Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris (Sculpture Ornementale)

Artist:
Louis-Emile Durandelle (French, 1839–1917)
Date:
1865–72
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
38.3 x 27.9 cm. (15 1/16 x 11 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.9
Not on view
Among the most lavish Second Empire monuments was the Paris Opéra, designed by Charles Garnier. Elaborately decorated in a neo-Baroque style and devoting as much space and luxe to grand ceremonial arcades, foyers, and staircases as to the theater hall proper, Garnier's design was selected in 1860 from among 171 entries and, once built, served as a model for many late-nineteenth-century theaters around the world. Construction of this elaborate confection required the clearing of some three acres and lasted until January 1875-more than four years after the fall of Napoleon III.

Along with countless construction workers, masons, and artisans, some sixty-five sculptors worked on the statuary and ornamentation of the Opéra. In this photograph, stone carvers two hundred feet above the street chip away at the enormous garlands of fruit that formed the decorative freize on the sides of the fly tower.
Inscription: Inscribed in negative, TRC: "No. 40"; inscribed in negative BLC: "No. 160"; inscribed in negative BLC: "No. 40"; printed on mount, TC above photograph: "40"; printed on mount, BC below photograph: "LE NOUVEL OPÉRA DE PARIS // SCULPTURE ORNEMENTALE // DUCHER et Cie., Editeurs // Durandelle, Photographe."
Charles Isaacs

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 8," March 14, 1995–June 11, 1995.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Napoleon III and Paris," June 9–September 7, 2009.

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