Henri Schmit
Théâtre de la porte Saint-Martin

Model of the façade and verandah of the Theatre de la porte Saint-Martin in Paris
Henri Schmit (1851-1904)
Model of the façade and verandah of the Theatre de la porte Saint-Martin in Paris
1892
Aluminium, brass and glass on a wooden frame
H. 87; W. 90; D. 32 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Maquette de la façade et de la véranda du théâtre de la porte Saint-Martin à Paris [Model of the façade and verandah of the Theatre de la porte Saint-Martin in Paris]


The Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin, like many other theatres, was burned down in May 1871 during the Commune, and was rebuilt in 1873. Its façade was originally very simple in style. There were five doors on the ground floor, three of which led into the theatre foyer.


Having reopened on 27 September 1873 with a revival of Victor Hugo's Mary Tudor, the theatre subsequently underwent many changes, both internal and external, to conform with safety regulations. The first of these transformations was the addition of a glass canopy to the façade in 1887. In fact, the Commission for Theatre Safety was worried about the risk to the public in the event of fire. It therefore ordered terraces to be provided or added, in order to facilitate an evacuation.
Then a report by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera pointed out the futility of this measure. So the Theatre de la Porte Saint Martin decided to create a winter garden. The terrace was enclosed by a metal and glass verandah, surmounted by a zinc cupola, decorated with large cabochons in coloured glass - a blend of oriental influences. The veranda was built in 1891 and destroyed in 1897. The detailed accuracy of the ornamentation and ironwork in this remarkable model might suggest that it was a model to be presented to the Theatre Commission.
Although the Theatre de la Porte Saint Martin is still functioning today, it was considerably changed internally and externally in 1930. The glass canopy and this spectacular veranda disappeared, bringing a sober look to the façade once more.




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