FROM THE BLOG:
“French Green or is it Paris Green? Either Way, the Fabulous yet Formerly Lethal Hue Inspires our Modern Oushak Collection”
“Arsenic Green,” everyone’s favorite shade of Farrow & Ball, has an interesting history that pre-dates luxury paint studios. “Arsenic Green” is essentially French or Paris Green, the color you find painted and weathered on shutters across the countryside and in the ornate palaces throughout France.
That beautiful viridescent hue was created by combining copper acetate and arsenic trioxide. In the same color and chemical family is Scheele’s Green, or copper arsenide. Yes, arsenic.
What’s amazing is that from the late 1700s to even the turn of the 20th century, these chemical compounds were used in everything from fashion and decor to pesticides, newspapers and painters pigments.
Would you believe that Napoleon in his exile to St. Helena, painted all the walls his favorite bright green color… Scheele’s Green!! As he reposed in exile, he poisoned himself unknowingly.
While the poisonous hues of emerald, forest, sage and willow have been replaced with a much, ahem, healthier paint chemistry, the famous shades of green have endured and become a signature part of the French landscape. Take a look at any public garden, the shutters through the South of France, in paintings and porcelain and you will see that famous French green.
Cezanne once famously said, “A touch of green, believe me, is enough to give us landscape. Art has a harmony which parallels that of nature.”
When we moved to Paris a year ago, I began my design work from the streets of Paris— walking and taking photos in the Quartier Latin, Le Marais, around our neighborhood of the 6eme arrondissement, displays of de Gournay onRue des Saints-Pères and Pierre Frey on Rue de Furstenburg. I chose to work from the old cafés with their marbled tabletops, caned chairs and views of scenes both simple and ornate, historically significant and pleasantly mundane.
It is from these moments, these scènes of modern Paris and the tales of history that I drew inspiration for our newest Farmer Collection.
Here are a few of our newest Oushak additions, all inspired by French Green and the streets of Paris.