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French School around 1880

Military parade at Place Saint-Augustin in Paris

French School around 1880

Military parade at Place Saint-Augustin in Paris

Watercolor heightened with white gouache
44 x 37 cm
Around 1880

Place Saint-Augustin is located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and takes its name from the church located there. The square is triangular in shape and is delimited by Boulevard Malesherbes to the west, by Avenue César Caire to the east and closed to the north by the square of the Saint-Augustin church.

The square currently has several remarkable monuments including:

The National Army Circle, built in 1927 by the architect Charles Lemarsquier in place of the Pépinière barracks,
The Saint-Augustin church, construction of which began in 1860 under the direction of Victor Baltard and completed in 1871,
The Monument dedicated to Joan of Arc by the sculptor Paul Dubois, created in 1895 and erected in 1900 on the square.

Our watercolor is therefore interesting in more than one way.

Indeed, it depicts Saint-Augustin Square as it existed before the construction of the National Army Circle and before the installation of the statue of Joan of Arc. We therefore see, represented on the right, along the current already existing Marcel Pagnol square, the old Pépinière barracks and at the bottom in the center the initial layout of the square with its two fountains which will then be replaced in 1900 by the statue of Joan of Arc.

The chronology of these constructions therefore allows us to date the work between 1871 and 1900.

The scene depicted with its military parade must be a common moment in the life of the neighborhood at the time due to the presence of the Pépinière barracks nearby.

Also for documentary purposes, we can notice in the upper right corner of the composition, the presence of the Montmartre hill with its two mills still remaining around 1880: the Radet and the Blute-Fin. The mills then formed with the gardens and the farm, the famous Moulin de la Galette ensemble, known for its popular ball immortalized by Renoir.

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