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Gustave Navlet’s works in the Pommery {crayères}

These huge tableaux are sculpted directly in the soft chalk of the deepest crayères, up to 15m in length and 6m in height. The chiaroscuro lighting created by the light shafts makes them look particularly spectacular, bringing out the bacchanalian themes that inspired their creation: "Silenus" and his Mad Maenads court in 1884; the "Festivals of Bacchus", an allegory of the five senses in 1883.

The sculptures form part of the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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"Un souper sous la Régence" is his most delicately engraved piece, an evocation of Champagne in the 18th Century dating from 1883. At the foot of the great staircase, visitors are greeted by a work on a smaller scale, in the spirit of the Renaissance Putti: the "Maraudeurs" of 1882. These bas-reliefs soon became one of the estate’s main attractions, and the high point of a visit to the cellars. They give these already astonishing spaces an entirely surreal dimension, playing off each other perfectly to create a unique impression in the mind of the visitor. With every step, there is a growing sense that wine making at Pommery is itself art on a daily basis.

In March 1889 Madame Pommery received a proposal from the Compagnie Continentale Edison “to quote for the installation of electricity”. Thus did the ‘electric fairy’ make her appearance, bringing new magic as she danced and twirled among the shadows. Gustave Navlet had meanwhile been working by candle light for more than two years.

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  • Un souper sous la Régence - 1883
  • « Angelots en maraude » de 1883