Francois de Cuvillies
Cuvilliés was recalled to Munich, where he was to carry out his finest works, prompting the dissemination of the Rococo style throughout Bavaria, including the Reiche Zimmer (State Room) in the Munich Residenz (Seat of the Court), executed from 1730 to 1737, and acclaimed as among the finest of European Rococo achievements before being badly damaged during the 1939–45 war. From 1733 he was involved in the building of the Archiepiscopal Palais Königsfeld (or Holnstein), Munich (completed 1737), and, at the same time, in preparing the plans of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Schäftlarn, south of Munich. However, his finest creation is unquestionably the Amalienburg in the grounds of Schloss Nymphenburg (1734–9): this is an exquisite single-storey hunting-pavilion with a balcony (a tir aux faisans from which pheasants could be shot) over the central circular saloon, part of which extends outwards in a bow in the centre of the entrance-façade. The enchanting Rococo interior decorations, with blue, yellow, and straw-coloured walls enriched with refined silvered embellishments, and enlivened with mirrors and Chinoiserie motifs, are outstanding, although J. B. Zimmermann was responsible for the stucco-work.
Cuvilliés was called in as a consultant by the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne to advise on the building of the Collegiate Church of St Michael, at Berg-am-Laim, Munich (1738–51), J. M. Fischer being the architect, and, around 1737, designed the lovely high-altar for the former Augustinian (now Parish) Church at Diessen, also by Fischer.
The Livre de Cartouches (Book of Cartouches) marked the start of a series of publications by Cuvilliés from 1738 featuring illustrations of ornamental designs for cartouches, ceilings, frames, and entire rooms, with furnishings and panels. Other publications, featuring designs for mirrors, chandeliers, and a great deal more, followed from 1745, and from 1756 yet another series, this time featuring architectural designs, came out. These works were hugely influential in Central Europe. By the mid-1740s his advice was being sought by many patrons, and he was involved in the designs for Schlösser at Haimhausen, near Munich (from 1747), and Wilhelmstal, near Kassel (from 1750—a restrained Classical design), but his finest works were in and around Munich. His Residenz-Theater, Munich (1750–3), is one of the most beautiful small theatres in the world, bursting with the type of ornament he had published in various Livres: it was badly damaged in 1944, but was reconstructed in 1958, albeit on a different site within the Residenz complex. His appointment as Oberhofbaumeister by the Elector Maximilian III Joseph (1745–77) came late in his career, after he had rebuilt the central room at Schloss Nymphenburg (1756–7), and he did not live long after. His last work was the completion of the façade of the Theatinerkirche (St Kajetan, the church of the Theatine Order) in Munich (1767). His son, François-Joseph-Ludwig (1731–77), produced many of the illustrations for his father's publications, and seems to have been largely responsible for the third series of the 1750s in which Rococo and Neo-Classicism merged. He reissued many of his father's designs in his École de l'Architecture Bavaroise (from 1770).
Braunfels (1938, 1986);
F. Wolf (1967)
Cuvilliès, François de
François de Cuvilliès (fräNswä´ də küvēyĕs´), 1695–1768, French architect, decorator, and engraver. He introduced into Germany the rococo style of decoration then popular in France. He became architect to Charles Albert, elector of Bavaria, and, when the latter became Emperor Charles VII (1742), was appointed architect to the imperial court. His two foremost works, both at Munich, were the Residenz-Theater (1751–53) and the pavilion called the Amalienburg, in the park of Nymphenburg. The brilliant interiors of the pavilion represent the highest achievements of German rococo decoration.