Constantin MeunierPuddlers at the Furnace© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / DR
The exhibition presents the historic reality of an industrial venture led collectively by the strong personalities of the Wendel family, both men and women, by their directors and associates, by their employees and workers. This family adventure is closely related to the tormented history of Lorraine, France and Germany. It has also participated in the wakening of a social consciousness that prompted the management of the enterprise to organise the workers' lives, to invent a wide variety of solutions to take care of workers in case of accidents or death, to build schools, hospitals, cities, churches, etc...
With paintings, sculptures, objects, models of places and machines, architectural or technical drawings, early photographs, this exhibition attempts to show all aspects of the Lorraine adventure: history of the Wendel family, life of Lorraine dwellers, technical innovations, the "paternalism" peculiar to 19th-century great entrepreneurs etc. It continues the series of exhibitions devoted to such great dynasties of architects as the Vaudoyers (1991), of industrialists as the Schneiders (1995), of artists as the Halévies (1999).
Caroline Mathieu, chief curator, Musée d'Orsay, with the collaboration of Michaël Chkroun