Construction du Chemin de Fer Métropolitain Municipal de Paris. Viaduc de Passy
by Godefroy, G. & L'Union Photographique Française, et al.
34 silver gelatin prints, each approx. 9 7/8" x 6 7/8", documenting the construction of the Viaduc de Passy, a dual-use steel bridge connecting the 15th and 16th arrondissements across the Seine at the Île des Cygnes, beginning with the removal of the Passerelle de Passy footbridge in July 1903, with views during two years of work creating and placing the abutments, piers, arches, and columns; the upper deck railway for the Métro Ligne 6; cast-iron sculptural groups by Gustave Michel; and the central ornamental portico on the Île des Cygnes with allegorical reliefs by Jules Coutan and Jean Antoine Injalbert, ultimately concluding with the bridge's official inauguration in July 1906, each mounted to heavy card, approx. 14" x 10 5/8", with printed captions identifying the location, date, and orientation of the photograph. Card stock toned at edges with minor bowing, a few prints lightly worn at edges, otherwise very good condition with fine tone and contrast. Prints loose as issued, housed in recent cloth case. Paris 1903-1906. Originally conceived in conjunction with the 1900 Exposition Universelle by engineer Louis Biette and architect Jean-Camille Formigé, the Viaduc de Passy was a major achievement in the early twentieth-century modernization of Parisian public transport. According to our research, the present collection may have been commissioned by the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and taken by members of the Union Photographique Française, an association whose members were required to remain anonymous to preserve the philosophical objectivity of their métier. The skillfully composed prints are an impressive narrative of the engineering and architectural triumphs at Viaduc de Passy as well as an atmospheric portrait of the city and Seine at the turn of the century, with other monuments, including the Eiffel Tower, visible from the construction site. In 1948 the bridge was renamed the Pont de Bir-Hakeim to commemorate a Libyan battle fought against the German Afrika Korps in 1942. Although they appear to be selections from a published series that may have been issued in multiple groups, as of July 2014, OCLC records the Bibliothèque Nationale de France as the only institutional holding worldwide. (Inventory #: 47957)
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