0251 La guerre des brevets : histoire et produits de la manufacture de papiers peints Paul Balin

  • Wivine Wailliez (Author)

    Wivine Wailliez graduated as a conservator-restorer from the Institut national du Patrimoine in Paris and holds a Master of Advanced Studies in Medieval History and Archaeology from the Université de Lyon II. She specializes in the study of interior finishes of built heritage and is, amongst others, responsible for the inventory of wallpaper at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels (IRPA-KIK). Her current research focuses on wallpaper from the periods of Historicism to WWII, and more particularly on relief wallpaper.

  • Véronique De Bruignac-La Hougue (Author)

    Véronique de Bruignac-La Hougue was head of the Wallpaper department of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 1983 to 2017, and is now Honorary Chief Curator. She published numerous articles and books on printed fabrics and wallpaper, amongst which Le papier peint, collection Arts et Techniques, Paris 1995, and Arts et artistes du papier peint en France – Répertoire alphabétique, Montreuil 2007. She also contributed to several catalogues or books, such as Joseph Dufour – Génie des papiers peints, ed. Denys Prache, Paris 2016. She was commissioner for the exhibitions "Faire le mur – 4 siècles de papier peint" and "Pierre Frey – tissus inspirés" at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 2016.

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Paul Balin, the head of one of the most famous French wallpaper manufactories from the second half of the 19th century, championed historicism in the wallpaper domain. Having taken over the Genoux manufacture in 1863, he was awarded at the 1867 Paris World Exhibition and again in Vienna in 1873. His relentless endeavor to improve the embossing process, the use of metallic finishes and the imitations of textiles had led him to file up to 15 patents between 1866 and 1884. His manufacturing processes were exclusively pre-industrial methods, executed by hand. A stubborn and fierce competitor, he brought infringement lawsuits against the whole profession from 1876 until at least 1885. Several European museums keep his productions, among which three collections have been acquired directly after his Grand diplôme d’honneur award in Vienna.