An Opening Day at the Palais of Champs Elysees - Rixens Jean Andre

Rixens Jean Andre (1846 - 1924)

An Opening Day at the Palais of Champs Elysees, 1890

Oil on canvas, 110 x 170 cm

Ε. Koutlidis Foundation Collection

Inv. Number Κ.1042
On view Main Building

The painting in the Evripidis Koutlidis Collection depicts the vernissage day at the Palais des Champs-Elysees, or Palace of Industry, built for the 1855 World Fair in competition with London’s Crystal Palace. The 1878 and 1889 World Fairs, the Salon from 1857 on, and other exhibitions, horse races, and other events were held there until its demolition in 1897 to make room for the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, which would host the 1900 World Fair.

This is a group portrait surrounded by sculpture exhibits, featuring some of the most prominent artists of the Third Republic, including Bouguereau, Puvis de Chavannes, Bonnat, Gerome, Roll, Carolus Duran, Harpignies, and the author Alexandre Dumas. Sculptors Dalou and Rodin, alongside Gustave Larroumet, can be seen talking near Alfred Boucher’s sculpture “To the Finishing Line” (“Au But”). Ιn the foreground on the right can be seen Auguste Cain’s sculpture “A Tigress Feeding Her Cubs” (“Tigresse apportant un paon a ses petits”). To the right of the composition is depicted the artist and his wife.

This painting documents, not only the social and artistic life of the time, but also the building itself, as it preserves its architecture, famous for its iron construction. The scene takes place underneath the arched glass roof and before the iron interior and the imposing stained-glass window depicted in the background.