Honoré DAUMET (1826-1911). French Architect, Grand Prix de Rome of architecture 1855
Souvenirs of the Grand Tour. Drawings and architectural surveys drawn in Italy, Greece, Spain and Maroco
A set of watercolors on Whatman paper and of graphite drawings on blue paper, captioned, dated and signed with the HD monogram
Student of Charles Felix SAINT PERE (1804-1885) and William Abel BLOUET (1795-1853), Honoré DAUMET (1826-1911) was one of the leading architect of his time. He won the Grand Prix de Rome of Architecture in 1855. Resident of the Villa Medici during five years, he traveled through Italy and performed its regulatory works: les envois de Rome, a set of drawings which are now kept at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris (Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris). But he also set for himself what he felt like to be a subject of study, filling his valuable portfolios with drawings (pencil on blue paper, gouache and watercolors), including the present set. In 1858 he attempted with Vaudremer the traditional trip to Greece, and shared for four months, at the French School of Athens, the companionship of Perrot and Heuzey. At the end of his stay at the Villa Medici in 1860, he couldn’t resigned himself to get back to France, and he visited with his friend the painter Henner, Etruria and the Sabine, continuing his harvest of studies and sketches. By the first days of April 1861, he performed with Leon Heuzey an archaeological mission in Greece and Thessaly, commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III. On his return to France, he spent part of his time teaching at the School of Fine Arts. Vice President of the Architectural committee of the city of Paris (commission d’architecture de la ville de Paris), he worked from 1867 with Jean Louis Duc (1802-1879), at the major project of restructuring the courthouse of Paris, as well as the completion of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre (1884-1886) (Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre). He was chosen by the Duke of Aumale to succeed Félix Duban (1797-1870) and carry out the reconstruction of the Château de Chantilly from 1876 to 1882. Daumet erected on the foundations of the old castle the magnificent building as we know it today in which are distributed both reception rooms and art galleries to house the collections the prince.
Honoré Daumet was member of the Institut de France and Commander of the Legion of Honour.
This set of forty-three drawings consists of both architectural surveys in watercolor on Whatman paper (13) and drawings on the motif: watercolors (16) or graphite on blue paper (14). They are signed with the HD monogram, captioned and dated.
Thirty-two of these drawings were executed between 1856 and 1861 while Daumet was at the Villa Medici. They reflect the various trips in the Italian pénisule, during wich the young architect marveled at the masterpieces he contemplated. Beside eight sheets depicting Rome, other drawings were made in Taormina and Naples (1856), Pisa and Venice Mantua (1857), Florence (1859), Siena (1860); and in Greece. Daumet made a first trip to Athens with Vaudremer in 1858 (a view of the Acropolis dated 1858) and performed an archaeological mission in Macedonia with Leon Heuzey at the request of Emperor Napoleon III in 1861 (a portrait of an old Greek from Thessaly dated 1861).
Eleven designs were made in the following years, while the architect was traveling in France and abroad, for the purposes of his work. As an example he went to Sicily to visit the Duke of Aumale (a view of the Segesta temple near Palermo is dated 1885), or in Grenoble to build the new courthouse (a view of the Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble is dated 1889). The latest drawing of this set is a watercolor dated 1903, a view of the garden of the the pavilion de la Venerie in the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where Honoré Daumet lived during his retirement, while he remained architect in chief of the castle of Saint Germain.
Honoré Daumet was "a fine draftsman and colorist with a very trained eye" according to the words of his pupil Charles Girault (1851-1932), in the book he published in 1919 : “Notes on the life and works of Honoré Daumet”. This first monograph devoted to Daumet contains many illustration with some drawings very similar to those contained in this unseen collection.
These drawings are framed in four molded oak frames.
15 1/3 in. high ( 98,5 cm) / 27 in. wide (68,5 cm)
Literature : Notes sur la vie et les œuvres de Honoré Daumet, membre de l’Institut, ancien président de la société centrale des architectes. Préface de Léon Heuzey. Paris, chez Victor Jacquemin graveur et imprimeur, 1919.
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