The Trocadéro Palace, a missing building

The Trocadéro Palace, a missing building

  • Elevation plan of the Trocadéro Palace for the Universal Exhibition of 1878.

    ANONYMOUS

  • The Seine at Passy - The Trocadéro and the Pont de Grenelle seen from the Quai de Javel.

    LÉPINE Stanislas (1835 - 1892)

  • Trocadero Palace.

    LEMOINE Henri (1848 - 1924)

To close

Title: Elevation plan of the Trocadéro Palace for the Universal Exhibition of 1878.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 12 - Width 19

Technique and other indications: Produced by the firm Monduit

Storage place: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. G. Ojedasite web

Picture reference: 01-020550 / Pho2001-3-17

Elevation plan of the Trocadero Palace for the Universal Exhibition of 1878.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

To close

Title: The Seine at Passy - The Trocadéro and the Pont de Grenelle seen from the Quai de Javel.

Author : LÉPINE Stanislas (1835 - 1892)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 38.2 - Width 55.2

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage place: Petit Palais Museum

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

Picture reference: 03-009068 / Inv483

The Seine at Passy - The Trocadéro and the Pont de Grenelle seen from the Quai de Javel.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

To close

Title: Trocadero Palace.

Author : LEMOINE Henri (1848 - 1924)

Creation date : 1900

Date shown: 1900

Dimensions: Height 75 - Width 100

Technique and other indications: Aristotype

Storage place: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Picture reference: Pho1987-20-4 / 01-018590

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Publication date: December 2007

Doctorate in Art History

Historical context

The Trocadéro and the Universal Exhibition of 1878

The Trocadéro was erected on one of the hills of Paris for the Universal Exhibition of 1878. It was the third event of its kind organized in Paris in the 19th century.e century and whose purpose was mainly economic. The 1878 Exposition was to revive industrial dynamics and show the face of Europe that France was still a great power.
The construction of the Trocadéro was entrusted to the architect Gabriel Davioud (1824-1881) and the engineer Jules Bourdais (1835-1915). It brought together casts of the most beautiful pieces of French heritage.
A masterpiece of public commission, the decor of the Trocadéro had mobilized official painters and sculptors. Still in place at the time of the Universal Exhibitions of 1889 and 1900, the Trocadéro was

partially destroyed to allow the construction of the Palais de Chaillot.

Image Analysis

An architecture present in the city

The architecture of the Trocadéro is known to us through painted and drawn documents, architectural plans and photographs. It impresses with its gigantism and its eclecticism. A photo taken before 1928 reveals the perfect symmetry of the building, formed of a semi-rotunda surrounded by two square towers. Seen from the Jena bridge, this document leaves nothing to guess at the two wings that unfolded on either side and offered a promenade with a view of the gardens and the Seine.
As revealed by the canvas by the painter Stanislas Lépine (1835-1892), dating from the era of plein air painting, the Trocadéro had become a familiar element of the decor of the banks of the Seine after the Universal Exhibition of 1878. An elevated landmark, it imposed itself in an urban environment that was still nascent and promised intense development in the years of the Third Republic. A few years later, a photograph proves the major place that the Trocadero still occupied in the city at the time of the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the largest ever organized in the capital. This historical shot reveals the interpenetration of eras and styles. The Trocadéro, which can be seen here at the end of the widened Pont d'Iéna, now faced the Eiffel Tower, which was erected in 1889. The modern iron architecture imposed its modernity against the eclectic silhouette of the Trocadéro still strongly anchored in the XIXe century.

Interpretation

A ghost building?

The three documents show the place occupied by the architecture of the Trocadéro in space and the history of Paris at different times. From the simple photographic snapshot to the work painted by Stanislas Lépine, everyone invites us to understand what function such a construction could have in the urban landscape. With the appearance of a ghost building, the Trocadero was an architectural work much criticized by its contemporaries, often unloved, and whose history ultimately remains poorly known to the general public. Although it was mainly occupied by the Musée des Monuments Français, its usefulness did not seem sufficient for it to survive the International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques of 1937. Demolished, it was replaced by the current Palais de Chaillot. This disappearance raises the question of the perpetuation of the urban heritage and of the coherence of the monumental architectural programs. Indeed, the Trocadéro is not the only one of the buildings built for a universal exhibition to have been destroyed. Whether we think of the Palais deIndustrie in 1855 or the Galerie des machines in 1867, their fate was identical. Yet even disappeared, this ephemeral architectural heritage is entirely part of the heritage of the socio-cultural history of the XIXe century.

  • architecture
  • Universal exhibitions
  • Paris
  • Trocadero Palace

Bibliography

Anne PINGEOT1878, The first Universal Exhibition of the RepublicParis, RMN, 1988.Marc GAILLARDThe Universal Exhibitions from 1855 to 1937Paris, Les presses franciliennes, 2005.Adolphe BITARDThe Paris Exhibition 1878Paris, Illustrated Bookstore, 1878.

To cite this article

Claire MAINGON, "The Trocadero Palace, a missing building"


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