Victor Baltard (1805-1874). Iron and Paintbrush
Baltard's name still evokes in all Parisians a symbolic landmark in the capital city which has now disappeared, the Halles de Paris (the Paris market). This extensive edifice made of iron and glass, so often imitated, was the origin of the architect's immense fame but also caused him to be misunderstood by some historians who refused to consider him the inventor of the project.
As a matter of fact, a complex, not to say ambivalent character, Baltard was constantly torn between the affirmation of the artistic nature of his work and his thirst for technical innovation.
The exhibition aims to demonstrate that far from being incompatible, both of these preoccupations played a part in nourishing his creativity. To achieve this, it gathers very different artworks (architectural drawings, models, old photographs, engravings, paintings, furniture, stained glass, etc.), which illustrate both facets of Baltard: the artist who, following Ingres and Flandrin, directed the decoration of Parisian churches and later the Hôtel de Ville, and the builder who made fruitful use of metal and, together with Haussmann, created the new face of the capital city.