16.11.15

Nicely decorated


This nicely decorated building is from 1858 and served as from 1861 as workshop for François Gillet, who obviously was the first to, in an industrial way, manufacture enamel paintings on lava. The workshop remained here until WWI. We are on rue Fénelon, close to the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Church.

The facade is covered by illustrations, all in enamel on Volvic lava. Some of them tell you the history of ceramic painting as from ancient times until the end of the 19th century. The last “detail” shows François Gillet together with the painter and lithographer Pierre-Jules Jolivet (1794-1871), who was an artist much involved in this type of decoration. When reaching a more industrial level, thanks to François Gillet, this became a popular and different way to create colourful outdoor weather-resisting decorations, replacing mosaics, tiles…



There are some specific illustrations of  Luca della Robbia (Florence, 1399-1482), known for his glazed terracotta works, Bernard Palissy (1510-90), known for having found out how to imitate Chinese porcelain and Ferdinand Morteleque (1774-1844), who managed the first enamel painting on lava (“lave de Volvic”) in 1824. (He is the one sitting in front of Gillet and Jolivet on the above "detail".) 

It’s interesting to see how different personalities from this period “met”. François Gillet took over the company from “Veuve Hachette”, in which Jacques Ignaz Hittorff (1792-1867) had been employed. Hittorff is known as the architect of a large number of buildings and places in Paris. He redesigned Place de la Concorde (see previous posts). Many of the buildings he created have disappeared, but we can still admire e.g. the “Cirque d’Hiver” (see previous post), “Gare du Nord” (see previous post) … and the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Church (see previous post)… (I talked about all this in a post about Hittorff's tomb at the Montmartre cemetery (see previous post)).  

Hittorff was very much in favour of decorated, colourful, buildings. He had discovered that ancient buildings and churches often had their facades painted. When he was in charge of finishing the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Church he imagined thus the front to be decorated and he gave the job to Pierre-Jules Jolivet, for the canvasses, and to François Gillet for the execution. So, a number of illustrations in enamel were placed there in 1861. However, there were a lot of protests against these colourful illustrations – also because of some nakedness, so they were quickly taken down. They were brought back as late as 2011 and can now be seen again. 
              
Here we can see part of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Church decorations and also the richly decorated facade of the home of Pierre-Jules Jolivet (see previous post).














This has nothing to do with the above, except the colourful facade of a building which unfortunately is too present in the last days’ news: Bataclan,. a construction from 1864, originally a café-billiard, then music-hall (Buffalo-Bill…), cinema… and now a multi-purpose concert hall (Prince, Stromae, Robbie Williams, Oasis…). The facade in a pagoda style was quite recently repainted - in 1984. I wrote about it on my blog here.


8 comments:

Vagabonde said...

Hi Peter – It is always a pleasure to come to your blog and to see beautiful buildings of Paris. I have watched much on television on Paris this week-end, but it was pretty sad. I just wrote a post showing the same photo of the Bataclan, and its history. I remember it when it was a cinema, but had not seen it since it was repainted.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps Wikipedia has the answer to Bataclan's facade in a pagoda (chinoiserie) style?

Ba-ta-clan is a "chinoiserie musicale" (or operetta) in one act with music by Jacques Offenbach to an original French libretto by Ludovic Halévy. It was first performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, on 29 December 1855.[1] The operetta uses set numbers and spoken dialogue and runs for under an hour.

Ba-ta-clan was Offenbach's first big success, and opened his new winter theatre, the Salle Choiseul.[1] The witty piece satirised everything from contemporary politics to grand opera conventions. It was frequently revived in Paris, London and New York for decades, and Offenbach eventually expanded it as a full-length piece with a cast of eleven. Offenbach's early operettas were small-scale one-act works, since the law in France limited the licence for musical theatre works (other than most operas) to one-act pieces with no more than three singers and, perhaps, some mute characters.[2] In 1858, this law was changed, and Offenbach was able to offer full-length works, beginning with Orpheus in the Underworld.

In 1864, a music-hall called Ba-ta-clan opened in Paris, named after the operetta, and is still functioning today.

Thank you, Peter.
Maria O. Russell

Jeanie said...

Relieved to see you safe and posting, Peter. Always interesting.

Please know that all of us here in the states are thinking good thoughts for Paris and hoping you all remain safe. I know it could happen anywhere, but I'm especially sad it has happened in the city of light.

Unknown said...

Hi Peter,

Glad to see that you're posting!
Was a bit nervous with everything around.
Best
Gil

Shammickite said...

Thank you to Maria for the history of the Bataclan. My heart aches for the people of Paris, and for the families who have suffered, and are still suffering. No fear, stay strong. This could happen anywhere. Stay vigilant.

joanny said...

Heureux d'apprendre que vous et vos proches êtes tous en sécurité dans votre beau pays adoptée France. Incroyable tristesse Aujourd'hui Nous sommes tous français. Souhaitons nous la paix pour tous. Aux Etats-Unis en France et de notre maison à la Votre maison .

moon angeleno said...

Nous sommes unis.

claude said...

Le premier bâtiment joliment décoré me rappelle celui de la rue Campagne Première. La façade au dessus du Bataclan est colorée.
I love Paris !