Musée d'Orsay: Léon Cuzol Property of Mr. Chatel, 207 rue de Crimée

Léon Cuzol
Property of Mr. Chatel, 207 rue de Crimée

Property of Mr. Chatel, 207 rue de Crimée
Léon Cuzol (active between 1904 and 1911)
Property of Mr. Chatel, 207 rue de Crimée
Pen, ink and watercolour wash and photograph (citrate print)
H.109; W. 99,5 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Side entrance elevation
Courtyard facade
Main entrance elevation
Main entrance elevation
Perspective view of the top three storeys
Elevation of the ground floor, first floor and second floor of the street façade

Propriété de M. Chatel, 207 rue de Crimée [Property of Mr. Chatel, 207 rue de Crimée]

The apartment building at 207 rue de Crimée in Paris was commissioned by Victor Chatel, who owned the land and the foundry there. The new building retained the workshops at the end of the site, reorganising them slightly. Consisting of small apartments with neither bathroom nor toilet, no doubt these rooms were designed primarily for the foundry workers.

This photograph is of Cuzot's submission to the Salon of French Artists in 1904. It thus gives us a better understanding of how architectural designs were presented. In particular, it invites a comparison between the use of drawing and the use of photography, methods of representation that were at once, superfluous - an entrance illustrated in a drawing and in a photograph, both giving the same viewpoint - and complementary, the drawing rendering the polychromy, and highlighting the use of space in the roofs, and the photograph demonstrating more precisely the methods of construction and the ornamentation.

Although the plate does not reveal anything of the practical aspects - situation on the site, fittings or size of the apartments – it does reveal, on the other hand, the stylistic choices. Placed in the centre, the drawing of the upper storeys shows that the architect had taken advantage of the possibilities offered by new municipal legislation that allowed a more imaginative use of space and the use of roof spaces for an extra floor.

The other drawings illustrate the use of rationalist principles from Viollet-le-Duc's discourse on Gothic architectonics, leading to the rejection of historicist references, and a preference for highlighting the structure. As well as an example of Viollet-le-Duc's popularisation of rationalism and its application to an apartment block, this design is also an interesting example of the urbanisation of the 19th arrondissement, a working class area that had boomed since it was included within the Paris boundary during the annexation of peripheral communes in 1860.

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