Each year, the Parisian house Hermès, which has existed for 179 years, chooses a theme that runs throughout the collections as a leitmotif. In 2016, wildlife became her. Dubbed Nature at Full Gallop, the theme of the year is a tribute to the French naturalist and artist Robert Dallé, whose drawings now adorn items from a wide variety of Hermès collections: from scarves to wallpaper. Almost unknown even in France, Dalle spent 40 years traveling around the continents of the globe and mainly in Central and South America, studying the behavior and habitats of wild birds and animals and meticulously sketching everything that he saw. An excellent animal painter, Dalle received commissions for illustrations for encyclopedias, atlases and scientific journals. Representatives of the feline family occupy a special place in Dalle's “bestiary” among elephants, monkeys and parrots. Over the course of his life, he painted hundreds of illustrations depicting a variety of species of this family: from the Atlas lion and the Indo-Chinese leopard to the ocelot and marga.
A chance meeting in 1984 at an art salon with Jean-Louis Dumas, then the CEO of Hermès, a man to whom today's Hermès owes so much, turned into an unexpected surprise. Dumas highly appreciated Dalle's drawings, bought several for his personal collection and invited him to try to draw sketches for Hermès scarves. This is how Dalle's collaboration with the Parisian house began, which lasted until the artist's death in 2006.
After 10 years, Hermès decided to restore justice and bring back the name of one of its artists from oblivion. The year kicked off with the opening of the Fierce and Fragile: Big Cats In The Art of Robert Dallet exhibition at the Bruce Museum of Art and Science in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a charity auction. from which were transferred to the Panthera Foundation, dedicated to the protection of these wild animals.
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Big cats, exotic flora and fauna in Dalle can be found in almost every Hermès collection. The classic Jungle Love square with two leopards this year is presented in two monochrome versions - inky blue and orange - reminiscent of a tattoo, for which they received the prefix Tatouage. But scarves and shawls "Panthera Pardus" with the image of a creeping panther according to Dalle's drawing appeared for the first time. The new 35-piece Carnets d'Équateur porcelain collection is adorned with more than a hundred drawings that repeat even the artistic techniques of Dalle's originals, from simple charcoal to gouache. Tigers and panthers are clearly among the favorites of the home collection, showing off on cushions, cashmere blankets, upholstery fabrics and even wallpaper. The most time consuming thing of all dedicated to Robert Dalla was the watch
Hermès L'Arceau Tigre, whose dial is adorned with the familiar tiger's head, made in the most sophisticated shadow enamel technique. It took the craftsmen two years to adapt it to the technical features of the watch.>