Paris City Hall: from the place of revolutions to that of celebrations

Paris City Hall: from the place of revolutions to that of celebrations

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  • Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, arrives at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris

    FERON Eloi-Firmin (1802 - 1876)

  • Fire and destruction of the Paris town hall.

    ANONYMOUS

  • Party in front of the Town Hall, Franco-Russian celebration.

    HOFFBAUER Théodore-Joseph-Hubert (1839 - 1922)

To close

Title: Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, arrives at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris

Author : FERON Eloi-Firmin (1802 - 1876)

Creation date : 1837

Date shown: July 31, 1830

Dimensions: Height 122 - Width 149

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas.Full title: Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, appointed lieutenant general of the Kingdom, arrives at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris Reduced from the original painting by Larivière

Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palaissite web

Picture reference: 85DE866 / MV 5796

Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, arrives at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais

To close

Title: Fire and destruction of the Paris town hall.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown: May 1871

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux website

Picture reference: 07-517495 / 53.86.705C

Fire and destruction of the Paris town hall.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux

Party in front of the Town Hall, Franco-Russian celebration.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

In the 19th century: a major political place

From 1789 to 1794, the Town Hall housed the Committee of Public Safety. In July 1830, the provisional municipal commission chaired by La Fayette in turn moved there during the Three Glorious Years and received there, on the 31st, the Duke of Orleans, whom it endorsed as sovereign of the new regime. It is from this same building that the republic was proclaimed in February 1848 by Lamartine and again that sits the central committee of the Commune, elected on March 26, 1871. Forced to retreat by the offensive that the army of Versailles undertakes end May, the Communards abandon the building before setting it on fire, "like a jealous lover who stabbed his mistress by dying," writes the geographer and Communard Élisée Reclus.

A canvas by Éloi Féron, painted in 1836, and an engraving from Épinal illustrate two of these revolutionary episodes. A drawing by the painter and architect Théodore Hoffbauer represents one of them, given in honor of the Russian squadron received in Paris on October 19, 1893 as part of the Franco-Russian alliance.

Image Analysis

At the heart of the event

Éloi Féron is a pupil of Gros and a familiarity with Louis-Philippe. This commissioned work represents the future sovereign as he arrived at the Hôtel de Ville on July 31, 1830, followed by Benjamin Constant, in a sedan chair, and surrounded by deputies in frock coats. In the dense crowd which acclaims him while displaying the tricolor flag, appear National Guards, workers, one of whom is an extension of the flag, more affluent Parisians and a few women. In front of the municipal building, decked out in tricolors, the National Guard awaits the one who, having adopted his uniform, appears to be one of his own. The displayed realism of this neoclassical work cannot obscure the fact that it responds to the need to reaffirm the unanimism between the People and their sovereign, presumed to have been sealed today, at a time when the Fieschi attack (1835) and the authoritarian measures taken in response have singularly damaged it. In front of the horse of the future Louis-Philippe, a worker removes the last traces of barricades, thus signifying restored order. As in most contemporary prints of the period, the National Guard occupies a preeminent place when it was only a late and marginal actor in the Three Glorious Years; however, the verticality of the flag suggests that the story is over.

Charles Pinot, a Parisian designer employed by Imagerie Pellerin before founding his own printing house in 1860, produced engravings hostile to the Commune, depicting the fire and destruction of the Town Hall. This lithograph shows the army of Versailles, in blue and red uniforms, on the offensive, led by the officers, saber clear, one of which brandishes the tricolor. In front of her, the insurgents behind a red flag. Their barricade is an obstacle between the army and the burning Town Hall. Below the image, a text resituates the event and takes sides.

Théodore Hoffbauer, to whom we owe numerous paintings dedicated to Paris, is attached to the spectacular ephemeral architecture designed in honor of the Russian squadron. The capital then saw one of the first festivals since the Municipality. The City organized a big dinner and installed a gigantic galley illuminated with lanterns. At the end of the evening, a torchlight retreat is organized in which Sadi Carnot will join up to the Concorde. On this reconstructed vessel is the emblem of the Russian Empire mixed with innovative gas illuminations. A dense crowd (mostly male) throngs to the Place de l'Hotel de Ville.

Interpretation

A space of sovereignty

The first two documents recall that the Parisian street played a decisive role in making and undoing regimes during the first two thirds of the nineteenth century, each time conferring on the Hôtel de Ville an extraordinary political status which earned it its impose as a place of power. After the defeat of the Commune and the “second birth of universal suffrage” (1875), the province weighs all the more decisive weight as Paris is subject to an exceptional statute which deprives the city of a mayor. elected (until 1977). The ceremonies organized in the Place de l'Hotel de Ville are nonetheless often characterized by sovereignty, which testifies to a persistent ambivalence.

  • Municipality of Paris
  • tricolour flag
  • red flag
  • Paris city hall
  • revolutionary days
  • Louis Philippe
  • Paris
  • Revolution of 1830
  • Bloody week
  • city
  • fire

Bibliography

Laurence GOUX (dir.), Paris set on fire, May 21-28, 1871, catalog of the exhibition of the Museum of Art and History of Saint-Denis, May 17, 2002 - April 7, 2003, Saint-Denis, Museum of Art and History of Saint-Denis, 2002. Mathilde LARRÈRE, "The National Guard of the Three Glorious Years", in Companies and representations, n ° 8, “The people in all their states”, 2000. Jean-Marc LERI, preface by Christ YVAN, Paris of illusions: a century of ephemeral decorations, 1820-1920, Paris, Historical Library of the City of Paris, Paris City Hall, 1984.

To cite this article

Danielle TARTAKOWSKY, “The Paris City Hall: from the place of revolutions to that of celebrations”


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