Lavirotte - addendum

Referring to my recent post about buildings by Jules Lavirotte in Paris, I have now received the – surprisingly enough - possibly only, recent, book about him and his works, which I ordered last week. There you can read something more about his life, what he constructed elsewhere... and about his violent car accident which seriously limited his activities during his last 9 or 10 years.

Reading the book made me wish to make an addendum to my previous post. I learnt that the quite simple “moderate rent” building on 169, Boulevard Lefebvre, was supposed to have three of four more floors - see above. The book does not give any clear reason why finally the building only got the first two floors on top of the commercial ground floor, which during many years was occupied by the painting company Mallez, which regularly worked for Lavirotte.  This (half-) building has been threatened by demolition, but is now obviously saved.  

Lavirotte died at the age of 64. The book has a lot of illustrations also from the interior of some of the famous Paris art nouveau buildings.


A blue one...

This blue Wallace fountain, which I just discovered, has obviously been there for some three years… It adds to some other coloured versions on which I already reported. Of course, basically the Wallace fountains should be green, dark green. There are some 50 original ones (from 1872), donated by Richard Wallace, but the city has added many more… well, I already reported on all this, e.g. here and here. The few which are in - more or less authorized - different colours can be found in the street-art-friendly 13th arrondissement. The blue one can be found Rue Brillat-Savarin. (There was one in the 15th arrondissement, Porte de Versailles, but it’s obviously gone.) 


More about Jules Lavirotte buildings - but who was he?

Some ten years ago, I wrote about some Art Nouveau buildings by the architect Jules Lavirotte (1864-1929), the most famous ones perhaps to be found on Avenue and Square Rapp (see here), but I also wrote about the Céramic Hotel (see here) and on a building on Avenue Messine (see here). There are a few more to be seen in Paris, so I thought it was time to make a more complete “report”.

Lavirotte's first contract in 1898 – he was 34, was obviously for 151, Rue de Grenelle. The style is not yet really so striking. I feel that it’s more particularly the front door which gives you an Art Nouveau feeling.

In 1899 he was the architect of Hôtel Montessuy, 12 Rue Sédillot. This was built as a private mansion for the Countess Montessuy and we can see that here Lavirotte has been much more creative.  The building is today to a large extent transformed in its interior – it has become an Italian school.

1900-1901 he built at 29 Avenue Rapp and…

… at Square Rapp the buildings for which he is the most famous and which definitely are Art Nouveau. The spectacular part is of course to a large extent due to the ceramics and Lavirotte’s collaboration with Alexandre Bigot (1862-1927), a ceramicist who also worked a lot with other Art Nouveau architects, like Hector Guimard (see posts here). Lavirotte made Square Rapp, which was finished first, into his private address.

A “softer” Art Nouveau version is to be found at 134 Rue de Grenelle, finished in 1903. Some prominent people have lived in this building, including Edgar Faure.

The Art Nouveau is again in full bloom, to a large part thanks to the ceramics by Alexandre Bigot, at this hotel building from 1904, which actually has the name Céramic Hôtel.  

A surprisingly modest building - a “moderate rent” one -, from 1906, is to be found at 169 Boulevard Lefebvre. Exceptionally, you cannot read Lavirotte’s name on the facade.

This building from 1907, 23 Avenue Messine, is again very fashionable, but again less extravagant, although extremely decorated thanks to the sculptor Léon Binet, with whom Lavirotte worked regularly. The original building, which we can see on an old photo, received some additional floors during the 1930’s.

Immediately neighbouring this building, also from 1907, you can find this one, 6 Rue Messine.  

Lavirotte lived another 20 years…  Who was he? What did he look like? Almost impossible to find anything about his later activities, his personal life… but I found that there is now, at last and since last year, a book about him – which I will buy. It seems that he got married in 1897 to Jeanne, a bit older than he… , that he had a car accident around 1920 which stopped his career.. … Once I have the book, maybe I can tell you a bit more. 


Why are ducks sleeping on one leg?

Did you ask yourself why some birds, like ducks, sleep on one leg – at least when the weather is cold? I did. It’s obviously to regulate the body temperature, exposing only one unfeathered leg and foot at a time to the environmental temperature. They change from one leg to the other now and then. Also, like horses, they can lock their knees. (Thanks Google.)

The Seine River is a bit too full of water again, but not as much as in June 2016 (see my post here). For the moment the water level hardly reaches the feet of the Zouave at the Pont de l’Alma. In the grey weather, the Tower is partly hiding. 


Some leaves still there...

There have been heavy winds over France during a couple of days… All the Paris trees have now definitely lost their leaves….

… except some birch trees on which some leaves resist. This resistance has something to do with origins…?

I’m still a bit too busy to make one of my “normal” posts (and it’s rather cold, rainy and windy outside), but I wanted to give a sign of life. J