Zuber & Cie

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West side of the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House showing the panoramic Zuber & Cie wallpaper Scenes of North America.

Zuber & Cie, founded as Jean Zuber et Cie is a French Manufacture de Papier Peints et Tissus (French for: painted wallpaper and fabrics) company which claims to be the last factory in the world to produce woodblock printed wallpapers and furnishing fabrics.

Since its founding in 1797 by Jean Zuber, Zuber & Cie has maintained its headquarters at Rixheim, France. The Frederick Post reported that Jean Zuber's wallpapers were so respected that King Louis Philippe honored him with the Legion of Honor in 1834, the year that Scenic America was printed,”.

For its production, Zuber & Cie uses woodblocks (more than 100,000) engraved during the 17th 18, and 19th centuries. Zuber & Cie's panoramic wallpapers include Vue de l'Amérique du Nord, Eldorado, Hindoustan, les Guerres d'Independence, and Isola Bella. Zuber & Cie also produces dado borders, friezes, and ceiling papers, some depicting faux representations of architectural details, drapery, fringe, and tassels. Zuber & Cie has showrooms in Paris and Nice, New York, Los Angeles, London and Dubai.

During the presidency of John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on recommendation of historian Henry Francis du Pont had an antique copy of the panoramic wallpaper Vue de l'Amérique du Nord, (designed in 1834) installed in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. The wallpaper had been on the walls of a parlor in the Federal period Jones House in Maryland until 1961 when the house was demolished for a grocery store. Just before the demolition, the wallpaper was salvaged and sold to the White House. As with many 18th century wallpapers, this panorama is designed to be hung above a dado. The formal dining room at the Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is also decorated with the Vue de l'Amérique du Nord.

Another example is in the spectacular Shakespeare Chateau in St Joseph Missouri. The main parlor of the mansion (now operating as a Bed & Breakfast) contains a complete set of Zuber panels. The fragility of these historic panels is visible in selected areas where water seepage has discolored or damaged portions of the paper. So rare and significant is this wallpaper that it has been left intact in its damaged state.

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References[edit]

  • Abbott James A., and Elaine M. Rice. Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration. Van Nostrand Reinhold: 1998. ISBN 0-442-02532-7.
  • Seale, William, The White House: The History of an American Idea. White House Historical Association: 1992, 2001. ISBN 0-912308-85-0.
  • The White House: An Historic Guide. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 2001. ISBN 0-912308-79-6.

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