The Cambodian Pavilion, Paris, 1900

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Despite being one of the most striking and beautiful national pavilions in the Exposition Universelle of 1900, the Cambodian building seldom features isn’t featured in any of the exposition guides I’ve seen. These photos are from the excellent set of William Henry Goodyear views presented by the Brooklyn Museum at Flickr. If it wasn’t for the people visible in the picture below (and the Parisian lamp-post) you wouldn’t know these were from the exposition at all.

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Another trace of Cambodia appeared via the Tour of the World exhibition where a variety of “exotic” buildings were forced to occupy the same plot of ground. This group does appear in the guides, the view here being from L’Exposition du Siècle by Albert Quantin. The multi-story confection dominating this scene may superficially resemble some of the Angkor temples, but for me it’s more reminiscent of buildings like the Casa Milà which Antoni Gaudí was constructing in Barcelona a few years later.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Le Manoir a l’Envers
Suchard at the Exposition Universelle
Esquisses Décoratives by René Binet
Le Palais de l’Optique, 1900
Exposition Universelle films
Exposition jewellery
Exposition Universelle catalogue
Exposition Universelle publications
Exposition cornucopia
Return to the Exposition Universelle
The Palais Lumineux
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
Exposition Universelle, 1900

Atelier Elvira

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Atelier Elvira (1897-98).

Seeing as there’s been a run of Art Nouveau-related posts here it’s worth mentioning a location that’s familiar to students of the Jugendstil but less well-known to the world at large. August Endell’s Atelier Elvira was a Munich studio building whose exterior decoration of a very stylised dragon creature manages to be even more exaggerated than similar work by Antoni Gaudí. Munich was the centre of German arts and crafts and produced much home-grown Art Nouveau but this eruption of bizarre plasterwork in an otherwise mundane street was still surprising. The façade was painted green, as in the tinted photo above, and the dragon painted different colours each year, yellow, red and so on.

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The ironwork street entrance.

Needless to say, not everyone looked upon this kind of challenging décor favourably. In 1937 the Nazi Oberbürgermeister complained about the “hideous façade disrupting the character of the rest of the street” and had the dragon design chipped off the wall. Allied bombs did for the rest a few years later so these pictures are all that we have left.

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