The Art and Spirit of Paris by Venceslas KrutaThe Art and Spirit of Paris by Venceslas Kruta

The Art and Spirit of Paris

byVenceslas Kruta, Alain Erlande-BrandenburgEditorChristopher Lyon

Hardcover | November 1, 2003

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A dazzling successor to Abbeville's The Art of Florence, this two-volume tour de force sweeps through the entire history of the arts in Paris, from the Stone Age to the pyramid at the Louvre. Contains Vol 1 and Vol 2, slipcased.

All the arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, urban design, interior design, graphic design, photography, film, fashion, the theater, and opera—have played a role in creating the enduring spirit of Paris. To this day it remains a world center of innovation in art, architecture, and design, and one of the most thoroughly pleasurable of all modern cities.

Assembled under the editorial direction of Michel Laclotte, former director of the Musée du Louvre, and with the participation of outstanding scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, The Art and Spirit of Paris spans more than 6,000 years of cultural history. In two volumes, comprising nine insightful and wide-ranging chapters, and with approximately 1,500 illustrations, the authors chronicle the history of the visual arts in Paris, tracing their evolution and that of the social systems that supported them.

Volume I introduces the Gallo-Roman settlement described by Caesar and unearthed by modern archeologists, literally the foundation of modern Paris. From these beginnings, the book takes the reader up through The Renaissance city and the center of the Enlightenment, illustrated by the masterpieces of painting and the decorative arts that established Paris, by the eighteenth century, as the Western world's center of the arts.

Volume II begins at 1800, as Napoleon consolidates his power and resolves to make Paris the most beautiful city the world has seen and brings the story of Paris up to the present, examining the remarkable ways Paris has yet again remade herself, as a city of spectacle and guardian of her remarkable past, while remaining a vital center of fashion, theater, and the visual arts.

A lavish selection of photographs, most reproduced in color, complements the lively, informative texts with a revealing mixture of much-loved masterpieces and little-known discoveries. Completing these luxurious volumes are nine photographic portfolios, featuring classic black-and-white pictures, reproduced in duotone, by such masters as Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, and André Kertesz, which capture the spirit of Paris in visual essays on such subjects as the Seine, Paris by night, shops and cafés, and the city's streets and boulevards.
Michel Laclotte, former chief curator of paintings and retired president-director, Musée du Louvre, Paris Venceslas Kruta, professor, Sorbonne Alain Erlande-Brandenburg, former director, Musée de Cluny and Archives Nationales Claude Mignot, professor, Université de Tours John Goodman, independent scholar, New York Christopher Lyon, e...
Title:The Art and Spirit of ParisFormat:HardcoverDimensions:1654 pages, 13 × 11 × 6 inPublished:November 1, 2003Publisher:Abbeville Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1558597603

ISBN - 13:9781558597600

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Read from the Book

Excerpt from The Art and Spirit of ParisVolume IIChapter VI. La Ville Lumière (1852-1889)THE NEW LOUVREOne of Louis-Napoleon's first actions upon assuming power was to initiate the completion of the Louvre. King Louis-Philippe had stolen an advance on him by finishing many of the conspicuous projects begun by Napoleon—the Palais-Bourbon was completed In 1832, the Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836, the Madeleine was consecrated in 1840—all thanks to the determination of Louis-Philippe’s Minister Adolphe Thiers. Even the obelisk of Luxor was installed in the place de la Concorde not by the great conqueror of Egypt but rather by Louis-Philippe. Yet he ignored the Louvre while lavishing money and attention on Versailles, which he envisioned as the Museum of French history that, in fact, it remains today. Stymied at first by the refusal of the National Assembly to approve new construction, Louis-Napoleon had to content himself with Félix Duban’s meticulous restoration of the existing palace of the Louvre. But as soon as he achieved personal care roll over the government in 1851, he ordered the unification of the Tuileries with the Louvre, the “grande dessein” the monarchs had dreamed of for four centuries. To connect to the urban palace of the Louvre, at the western edge of fortified Paris in the mid-sixteenth century, with the garden palace of the Tuileries, outside the city walls, Catherine de’ Medici conceived, and 1556 and Henry IV began to build, in 1595, the Grande Galerie along the Seine. Long after Louis XIV enlarged the Louvre to its present form, enclosing the Cour Carrée, Napoleon I commissioned from his architects, Charles Percier and Pierre-François Fontaine, a new wing that would mirror the Grande Galerie and enclose a new courtyard. Napoleon's wing ran along the rue de Rivoli, reaching back toward the Louvre, but complete connection was not possible: there was a squalid little neighborhood in the path. Balzac described it in La Cousine Bette: “Beyond the little gate that leads from the Carrousel bridge to the Rue du Musée, anyone visiting Parisis bound to notice a dozen houses was dilapidated façades, whose discouraged landlords have not troubled to repair themIn passing this dead wedge and happening to notice the Impasse du Doyenne, one experiences a chilling of the soul, and wonders who could possibly live in such a place, and what goes on there at night, when the alley becomes an ambush, and where the vices of Paris, wrapped in the middle of the night, are given full scope.”That did not deter Louis-Napoleon. Immediately after the coup d'etat of December 1851, he summoned the architect Louis Visconti and gave him a sketch of what he wanted to be done, asking Visconti to render his sketch in “architectural terms.” Visconti sought to defer to Félix Duban, since 1848 the architect of the Louvre. But Louis-Napoleon disliked Duban’s archaeological approach, and he had rejected the piecemeal plan developed by Percier and Fontaine during their forty-four-year tenure as architects of the palace. He wanted a vast palace in a new style. On February 29, 1852, Visconti presented his plan and an estimate of 25 million francs (FIG. 6.13). It was brilliant. Not only did he propose to extend the rue de Rivoli and the corresponding wing and a straight line to connect the Tuileries and the Louvre on the north, he proposed to leave the huge enclosed space largely empty, creating only two small new palaces to flank of the old western façade of the Cour Carrée. By making their court facades parallel to the old Louvre, and their street facades parallel to the streets (rue de Rivoli and the quai du Louvre), he masked the problem that had plagued court architects for four hundred years: the palace of the Tuileries was built on an axis different from that of the Louvre. Louis-Napoleon was delighted. He then turned to his new prefect, Baron George-Eugène Haussmann, and ordered him to clear the slum between the two palaces. Construction began on July 25, 1852 (FIG. 6.15). Duban, still charged with the repair of the old Louvre, resigned in 1853. The construction was estimated to require five years. Visconti did not live to see it completed; he died suddenly on December 29, 1853.Visconti was replaced with Hector-Martin Lefuel, and it is his Louvre that we see today. Much of the new construction designed by Visconti had been built up to the second floor, but Lefuel devised a scheme by which Visconti's elegant and spare decoration could be enriched by carving the existing stones in greater relief. Lefuel redirected the decorative scheme away from the classicism that had inspired Visconti, the Louvre of Louis XIV, toward the French Renaissance style of the Louvre that Pierre Lescaut had designed for Henry II. This followed Louis-Napoleon's preference for rich embellishment: a huge rendering for the façades of the eastern wall of the Cour Napoléon bears corrections noted by the minister of state, Achille Fould, that stipulate the emperor's preference for engaged columns rather than pilasters, i.e., for deep sculptural relief over planar articulation (FIG. 6.14). Even is Jacques Lemercier’s Sully pavilion, built for Louis XIII in 1624 (at the center of the drawing), was insufficiently ornamented, so Lefuel added more carvings in greater relief, rebuilt the dome, and flanked it with two new François I-style chimneys to bring it into accord with the dense decor of Lefuel’s new pavilions, the Denon and the Richelieu (FIG. 6.16).. The strongly sculptural style is visible not only in Lefuel’s wash drawings but also in the remarkable photographs commissioned by the state from Edouard Baldus, who himself preferred strong contrast of light and shadow and his compositions. Lefuel’s hybrid creation of eclecticism, incorporating elements of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century French architecture, enthrones the direction of the preceding decades as the “official” style of Napoleon III. Describing the new Louvre, the architect and writer Ernest Rouyer wrote in 1867, “Someday one will surely recognize in the architectural works of our times what we hesitate to recognize today: the style Napoleon III. If we consider the whole ensemble of our great modern monuments, so different in individual appearance, these vast boulevards with their magnificent borders of houses, one will recognize with us that all these immense works truly constitute a style particular to the period. Napoleon I conceived the Musée Napoléon, as the Louvre was called during the First Empire, as an acropolis of culture, an encyclopedic museum of the greatest works of art brought to France as the trophies of the Grand Army. Napoleon III saw his new Louvre as a grand secretariat for the administration of empire and a reflection of the power of his bureaucracy. The Imperial Museum received only a small portion of the new construction. Instead, huge stables, assembly halls, the Imperial Library, and ministerial suites were fitted out, some amazing in their luxury. Most no longer exist. The Salle des Etats, a vast hall designed to provide a stage for the emperor's annual reception of the various representative bodies—the National Assembly, the Senate, the Council of State—was provided with an ambitious cycle of allegories painted by Charles-Louis Müller. Abandoned after 1870, it was stripped of its decor; today it is the gallery that displays Veronese's Marriage at Cana. The suite known as the apartment of the duc de Morny, Louis-Napoleon's half-brother and a government official of high rank, is one of the few ensembles to exist today, perfectly preserved thanks to the longtime occupation of the Ministry of Finance (FIG. 6.17). In ts furnishings, it reflects the unusual marriage of comfort and ostentation that is distinctive to the Second Empire. The new Louvre comprised a pair of enormous courtyards, the old Cour Carrée and the new Cour Napoléon, but the new court had no entrance. Lefuel’s solution to the problem is widely regarded as his greatest contribution to the new Louvre; he created a new building in the midst of the old Grande Galerie along the Seine. Called the Guichets, or entrance gates, its function was to provide a monumental entrance to the imperial city. Three great rolling arches pierced the formerly impenetrable wall of the Grande Galerie, topped with the pavilion that expresses on the piano nobile the lateral movement of the long Corridor within. The roof is punctuated by a pair of Renaissance-style lanterns that in turn enframe a tall, pedimented tablet that originally bore an equestrian relief of the emperor, centered on the Pont du Carousel. That work was removed in 1870, and a Spirit of the Arts by the academic sculptor Antonin Mercier (1845-1916) looks out over the Seine today.The Guichets not only would direct traffic from the bridge and the quay through the interior Cour Napoléon, through the north wing of the new Louvre, and beyond to the rue de Rivoli, but eventually they would provide access to the (yet unbuilt) avenue de l’Empereur and the (yet unbuilt) new Opéra, providing one of the key cross-axes of the new Paris. To create a symmetrical façade on the quay that would center on the Guichets, Lefuel made his most controversial decision. He destroyed the western section of Henry IV’s Grande Galerie and dismantled its terminus, the Pavillion de Flore, built in 1610 to join the Tuileries with the Grande Galerie. Both had severe structural problems, but Lefuel’s decision was radical, a reflection of Napoleon III’s bold new regime, and quite at odds with the conservative, preservational aesthetic that Duban and Visconti had brought to the Louvre. Baldus’s photographs of the demolition and the new construction bear witness to the brutality of the scheme (FIG. 6.18).On August 14, 1857, Napoleon III inaugurated the new Louvre at a solemn banquet celebrating the complete unification of the Louvre and the Tuileries. The following day, a holiday, all the buildings were thrown open to the public. The day after that, work recommenced and continued throughout the Second Empire; the Guichets and the Pavilion de Sessions were finally completed in 1869. Early on, Théophile Gautier reflected on the long history of the project: “We dream of the long list of kings who put their hand on this interminable Louvre, [this palace] that we now see completed: François I, Henri II, Henri III, Catherine de Médicis, Henri IV, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Napoléon I, Louis XVIII, succeeded by Pierre Lescot, Ducerceau, Cambiche, Dupeyrac, Lemercier, Lebrun, Levau, Claude Perrault, Messrs. Percier and Fontaine, a whole dynasty of talents, and we say to ourselves, with pride, that it has been completed in a single reign.” As the scaffolding fell later in the decade, he found no fault: “These statues, these coats-of-arms, these friezes, and these ornamental panels, separated by handsome fluted Corinthian columns, form an elegant whole of extraordinary richness, which the eye can enjoy from today on, because the scaffoldings have been removed. This superb facade, showing itself in its striking whiteness, proves that the new Louvre will have nothing to envy of the old, even though the human spirit habitually denigrates the present at the profit of the past. One could not expect less from the intelligent grouping of the best talents of the period on these splendid facades, where the statuary fraternally gives its hand to the architecture.” Paris could not enjoy the splendid new Louvre for long. The finishing touches were applied in the last days of 1869, as war with Germany loomed on the horizon. The next year Paris capitulated to the Prussians, and in the ensuing civil war the Tuileries were burned (see FIG. 6.102). The ruins of the Tuileries scarred Louis-Napoleon's splendid imperial city for a decade, until the government of the Third Republic decided to raze them, breaking definitively the grande dessein that had preoccupied monarchs for four centuries.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents from The Art and Spirit of Paris


Editor’s Note
Introduction - Michel Laclotte

Portfolio: The View From Above

The Origins: From Lutetia To Paris
Neolithic Period–A.D. 300
Venceslas Kruta

Portfolio: The Seine

II. Medieval Paris: The Flowering of an Artistic and Political Capital
Alain Erlande-Brandenburg

Late Antiquity to the High Middle Ages
Romanesque Art (late 10th century–1135)
Early Gothic Art (c. 1135–c. 1190)
High Gothic (1190–1230)
Rayonnant Gothic (1230–1300)
The Conquest of the New Style (1240–1260)
The Last Years of the Thirteenth Century
The Emergence of a Court Style (c. 1300)
Courtly Art (1320–1360)
Flamboyant Gothic: From Royal to Bourgeois Art (after 1360)
An Age of Princes (1380–1436)
The Ascendancy of the Bourgeoisie (1436–1520)

Portfolio: Stone and Metalwork

III. The New Rome 1527–1700
Claude Mignot

Renaissance Paris (1527–1594)
The Century of Louis XIII (1594–1660)
Paris or Versailles (1660–1700)

Portfolio: Unseen Paris

IV. Régence to Revolution 1700–1799
John Goodman

Paris as the Center of Luxury and Skepticism
Sensation and Invention: The Ascendency of the Moderns
The Neoclassical Turn: Sparta versus Imperial Rome
The City Transformed
Emulation and Contestation: Painting and Sculpture (1770–1789)
Revolution: Destruction and Regeneration

Portfolio: Streets and Boulevards

V. Capital of the Nineteenth Century 1800–1851
Christopher Lyon and Michael Marrinan

The Last Monarchs
Napoleonic Paris
Staging the Drama of Empire
David and His Followers
The Advent of Romanticism
Imagining the Past
“Engineer’s Architecture”: From Galeries to Gares
Reshaping Paris
The Triumph of the Romantics
The Monarchy of the Middle Class

(General and Chapters 1-5)


VI. La Ville Lumiére 1852–1889

The Second Empire: 1852–1870
Gary Tinterow

Napoleon III and His Court
The New Louvre
The Exposition Universelle of 1855
The Salons
The Exposition Universelle of 1867
Napoleon III, Haussmann, and the Transformation of Paris
The Paris Opera

The Third Republic: 1870–1889
Andrew Carrington Shelton

“L’Année terrible”: The Siege of Paris and the Commune
A Return to “Moral Order”
Worldly Women
The New Painting

Portfolio: Gardens

VII. Modernism and Memory 1889–1914
Jeffrey Weiss

Science and Style
Symbolism and the Post-Impressionist Retreat
The Compromise of Public Art
Art Nouveau
The Aesthetic of the Street
Painting: Bourgeois Salons to Bohemian Montmartre
Modernism and the Marketplace
Modern Classicism
The Camera
Cubism: The Fragmented and Inscribed City
Epilogue: The Melancholy of Departure

Portfolio: Paris By Night

VIII. Paris in War and Peace 1914–1945
Malcolm Gee

From War to War
The Visual Arts in Wartime Paris
The International Expositions of 1925 and 1937
Paris as an Art Center Between the Wars
The Art Dealers and the Collectors
Painting and Sculpture after Cubism
The Modern Habitat
Entertainment, Spectacle, and Adornment
Art Debates of the 1930s

Portfolio: Markets and Shops

IX. From Liberation to the Twenty-First Century 1945–Present
Françoise Levaillant

The Postwar Period (1944 to the 1960s)
The Triumph of Abstraction in the 1950s
Metamorphoses of Painting and Sculpture after 1960
The Renewal of Public Space in Paris
Fashion and Design
Architectural Visions and the New Cultural Axes of the Capital
Postscript: Paris as Spectacle

Portfolio: Cafés and Brasseries

About the Authors
Picture Credits

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Art and Spirit of Paris:

"Dazzling…The scope of this omnibus collection is astounding." — The New York Times

"Essays of dizzying ambition…good value too." — Chicago Tribune