Several Works Donated to the Petit Palais by Charles Girault’s Descendants

7/12/12 - Acquisition - Paris, Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris - Last 26 November we mentioned the acquisition of a drawing by Charles Girault (see news item of 26/11/12 in French) by the Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, adding that we would soon discuss an upcoming event concerning this very architect and the same museum.
Indeed, this establishment has just received an important donation from Charles Girault’s descendants made up of works by the artist, portraits representing him as well as books, medals and objects he had owned.

The portraits of Girault are as follows :

1. Denys Puech (1854-1942)
Portrait of Charles Girault, 1920
Terracotta - 60 x 33 x 30 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

- a terracotta bust by Denys Puech (ill. 1) inscribed and signed on the base : A mon grand confrère et ami, Charles Girault. D. Puech, Paris 1920 [1].

2. Émile Peynot (1850-1932)
Portrait of Charles Girault, 1885
Bronze - Diameter : 19 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

- a bronze medallion by Emile Peynot (ill. 2) who received the Prix de Rome for sculpture in 1880 and who later specialized in building funerary monuments.

3. François Schommer (1850-1835)
Portrait of Charles Girault, 1919
Oil on canvas - 74 x 60.5 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

- a painted portrait by François Schommer (ill. 3), one of the great decorators of the Third Republic.

4. Charles Girault (1851-1932)
Project d’ex-libris
Chinese Ink and Graphite
21,4 x 31,6 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

5. Charles Girault (1851-1932)
Hadrian’s Villa – Longitudinal Section of the Peritstyle
of the Palais de l’Empereur – Current State

Watercolor and Graphite
47,5 x 197 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

The donation also contains a projected ex-libris design by Charles Girault, a drawing representing the Petit Palais (ill. 4), a large watercolor which was part of his work during his stay at the Académie de France in Rome where he worked (virtually of course) on Hadrian’s Villa (ill. 5) and a pastel by René-Joseph Gilbert [2] (ill. 6).

6. René-Joseph Gilbert (1858-1914)
Portrait of a Woman with Feather, 1909
Pastel - 65 x 54 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

The medals, a total of eighteen, are related to the architect’s career. Some, produced by Edouard Gatteaux, a friend of Ingres, a sculptor and collector, record the awards received at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts ; others are signed by Oscar Roty (ill. 7), Eugène Oudiné, Paul Landowski (ill. 8)... We should also point out various photographs (ten portraits of Girault by different photographers...) and a Projet d’ouvrage sur les tribunes de Longchamps which includes photographs and drawings.

7. Oscar Roty (1846-1911)
Louis Pasteur, 1892
Silver - 6.6 x 4.6 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

8. Paul Landowski (1875-1961)
Raymond Thamin, 1931
Bronze - 7 x 7 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

9. Auguste Guilbert-Martin (1826-1900)
after Luc-Olivier Merson
Mosaic - 142.5 x 112 x 10 cm
Paris, Petit Palais
Photo : D. R.

We conclude this article with one of the most beautiful works in this donation, a mosaic by Auguste Guilbert-Martin, representing Hope (ill. 9). A specialist of this technique (he produced notably the mosaic in the choir at the church of the Madeleine representing The Origins of the Christian Faith in Gaul), he had worked with Charles Girault on the crypt at the Institut Pasteur in 1895. The artist had represented four virtues after Luc-Olivier Merson, notably Hope whose cartoon was recently acquired by the Petit Palais (see news item of 27/10/09).
The mosaic which was just donated to the Petit Palais was also produced after a drawing by Luc-Olivier Merson and bears in fact his monogram but shows several differences with the one executed in the crypt. This was probably a first try to see what the final effect would be like. Guilbert-Martin later worked with Charles Girault again, notably for the frieze on the façade of the Grand Palais whose construction was coordinated by the architect.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 9 décembre 2012


[1] Contrary to what we had mistakenly published, Puech is not the author of the sculpted Art Nouveau fountain located on the north side of the Grand Palais. It is by Raoul Larche, as was pointed out to us by two readers.

[2] We reproduce these last two works here despite their poor photographic quality in the hopes we can soon replace them.

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