Immeuble de rapport, 1, rue Huysmans, Paris 6e
Although the date is late for the collections in the Musée d'Orsay, this drawing symbolises both the work of a little-known architect called Jacques Ernest Raoul Brandon and architectural production in Paris in the early 20th century. This elegant presentation of an apartment building, intended for rent, covers all facets of architectural design. On the one hand, the perspective elevation of the facade shows a building punctuated by balconies, loggias and projections, recalling that the new town planning regulations allowed variations in the proportions and profile of mouldings on the facade and lavish use of projecting features. On the other hand, details of the interior reveal the classic treatment of the living room, with its wood panelling and mantel-glass, and of the spiral staircase with its ornate handrail and windows including stained glass panes. The wrought iron work is shown off by the representation of the double gate at the entrance to the building and a detailed drawing of a balcony railing. A significant place is reserved for the sculpture on the facade, illustrated by the two medallions of a mother and child and the modillions of human heads along the bottom of the drawing.
But the architect has added a personal touch, by making this drawing a wedding announcement. Indeed Brandon married shortly before the drawing was finished and the building was the wedding present he gave his wife. The garland of flowers curving across the drawing and the two doves cooing on the balcony refer to the wedding.
The quality of the rendering and the multi-facetted content make this architectural drawing most unusual.