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Construction of an Elevated Railway: Bridge over the Cours de Vincennes

Construction of an Elevated Railway: Bridge over the Cours de Vincennes

1888

Paul Désiré Trouillebert

(French, 1829-1900)

Oil on fabric

Unframed: 38.2 x 56 cm (15 1/16 x 22 1/16 in.)

Bequest of Noah L. Butkin 1980.289

Description

Conceived in 1851, after Napoleon III came to power, the railway encircling Paris was intended to transport merchandise and, eventually, passengers. The railway represented a new convenience, but measures were needed to ensure the safety of other traffic. The numerous railway crossings included in the initial plans turned out to be a source of fatal accidents. To remedy the problem, the platforms and retaining walls were to be raised at the most dangerous spots. The Cours de Vincennes, in the eastern part of Paris, had been one of the deadliest intersections. The work on an elevated railway bridge over this street, which is depicted here, was completed in February 1889. Trouillebert concentrated on portraits until about 1881, when he began to focus on landscapes. He also painted everyday scenes and nudes. He was commissioned by Edme Piot, a public works contractor, to paint this and four related views of the Paris railway construction.

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