Vertigo of the imagination
Until December 31
Avenue Winston Churchill – 75008 Paris
The Petit Palais presents a retrospective devoted to André Devambez, an artist of the Belle Époque with an engaging personality and unbridled humour. A true jack-of-all-trades, he was a painter, engraver and illustrator, oscillating between serious and light subjects. Little known to the general public today, André Devambez received many honours during his lifetime and enjoyed great renown.
André Devambez was born in Paris and grew up amidst his family’s engraving and publishing business, the Maison Devambez, which his father Édouard founded. He showed an early aptitude for drawing and quickly began academic studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was awarded the Prix de Rome, which enabled him to perfect his training at the Villa Medici. On his return to Paris, this city and its inhabitants were one of his favourite subjects.
His pictures of the French capital with their bird’s-eye views show his taste for innovative framing. It was even said that his views could cause vertigo!
Un mariage en aéroplane, au-dessus de la Tour Eiffel et de la Seine (La Noce en aéro-taxi), 1909.
Lithographie. MUDO, musée de l’Oise Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Adrien Didierjean
He had a passion for modern inventions, in particular the automobile, double-decker buses, airships, and especially aeroplanes. He regularly visited airfields and, as an attentive observer, depicted them in his “aeronautical views” with perfect precision.
At the same time, Devambez pursued a career as an illustrator for magazines such as Le Figaro illustré and l’Illustration. With this medium, the artist gave his vivid imagination free reign. He conjured up teeming crowds, ornery characters and nightmarish monsters such as the “Macrobes” which he invented for a science fiction short story.
Gulliver enlève la flotte, 1909. Huile sur toile.
Collection Maïk Bouchayer. Photo Salingue/Rennes
With nearly 250 works, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the artist’s florid imagination, demonstrating both a taste for modernity and vibrant creativity.
This exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes.
Annick Lemoine, director of the Petit Palais
Maïté Metz, heritage curator at the Petit Palais
Guillaume Kazerouni, head of the ancient art collections at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes