Charles Percier

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Percier, Charles (- Charles Bassant) (1764–1838). French Neo-Classical architect who studied with A. -F. Peyre and in Rome before establishing an architectural practice with Fontaine in Paris in 1794. As Percier & Fontaine the firm became the leading architects of the Napoleonic period, and was largely responsible for the creation of the Empire style, the epitome of which was at Malmaison, with its celebrated tent-room and other ravishing interiors (1799–1803). In 1801 the two men were appointed Architects to the Government, designed the interiors of the Tuileries and St-Cloud Palaces, and extended the Louvre, Paris. They also laid out the Rue de Rivoli, Paris, with its arcaded ground-floors, and carried out extensive works at Fontainebleau, Compiègne, and Versailles. Their Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (1806–8) shows their mastery of Roman Antique Classicism and refinement of detail. Their Palais, maisons, et autres édifices modernes dessinés à Rome (Palaces, Houses, and Other Modern Buildings Designed in Rome—1798) and Receuil de décorations intérieures, comprenant tout ce qui a rapport à l'ameublement (Compendium of Interior Decorations, Comprising all that Relates to Furnishing—1801) were influential throughout Europe and America, and ensured the Empire style was widely disseminated.


Biver (1963, 1964);
Duportal (1931);
Jervis (1994);
Middleton & and Watkin (1987);
Jane Turner (1996);
D. Watkin (1986)

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Charles Percier (shärl pĕrsyā´), 1764–1838, French architect. He won (1786) the Grand Prix de Rome, and in 1794 he became associated with Pierre François Léonard Fontaine. Napoleon appointed them as government architects, and this post lasted until the emperor's fall. In the development of the Empire style under Napoleon's official sponsorship, Percier and Fontaine became its official interpreters, not only for Paris but also in Antwerp, Brussels, and Rome, where they designed many residences. They worked (1802–12) on the palaces of the Louvre and the Tuileries, designed the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and did alterations and decorations for the imperial châteaux of Versailles, Malmaison, Compiègne, and Saint-Cloud. As interior decorators they designed every detail of furniture, fabric, hardware, and wallpaper in conformity with Empire motives. The partnership dissolved in 1814, and Percier thereafter conducted a student atelier. With Fontaine he published several books on architecture in Rome and interior decoration.