Pierre-Charles Duvivier was the son of Nicolas Duvivier, inspecteur of the Savonnerie Manufactory. He in his turn also became inspecteur and then the Entrepreneur de la fabrique des tapis et autres ouvrages de Perse et du Levant en la manufactorie Royale dite de la Savonnerie etablie à Chaillot. The Savonnerie was the property of the King but was run under the contracting system by a single entrepreneur after 1714. Thus Duvivier wholly owned all the machines, the stock, and the models or cartoons as well as the wool.
In December 1752 Pierre-Charles married Marie Jeanne Colombe Gromaire by whom he had three children. He died at the Manufactory on August 25th 1788. After his retirement from the Manufactory he was succeeded by his son Nicolas Cyprien(1749-1807) to whom he sold, shortly before the latter's marriage in 1774, 20,000 livres worth of stock of the Manufactory that included: plus pour les dessins tant de fauteuils, écrans, canapés, portières et tapis tant en huile qu'en detrempe prises 542 livres.
It would appear that only two portières were ever delivered. The portière in this lot is therefore most probably the one listed in an État de différents morceaux qui sont faits, et qui sont à vendre written by Duvivier in the mid-18th century:
No. 3 une autre (portiere) representante le coq et la perle portante 2 au 4 pei 1/2...sur 1 au 5s 3/4..., à 220 livres l'678 l. Item No. 2 in this list is une grande portière aux animaux.
Both of these portières remained in Duvivier's family until 1904 when following a family division each passed to a different branch of the family.
Although the Savonnerie workshops are most reknowned for the magnificent carpets produced during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the factory also produced other forms of furnishing fabrics in the pile-woven technique. These objects included upholestry for furniture, panels for fire-screens, panels for room screens and, in at least one instance, coverings for a small casket (see Verlet, op. cit., p.86). It must be noted, however, that these other products are extremely rare, even within the already rare group of 17th and 18th century Savonnerie carpets, as the Savonnerie's production was mainly devoted to the weaving of carpets. Since only two portières are known to have been woven at the Savonnerie during the 18th century, it is likely that either the form met with ambivalence by buyers or were woven for another reason. The extreme quality of the present portière, in combination with the fact that both known portières remained prize possessions of the Duvivier family for generations, may indicate that it was woven by Duvivier as a showpiece of the artistic capabilities of the Savonnerie. Another panel, mistakenly also called a portière, woven in silk by the Dupont Savonnerie workshop between 1682 and 1685 and now in the Louvre, seems to have been woven as such an exercise in viruosity. This earlier panel was ordered by Louis XIV with no precise purpose and Dupont delivered the piece at his cost (see Verlet, op. cit., p.88, fig. 52 and footnote 17). It is quite possible that Duvivier knew of the Dupont piece and produced the present example to demonstrate that he could match, or surpass, the achievements of the past. Interestingly, both pieces are similar in overall layout and share some similar motifs. The Dupont piece, however, is fully baroque in its realization, whereas the Duvivier portière is a pure celebration of the newly established rococo style.
This portière is in remarkable condition, most likely because of its long history with the Duvivier family. It is extremely rare to find early products of the Savonnerie remaining in their original condition. The jewel-like coloration and the superlative execution of design, in combination with its unique history and outstanding condition make this portière one of the finest and most important examples of 18th century Savonnerie weaving remaining today.