Presidents of the French Republic

Presidents of the French Republic

  • Louis-Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877), President of the French Republic.

    BONNAT Léon (1833 - 1922)

  • Jules Grévy (1807-1891), President of the French Republic.

    BONNAT Léon (1833 - 1922)

  • Emile Loubet (1838-1929), President of the French Republic.

    PIESTRE, known as CORMON Fernand-Anne (1845 - 1924)

  • Gaston Doumergue (1863-1937), President of the French Republic.

    BASCHET Marcel André (1862 - 1941)

Louis-Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877), President of the French Republic.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

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Title: Jules Grévy (1807-1891), President of the French Republic.

Author : BONNAT Léon (1833 - 1922)

Creation date : 1880

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 152 - Width 116

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot website

Picture reference: 88EE594 / DO 1986-15

Jules Grévy (1807-1891), President of the French Republic.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: Emile Loubet (1838-1929), President of the French Republic.

Author : PIESTRE, known as CORMON Fernand-Anne (1845 - 1924)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 116 - Width 95

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet web site

Picture reference: 86EE127 / INV 20402

Emile Loubet (1838-1929), President of the French Republic.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet

Gaston Doumergue (1863-1937), President of the French Republic.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

From 1871 to 1940, the presidents of the IIIe Republic, elected by restricted suffrage, were Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877), succeeded from 1873 to 1879 by Marshal Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta (1808-1893). The President gradually saw himself confined to a representative role, with real political powers passing to the President of the Council.

Image Analysis

The first symbol of the republican principle, Marianne, in bust and wearing the Phrygian cap, was a recurring image throughout this period. Subsequently and jointly, the official portrait of the first state figure, painted or sculpted, was widely distributed in the form of copies, alongside the increasingly wide distribution of the photographic portrait. Many renowned artists have been asked to provide iconic representations of the nation's first men. While many of the original portraits commissioned or purchased by the State have entered the national collections, others have become the property of the models and, therefore, it is impossible to give their current location or provide a reproduction. .

Interpretation

Stripped of all the ostentatious luxury of royal and imperial effigies, the representations of the President of the Republic, man among men even if he is the first in the nation, can be divided into three categories. The first, "traditional", inherited from previous periods, is extremely stereotypical: the subject resumes the royal or imperial poses, standing and facing the viewer whom he dominates, full-length or three-quarters, the variety residing only in the presence. a few rare accessories symbolic of the function. To this series belong the portraits of Thiers or Grévy by Léon Bonnat who, faithful to the official outline he had created, in no way reveals the underlying changes in the political role of his model. The second form of portraits, “innovative”, arises from the momentary craze for photography, but uses compositions almost identical to the earlier painted effigies, available in various sizes which allow massive distribution (Sadi Carnot by Ludovic Baschet, Paris, Orsay Museum). The third, finally, "renovating", concerns more particularly the beginning of the XXe century: the character, again represented by a painter, becomes more human, seated in a less severe and more personal setting, he welcomes the viewer and no longer keeps him at a distance. Now father of the nation more than a politician, his effigy gains in humanity what it loses in power, as illustrated by the portraits of Gaston Doumergue and Albert Lebrun by Marcel Baschet. But the reproducible portrait has lived, and these final creations are no longer intended for an official reception room, the administrative buildings being no longer the recipients of photographs, at a derisory cost and available quickly.

  • Thiers (Adolphe)
  • official portrait
  • Third Republic
  • Doumer (Paul)
  • Lebrun (Albert)
  • Presidency of the Republic
  • Doumergue (Gaston)
  • Millerand (Alexandre)
  • Deschanel (Paul)
  • Poincaré (Raymond)
  • Fallières (Armand)
  • Loubet (Emile)
  • Casimir-Perier (Jean)
  • Carnot (Sadi)
  • Mac Mahon (Patrice de)

Bibliography

Muriel VIGIÉ The Official Portrait in France from the 5th to the 20th century Paris, Van Wilder, 2000.

Collective, File “The President of the Republic”, in The story n ° 258 (special issue), October 2001.

To cite this article

Dominique LOBSTEIN, "The Presidents of the French Republic"


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