On 11 August 1880, the Paris municipal authorities launched a competition for the decoration of the Place de la République. Formerly the Place du Château d'Eau, this square was renamed for the first competition, launched in 1879, for a sculpture to be erected as a symbol of the Republic. This competition was won by the Morice brothers whose monumental work can still be seen today. The aim of the second competition was to embellish the square. The programme included flagpoles and rostral columns in bronze, street lamps and a surrounding balustrade in stone.
Competitors could choose to treat the subjects separately or present a project for the overall design. Louis Boitte chose to put forward the second option. This drawing offers a general view of the proposed architectural elements. A number of other preparatory drawings describe each one independently. Boitte received several prizes for his designs, but overall, the projects submitted by the forty or so artists who entered the competition were considered to be inadequate by the jury, who cited a lack of harmony. For this reason no award was made for its implementation.