International Exposition of Paris 1867

Agriculture, Industry and Fine Arts

April 1, 1867 - November 3, 1867


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Bavaria and Württemberg

Bavaria and Württemberg  at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1867

THE BAVIÈRE.

An eminent statesman once said from the rostrum that a capital city was the weight of a nation. If this qualification can be applied to certain cities, such as London and Paris, which sum up and represent the national genius of a country, it cannot be used for others. Munich is one of the latter.

Mr. Octave Lacroix, our collaborator and friend, with a poet's imagination that cannot be ignored, spoke here of Ravière. For him, Bavaria holds the sceptre of art in Germany, and Munich shines there, as Athens once shone in the midst of the small republics of Greece.

This is not disputable, and we shall disagree even less with his judgment, when he says that Munich is not, among the capitals of Europe, one of those noisy centres which abound with an industrious, commercial and busy multitude. But it is precisely from this point that we shall start to establish what we do not hide from calling an indictment.

If art could be the representative of thought in Germany, Munich would undoubtedly be the intellectual capital of the country. Fortunately, the expression of Germanic genius can only be sought in the arts of speech and in the fertile bosom of the philosophical sciences. There is more. It can be said that art has been charged with an evil mission in Munich. Three generations of kings have endeavoured to drown in an ocean of mysticism those minds which are too ready to be inflamed by social ideas, and to remove from the noble concerns of science those intelligences which had to be suffocated in the heavy atmosphere of a sterile art. They wanted to make Munich the Athens of Germany, to produce Phidias and Praxiteles, but they were careful not to build Solons, Sophocles and Plutons.

Whenever it was a question of fighting for the immortal principles of free will, human dignity and universal liberty, the philosophers, fleeing from Bavaria, spread throughout Germany, to Berlin, to Jena, and only in the evening of the battle, when the struggle had exhausted them without always having given them victory, they retired to Munich, to fall asleep in the frightening calm and funereal silence of this artistic necropolis. Thus Schelling and Gœrres.

This is what three kings produced, lovers and protectors of the arts by policy or by temperament. King Louis I, who combined good instincts and generous dispositions with a profound hatred of modern society, stubbornly refused to see the march of humanity, nor did he want his people to notice it; but he had to understand that he did not have the power of Joshua when the revolution of 1848 broke out. His son, King Max, did not like dancing, or to be more exact, dancing girls, like his father, but he loved hunting. The trio of choreography and cynicism is completed today by a dilettante king who only listens attentively to the compositions of the author of Tannhauser and Lohengrin, and only listens with distraction and indifference to the cries of his soldiers whose throats are being slit in Kissingen.

Munich inspires in every traveller a feeling of deep sadness. This impression is reproduced in the visitor who, at the Champ de Mars, goes through the Bavarian section. This is the country with a surface area of 77,000 square kilometres, a population of four and a half million, the most fertile part of Germany and the most advantageous position for transit trade. Is not the south of Germany in constant connection with the north, where the large and prosperous cities, the industrial centres and the maritime outlets are? And what country in the south has a more beautiful position than Bavaria? Austria can no longer reduce its neighbour to inaction, now that the House of Habsburg is no longer part of Germanic society and is turning to the Slavic provinces to regain its weight in the European balance. And when we look at this vigorous and robust race of Bavarians, from the physiological point of view, what do we see? Superb bodies, carved as if from granite, an astonishing exuberance of vitality, constitutions that defy all destructive attacks; in short, a spectacle that reminds us that Burdach judged that it should be so, because Bavaria was the country that produced the most cattle and consumed the most meat. And this would be a naturally artistic people, lost in the vapours of metaphysics and mysticism! There is no need to discuss such a thesis: common sense will provide the answer for those who are not familiar with the history of the policy of the courts of Europe with regard to the liberal spirit in the nineteenth century.

The Bavarian people are held under a regrettable tutelage that does not justify their abilities, their aspirations, or their position in Europe from a geographical and political point of view. And to prove our point, let us begin the review of what we see of this people in the Champ de Mars, and let us note that it occupies, like the most disinherited States, only one side of one of the most secondary sectors.

Geography tells us that Bavaria is a very fertile country, fertilised by many streams; that the soil contains many precious metals. Salt is found in Fraunstein, Rosenheim, Kissingen, Orb and Durckheim; mineral waters gush forth at every step of the rugged terrain; iron is mined in the Fichtelgebirge and in the Upper Palatinate, silver near Berneck, mercury in Stahlberg and Wolfstein. Other places supply cobalt, copper, whetstone, millstone, slate and graphite. Did you know that Bavaria produces the best porcelain clay? Another untapped resource. We will mark more than one on our route.

The meadows are vast, and large livestock is raised on a large scale; there are about 250,000 beehives which produce excellent honey, and the rivers, ponds and lakes are full of fish. But how much profit does the country make from this, and what figures can the export trade put up against our accusation of somnolence?

The great forests which cover the mountain slopes occupy about a third of the kingdom and furnish fine timber, but has Bavaria made the same effort as Austria to show us her forest products at the Champ de Mars?

Fame has taught us that Augsburg was distinguished by its jewellery, Erlangen by its carpets. Nymphenburg for its porcelain, Wurzburg for its hats, the Rhoengebirge for its clocks, and Nuremberg for its toys and tobacco; but what are we to think of them after our visit to the Palace?

One reputation, which is not misleading, is that of beer. Six thousand breweries produce five and a half million hectolitres annually. So much for quantity. A gold medal was awarded to this triumphant drink, known as Salvador, and sold at the Exhibition by Mr. Sedlmayer of Munich. So much for quality.

A strange contradiction! It is this robust people who, in the midst of tobacco shops and breweries, would have glimpsed through the clouds of smoke, and by mounting their imagination with streams of beer, the most abstract ideal of the purest art!

We have hardly seen any wines, and yet Frankenwein and the vintages of Rödelsee, Sommerach and Eschendorff have their merits.

And now, to say only a word about trade, should not Bamberg, Nuremberg and Schweinfurlh be the counters of this country, so admirably placed for transit, between North Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy? But in spite of the great number of communication routes, in spite of the numerous navigable rivers and the Louis Canal, which joins the Mein to the Danube, that is to say the North Sea to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, in spite of a network of railways, which connects the great centres of population with the rest of Europe, trade is almost non-existent.

It may be admitted that Bavaria was exposed in the midst of the general turmoil of Germany, under the most unfortunate conditions, when the call of all able-bodied men, carried in agriculture, industry and commerce, a disturbance, the consequences of which are still felt today. But if there is one country that has suffered more than Bavaria, it is Austria, to which the hardest blows have been dealt, and see the difference.

After this overview, we shall go through the gallery and note, at least in passing, what is relatively worth mentioning. But we are as embarrassed as our draughtsman who, when we commissioned him to draw a view of the Bavarian exhibition, in order to remain faithful to our programme of accompanying each article with an engraving, could only give us a display case containing - corsets.

Talking about the Central Garden we find first of all the first group, the history of work and the fine arts. A special article has already been devoted to them, and a second will complete the first; it is therefore useless to stop here. However, let us mention Messrs. Piloty and Loehle, of Munich, who have exhibited a volume giving in very interesting plates the history of the development of lithography invented by Aloise Sénefelder, in Munich.

In a previous issue, we spoke of Group II, which includes the liberal arts. Mr. Hallberger and Mr. Pustet, booksellers, one in Munich, the other in Regensburg, have received their share of praise. A speciality of Bavaria is the manufacture of pencils, graphite and slates. Mr. Faber's factory near Nuremberg enjoys a European reputation. Next to him, we must also mention Mr. Rehbach in Regensburg and Mr. Beissbarlh in Nuremberg.

The group of furniture can only give us a sad idea of German taste, and we will not mention the name of this ill-advised upholsterer, who exhibited old-fashioned furnishings, relegated for a hundred years to some back room and brought out in 1867 to face the sun of the Champ de Mars. The same reproach of lack of taste and heaviness of form can be addressed to two vases in alabaster and blue glass produced by the factory of Mr. Steigerwald, and which by their dimensions attract the attention of the visitor.

The leather goods and tableware are far from being able to compete with those of Austria.

Bayreuth and Bamberg have sent fabrics and cloths which can only be praised for their solidity, but why is the shoe-making industry only exhibiting slippers and slippers, and the hat-making industry only Tyrolean hats? Of course, this is one of the most developed branches of Bavarian manufacturing, but it is only one branch.

Here we are near the toys of Nuremberg. My heart leapt in anticipation. As in a dream I saw the herds I led to the meadow, the armies I led into battle, the Polichinelles, the Turks, the Chinese and the bayadères I made march as I pleased. Wooden herds, lead soldiers, cardboard men, the name of Nuremberg alone had resurrected you from that valley of Jehoshaphat where the childhood of each of us lies. The illusion had lasted only a minute, and the sad reality was there. Another reputation crumbled! Is this heavy golden carriage, with eight horses, held in hand by grotesque servants, the last word of this art so naive and so profound at the same time? Has the article Paris risen for Nuremberg like a Medusa's head, and is it no longer even trying to fight? But then why does philosophical Germany not try to produce dolls dressed in the costumes of all the peoples of the world? This would be an ingenious way of teaching children geography, just as one teaches them to read with gingerbread or baked goods. Is this not a task worthy of Nuremberg, and capable of restoring its lost reputation? And what could be more enviable than a reputation established among children? It is a glory whose fragrant memory follows the man throughout his career.

In front of the toys that Nuremberg presents to us today, Mr. Bébé himself passes by disdainfully, shrugging his shoulders with a movement that he caught in Fanfan Benoîton, and like him he exclaims: It's pitiful!
We have nothing left to quote. The woods used for flooring and musical instruments, the colours, and among these the ultramarine blue and the Nuremberg green with its various shades, are the only products that have struck us.

We have finished our race, and, as the German poet says, we take a last look at the tomb of our illusions. Fortunately the future is here, and this thought reassures us. What has hitherto prevented Bavaria from taking the place it deserves among the nations of Europe is the intolerance of its government and the influence of its Jesuit teachers. It must not be forgotten that Munich is the most advanced post of ultramontane politics. It is from there that the holy militia watches over the works of Germanic thought. Does not this last word give the key to the enigma?


THE WURTEMBERG.

Bavaria, to which we shall not return in our publication, has absorbed almost all our space, to the detriment of a small State, its neighbour, three times smaller than it, and a hundred times more interesting and instructive. We shall repair the damage done to Württemberg another day; for today we shall content ourselves with an overview.

Our editor, M. Ducuing, has said of King Charles I of Württemberg that he did not thwart the happiness of his people, and that he even helped it; and this is true. The kingdom is only 19,920 square kilometres in area, and its inhabitants number only a million and a half; but it would be difficult to find a more complete prosperity. There is no country more generally enlightened than Württemberg. Where can one find more wisely directed, more frequent, more useful elementary schools than its own? Where can one find gymnasiums in which more serious studies are carried out? It was from there that all the great reformers came out, and it was the old university of Tubingen that sent out into the world those who were to shake society to its very foundations. More than 2500 primary schools, both Protestant and Catholic, spread instruction among the people; a host of institutions are devoted to the study of science. Is it necessary to mention the agronomic academy of Hokenheim, so universally known in Europe, four other agronomic schools, a school of horticulture, a school of meadow cultivation, a forestry school and a polytechnic school of Stuttgard, to which the learned Baron of Liebig has given so much brilliance?

In addition to this primary and secondary education, there are 1071 trade schools, where workers are taught, and many of them have exhibited samples of their skills on the Champ de Mars. These architectural models, line drawings, animal heads, two-pencil studies, portraits and albums were sent by schools in towns such as Neuffen, which had 1900 inhabitants, Geisslingen, which had 3000, and Sulz, which had 1800. And of course we are not talking about Stuttgard, Ulm or Reuttlingen.

This intellectual agitation which distinguishes Württemberg is life on the march with its procession of passions and hopes. The Swabian race is a strong and powerful race which, in its primitive nature, has retained all its originality. There is a singular mixture of enthusiasm and coolness, a taste for adventure and a penchant for daring, with a suspicious reserve and a strong dose of prudence; alongside the most naive abandonment, a great deal of finesse, and above all a terrible and sincere anger at the same time. It is a well-known proverb that a Swabian waits until he is forty to become wise. As a final trait of this character, we shall read that, in spite of a certain native awkwardness, the Swabian is conscious of his personal value.

And now, without going into details that we will reserve for a later article, let us see what this country produces.

As part of both the Danube and Rhine basins, Württemberg supplies all the agricultural products of Central Europe. Wine, wheat and fruit, pastures, tobacco and hops are of excellent quality. The soil yields iron, copper, alum, salt, coal, pottery clay, alabaster, marble, agates, whetstone, millstone, sulphur pyrites and peat. Thirty-two mineral springs enrich the country, which exports its products to all parts of the world. The manufacturing industry produces agricultural implements, such as scythes, sickles, straw-axes, surgical instruments, bells and fire pumps. Trade is mainly concerned with the export of the products of the soil.

Activity reigns everywhere, work enriches the country, education enlightens it, the people are happy, the sovereign is esteemed. -Et nunc, reges, intelligite ; erudimini qui judicatis terram.

©L'Exposition Universelle de 1867 Illustrée