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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. They illustrate various bacchanalian scenes: "Silenus" and his Mad Maenads court in 1884; the "Festivals of Bacchus", an allegory of the five senses in 1883. Their impact is all the more astonishing in the half-light that prevails in the crayères..

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 are 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 strange dimension. Put the two together, and visitors might well come to think that the making of wine at Pommery is itself art on a basis.

The show becomes even more magial when the "electric fairy" starts to play in the shadows of the vaults. In March 1889, the Compagnie Continentale Edison offered Madame Pommery a "proposal to install electricity". Gustave Navlet had meanwhile been working by candle light for more than two years.

Portfolio

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