The evolution of the industrial landscape

The evolution of the industrial landscape

  • Factories in Argenteuil.

    CAILLEBOTTE Gustave (1848 - 1894)

  • The canal at Saint-Denis.

    LUGNIER Jean (1901 - 1969)

  • The eighteen chimneys of Saint-Denis.

    SIGNAC Paul (1863 - 1935)

  • Station and factories in Saint-Denis.

    Maurice FALLIES (1883)

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Title: Factories in Argenteuil.

Author : CAILLEBOTTE Gustave (1848 - 1894)

Creation date : 1887

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 65 - Width 82

Technique and other indications: Oil painting on canvas

Storage location: Private collection

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Picture reference: 94DE18103

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

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Title: The canal at Saint-Denis.

Author : LUGNIER Jean (1901 - 1969)

Creation date : 1935

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Saint-Denis Art and History Museum

Contact copyright: © Saint-Denis, art and history museum - Photo I. Andréani

© Saint-Denis, art and history museum - Photo I. Andréani

The eighteen chimneys of Saint-Denis.

© Saint-Denis, art and history museum - Photo I. Andréani

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Title: Station and factories in Saint-Denis.

Author : FALLIES Maurice (1883 -)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Ile-de-France Museum of Sceaux website

Contact copyright: © Collection Musée de l'Ile-de-France, Château de Sceaux - photo P. Lemaitresite web

Picture reference: 57.2.6

Station and factories in Saint-Denis.

© Ile-de-France museum collection, Sceaux castle - photo P. Lemaitre

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

The dates surrounding these four works correspond very exactly to the period of intense industrialization of the Saint-Denis plain, located between the current Parisian ring road and the edge of the city of Saint-Denis. From this inner suburb, the factory has gradually expelled all rural activity (disappearance of market gardening - and how can we help mentioning that of Argenteuil asparagus!) Or residential (castles, bourgeois homes or villages).

These four canvases, which are the work of creators with certainly very different temperaments and cultures, together bear witness to the impact of the industrial phenomenon, in the dimensions it has reached since the end of the 19th century, on the sensitivity of contemporary artists. The four tables perfectly identify the factors which, in addition to the immediate proximity of the Parisian market and its reservoir of labor, determine this industrial location: the waterways (the Seine itself, and the Saint-Denis canal bypassing the meanders of the Seine, with its extension into the Canal Saint-Martin); and the railway line, the central artery of the northern network, which opens to coal from northern France, Belgium, Germany and all markets in northern Europe.

Image Analysis

The oldest of these four representations shows two elongated workshops, the boiler building and the steam engine being undoubtedly at their head (left); The architecture is traditional (low halls, tiled roofs, semicircular windows on the sides - probably a machine building workshop).

The two views of Lugnier and Signac underline the function of the waterway: transport of heavy goods (coal, construction materials) by barges and tugs; unloading docks with their cranes. That of Falliès favors the railway; but it is not that of long-distance links, of travelers for abroad: it is that of suburban workers' and industrial services - the factories are on the rails as elsewhere by the water. However, there is no mention of the internal network of the "industrial railway" which connected the main line to companies.

A striking contrast is between Caillebotte and Falliès on the one hand, Signac and Lugnier on the other: for the former, the use of a very dark palette; for the latter, a much brighter vision of the alliance of sky and water. Lugnier grasped the interweaving, in many places, of the factory and the habitat (in the center of the background, a three- or four-story working-class building). All were won over by the interplay of verticals: fireplaces and their reflections in the water, especially those of the power station chosen by Signac; chimneys, mechanical signals from the railway line and undoubtedly gas plant installations at Falliès.

Interpretation

Falliès, Lugnier and Signac are particularly valuable in their testimony on this "vision of another continent" that the Parisian before 1950 could afford, a few kilometers from home, before the powerful movement of deindustrialisation developed. of the depicted area, that is to say of the department of Seine-Saint-Denis. The uninviting landscape of the station today retains a value that evokes the subjugation of employees to the "commuter train", despite the recent modernization of transport in the Ile-de-France region; the notion was born precisely, at the turn of the twentieth century, from the first reduced railway fares intended to facilitate the daily “switching” between residence and work. The efforts of the inventory services of industrial sites, sometimes arriving after the demolition workers, find in these tables useful and sometimes impressive additions.

  • suburbs
  • railway
  • industrial Revolution
  • town planning
  • factory
  • channel

Bibliography

Jean BASTIÉ The growth of the Parisian suburbs Paris, PUF, 1964.Louis BERGERON The industrialization of France in the 19th century Paris, Hatier coll. “Profile-dossier”, 1979. Marie BERTHAUD Gustave Caillebotte : catalog raisonné of paintings and pastels Paris, Wildenstein Institute, 1994 Anne DISTEL Signac. In time of harmony Paris, Gallimard, coll. "Discoveries", 2001.Georges DUBY (dir.) History of urban France , t. 4, The city of the industrial age , by Maurice AGULHON, Françoise CHOAY, Maurice CRUBELLIER, Yves LEQUIN, Marcel RONCAYOLOParis, Seuil, 1983, reed coll. “Points Histoire”, 1998. Alain FAURE (dir.) The first suburbanites: the origins of the suburbs of Paris (1860-1940) Paris, Créaphis, 1991.Gérard NOIRIEL Workers in French society Paris, Seuil coll. “Points Seuil”, 1986. Jean BASTIÉ The growth of the Parisian suburbs Paris, PUF, 1964.Louis BERGERON The industrialization of France in the 19th century Paris, Hatier coll. "Points Seuil", 1986.

To cite this article

Louis BERGERON, "The evolution of the industrial landscape"


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