But so much in the collection is French and is reminiscent of the arts of living in 18th century France (if you were an aristocrat or/ had lots of money).
There is Francois Boucher's delicious painting of Marie-Louise O’Murphy, one of the many young mistresses of Louis XV.
Their collection of 18th century English and French porcelain
Prints such at Jean-Guillame Moiette's "Sacrafice to Diana." Pen and brown ink with white heightening on blue paper (later 18th century). Below
Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684–1721). The Foursome (La Partie Quarrée), ca. 1713. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, Mildred Anna Williams Collection. 1977.8
Ranked among the greatest artists of France, Jean-Antoine Watteau’s enigmatic themes were popular, influential, and widely collected during his lifetime. Born in Valenciennes, then part of Flanders, his intensely personal style was informed by the Venetian masters, whom he studied in Paris, and by a deep affinity for music and theater.
In this painting, known as a fête galantes, the artist evokes an arcadian dreamland of music, conversation and amorous dalliance. Although the work’s title can be defined simply as a party with two couples, the risqué implications of The Foursome remains unchanged from the eighteenth century. This union of observation and fantasy, plus ambiguity of intent and erotic connotations is characteristic of Watteau’s best work.
Dalliance in the salon? Mais bien sûr! As well as politics, witty repartee and all the arts that made this era so delicious for the privileged.
But, lacking Dr. Who's telephone box or a time travel machine, being at the Legion and walking through the elegant rooms is one of the only ways we have to mentally reconstruct that world at it's most gilded and sumptuous.