Musée d'Orsay: Anonyme Pink Palace

Pink Palace

Pink Palace, residence of Count Robert de Montesquiou: basin
Pink Palace, residence of Count Robert de Montesquiou: basin
Between 1910 and 1913
Photomechanical print (heliogravure)
H. 14; W. 9 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Palais rose, résidence du comte de Montesquiou : la vasque [Pink Palace, residence of Count Robert de Montesquiou: basin]

In 1906 Count Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921) bought the Pink Palace in Le Vésinet, near Paris. This residence, clearly inspired by the Grand Trianon in Versailles, designed by an architect whose name has not come down to us, was built in 1897 for the shipowner Schweitzer, a cousin of the famous doctor. It was then bought by a Hindi millionaire, who never lived in it.
In his memoirs Les pas effacés (1923), Montesquiou recalls his reaction when he saw the Pink Palace for the first time: "[...] if this improbable, impossible, and yet real, house is not mine by tomorrow, I will die!". Before moving in, the count had some major work done: on an adjoining piece of ground, he had a building constructed for his library, which he called the Hermitage, and in the centre of the garden, a small edifice with columns inspired by the Temple of Love in the Petit Trianon. The pool is made from a famous basin of pink marble. At the time this basin was said to have been used as a bath, firstly by Mme de Montespan and later by Mme de Pompadour. Today the basin has been returned to the Château de Versailles. Montesquiou recounted that: "the waves wept and played there, and in the evening electric lighting, trapped under the cupola, illuminated it in the middle of the countryside, like a shining bandstand, supported by eight columns of shadow".

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