Balloons in the Grand Palais

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Autochrome by Léon Gimpel.

The Grand Palais exhibition hall in Paris is one of the few sites remaining from the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (see yesterday’s post), and is still in use today as a venue for art exhibits, fashion shows and the like. The huge and graceful canopy ceiling makes it a far better venue for art events than the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern, London, which suffers from being narrow, lightless and bisected by a concrete walkway.

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Nine years after the Exposition the first Paris Air Show was held at the Grand Palais giving us these photos of the place filled with a variety of balloons and a blimp. I’m wondering now whether you could fit an entire Zeppelin inside the nave (probably not), although even if it fit there’d be no way to get it inside without demolishing a wall.

The current Grand Palais site has a section devoted to the history of the building which includes this surprising photo from 1937 showing the Beaux Arts structure covered in a Deco-style disguise.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Paris III: Le Grande Répertoire–Machines de Spectacle

Exposition Universelle photochroms

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Grand entrance.

Every time I think I’ve said enough on this subject something else turns up. I’ve linked before to the Brooklyn Museum’s tinted photographs of the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900 but these photochom prints at the Library of Congress are so sharp, detailed and subtly hued they make all other views seem crude in comparison. If you’ve seen earlier views of the exposition buildings then everything here is very familiar, albeit more lifelike than anything you’ll find elsewhere. In addition to the greater veracity, the Library of Congress also makes many of its pictures available as high-quality files. These prints and the few minutes of film footage is the closest you’ll get to this event without a time machine.

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Champs de Mars.

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Le Chateau d’eau and plaza.

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The Palais Lumineux.

Continue reading “Exposition Universelle photochroms”

Further echoes of Aubrey

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Dorian Gray (1924) by Otto Verhagen (1885–1951).

If you need an idea of the colossal impact Aubrey Beardsley’s drawing had on the art world of the 1890s consider that the entirety of his career—from his first public exposure in The Studio in 1893 to his very untimely death in 1898—lasted a mere five years. Decades afterwards artists around the world were still imitating his style. The later disciples are so numerous and so widespread it’s no surprise if some have yet to be fully acknowledged by subsequent generations. Sander Bink who maintains the Rond1900 site sent copies of these drawings (from Lopende Vuurtjes, Verloren Publishers, 2012) and provided some information about the artists:

Verhagen was a government official for most of his life and seems to have led a very respected life and made his Beardsley-esque work privately, no expositions as far is I know. Gockinga appears to have led a more interesting life: born in Indonesia, lived in Holland 1908–1922, the Indonesia (Java) again, then New York, and the Indonesia and after wwii Amsterdam, probably homosexual. Had one exposition of his work in 1917.

Sander’s site has further examples of Verhagen’s drawings, and he says that both artists were probably inspired by Carel (or Karel) de Nerée, some of whose work was featured here a while back. Always good to have the dots joined. Verhagen’s Dorian Gray is a curious piece; in style it’s a little like the angular drawings that Beresford Egan was producing in the 1920s, while the subject can’t be Dorian himself unless it’s a rendering of his aged portrait. As for Gockinga’s drawing, it’s a lot more faithful to Beardsley’s early style (complete with phallic extrusions) than the poor Nichols fakes that appeared in 1919. If you want a successful forgery it’s always best to find someone with talent.

(Thanks Sander!)

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Old lady with ghost (c.1916) by René Gockinga (1893–1962).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive
The Oscar Wilde archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
A Wilde Night
Echoes of Aubrey
After Beardsley by Chris James
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
The art of Karel de Nerée tot Babberich, 1880–1909
Beardsley’s Rape of the Lock
The Savoy magazine
Beardsley at the V&A
Merely fanciful or grotesque
Aubrey Beardsley’s musical afterlife
Aubrey by John Selwyn Gilbert
“Weirdsley Daubery”: Beardsley and Punch
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé

Albert Robida’s Vieux Paris

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After several posts about Albert Robida it seems more-or-less mandatory to write something about his spectacular creation for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. “Vieux Paris” was an elaborate theme park-style attraction which sought to recreate some of the lost buildings of medieval Paris on the right bank of the Seine, a short distance from the Trocadero. (The international pavilions were situated on the opposite bank.) Robida is remembered today for his science fiction but he was given this job as a result of books such as Paris de siècle en siècle; le coeur de Paris, splendeurs et souvenirs (1896) which explored life in the historic city. Vieux Paris was planned by the artist, with the buildings being created by a team of architects under the direction of Léon Benouville. As with modern theme parks, teams of actors and other staff were costumed in order to convey the requisite period flavour. The birds-eye drawing is the best view I’ve seen of the construction, the pages being from Albert Quantin’s L’Exposition du siècle.

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From the Brooklyn Museum’s Flickr set.

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Photo by Michel Berthaud at Luna Commons.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The End of Books, 1894
Le Vingtième Siècle by Albert Robida
La Vie Électrique by Albert Robida
The Lumière Brothers at the Exposition Universelle
Le Grand Globe Céleste, 1900
Tony Grubhofer’s Exposition Universelle sketches
The Cambodian Pavilion, Paris, 1900
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

Le Grand Globe Céleste, 1900

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I’m sure I’ll run out of things to say on this subject eventually but it’s showing no sign of happening yet. In an exposition with its fair share of unusual buildings, the Grand Globe Céleste in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900 was one of the more notable constructions. An enormous globe built on the banks of the Seine close to the Champs de Mars, the Grand Globe Céleste was some 50 meters in diameter with its attractions including a restaurant and an exhibition space in the interior showing planetary orbits and maps of the stars. Enormous globes became a common feature of later world’s fairs which makes me wonder whether this example was the first of its kind. A far larger structure was proposed for the 1893 exposition in Chicago but never built.

The poster here is from the archives at Gallica. Searching around for other images turned up a wiki I hadn’t come across before devoted to the Exposition Universelle. The page there for the Grand Globe has a picture of one of the exposition’s tragedies caused when a footbridge leading to the attraction collapsed, killing five people. (The intact footbridge can be seen on this view facing towards the river.)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Tony Grubhofer’s Exposition Universelle sketches
The Cambodian Pavilion, Paris, 1900
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