallpaper

New Exhibition Features Hand-Block Printed Panoramic Wallpaper from Nineteenth-Century Designs

Scenic wallpapers enjoyed a golden era in both Europe and North America from the first decade of the 1800s until the 1860s, though they remained in print well after this period. This unique wallpaper created a breathtaking panoramic experience with all the walls in a room covered with non-repeating scenes. These mural-like papers transformed rooms, providing the opportunity for viewers to be swept away to an exotic place or immersed in an exciting period in history.

From 1804 to 1860, Jean Zuber (1773–1852) and his successors offered twenty-five different scenic papers. One of the earliest, L’Hindoustan (1807), is an idealized portrait of India in vivid colors. Years later, Les Lointains (1825) offered viewers a romantic, classical composition in grisaille featuring architectural elements dotting a tranquil garden, followed by Décor Chinois (1832), which depicts a vibrant botanical Chinese landscape. In 1834, Zuber introduced Les Vues d’Amérique du Nord (Views of North America), a romanticized portrait of the New World designed by Jean-Julien Deltil (1791–1863). The scenic paper captured the nation’s attention more than a century later when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy installed a historic set in the White House in 1961. During the 1840s and ’50s, Zuber et Cie emphasized indigenous flora and fauna in several panoramic papers. One of the most enchanting, Eldorado, first introduced in 1849, features lush vegetation and showcases the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. This exhibition presents a complete set of Views of North America as well as individual panels from L’Hindoustan, Eldorado, Les Lointains, and Décor Chinois.

Visit https://www.sfomuseum.org/exhibitions/zuber-scenic-wallpaper for more information.  

Zuber: The Art of French Scenic Wallpaper is located pre-security in the International Terminal, Departures Level, San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is accessible to the public from August 17, 2019, to April 27, 2020.