World Fair of Paris 1889

Centenary of the French Revolution

May 6, 1889 - October 31, 1889


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Bartholdi fountain

Bartholdi fountain at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889

Architect(s) : Bartholdi

It is almost impossible for you not to have noticed this fountain, which is located in the thirty-metre gallery, at the end that borders the Palais des Machines, i.e. between the two ramps of the grand staircase leading to the promenades that extend for more than a kilometre around the building.

Made of lead after Bartholdi's model, it is intended to decorate one of the public squares in the city of Bordeaux.

I do not undertake to say exactly whether it represents the Garonne on its way to the sea, or the Dordogne bringing its waters to the Garonne and uniting with it to form the Gironde, for there are state graces for the allegory, which has the right to be applied to just about anything one wants, but what I do know is that it shows a very ancient and highly seaworthy chariot, since it is made of a shell, with a very beautiful woman guiding, without seeming to find it difficult, four vigorous horses which are not very seaworthy, or at least they are shod like the first horses to come along.

This is the only thing they have in common with ordinary horses, for they are superb in their movement and attitude and form an admirable foreground to a monumental whole, which will be even more so when the fountain is in place and in operation, for the large plateau on which the chariot stands, and which rather ungracefully intersects the pyramidal group, will disappear under the waters to which it will serve as the first basin and which will then flow into the lower basin, partly masking the rocks, the base of the upper building.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition - Lucien Huard