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Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937)

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Title: Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937)  
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Subject: 1930s, World's fair, List of world's fairs, Olivier Messiaen, Prague Václav Havel Airport, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, Nazi architecture, Eileen Gray, Gen Paul, Dalecarlian horse
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Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937)

The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life) was held from 25 May to 25 November 1937 in Paris, France. Both the Musée de l'Homme and the Palais de Tokyo, which houses the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, were created at this occasion.


At first the centerpiece of the exposition was to be a 2,300-foot (700 m) tower ("Phare du Monde") which was to have a spiraling road to a parking garage located at the top and a hotel and restaurant located above that. The idea was abandoned as far too expensive.[1]

The Canadian pavilion included Joseph-Émile Brunet' 28-foot sculpture of a buffalo (1937). Paintings by Joseph-Émile Brunet, panels on the outside of the structure, and a show inside the Canadian pavilion depicted aspects of Canadian culture.

The Spanish pavilion attracted attention as the exposition took place during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish pavilion was built by the Spanish architect Josep Lluis Sert.[2] The pavilion, set up by the Republican government, included Pablo Picasso's famous painting Guernica,[3] a depiction of the horrors of war, Alexander Calder's sculpture Mercury Fountain and Joan Miró's painting Catalan peasant in revolt.[4]

Two of the other notable pavilions were those of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The organization of the world exhibition had placed the German and the Soviet pavilions directly across each other.[5] Hitler had desired to withdraw from participation, but his architect Albert Speer convinced him to participate after all, showing Hitler his plans for the German pavilion. Speer later revealed in his autobiographies that he had had a clandestine look at the plans for the Soviet pavilion, and had designed the German pavilion to represent a bulwark against Communism.

Plagued by delay, at the opening day of the exhibition, only the German and the Soviet pavilions were completed. This, as well as the fact that the two pavilions faced each other, turned the exhibition into a competition between the two great ideological rivals.

Speer's pavilion was completed by a tall tower crowned with the symbols of the Nazi state: an eagle and the swastika. The pavilion was conceived as a monument to "German pride and achievement". It was to broadcast to the world that a new and powerful Germany had a restored sense of national pride. At night, the pavilion was illuminated by floodlights. Josef Thorak's Comradeship stood outside the pavilion, depicting two enormous nude males, clasping hands and standing defiantly side by side, in a pose of defense and racial camaraderie.[5]

Vera Mukhina designed the large figurative sculpture on the Soviet pavilion for the exhibition, whose architect was Boris Iofan. The grand building was topped with Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, a large momentum-exerting statue, of a male worker and a female peasant, their hands thrusting a hammer and a sickle together, in a symbol of worker union.[5]


At the presentation, both Speer and Iofan, who also designed the Palace of Soviets that was planned to be constructed in Moscow, were awarded gold medals for their respective designs. Also, for his model of the Nuremberg party rally grounds, the jury granted Speer, to his and Hitler's surprise, a Grand Prix.[6]

Artist Johanne deRibert Kajanus, mother of composer Georg Kajanus and film-maker Eva Norvind, granddaughter of composer and conductor Robert Kajanus, and grandmother of actress Nailea Norvind, won a bronze medal for her life-size sculpture of 'Mother and Child' at the exhibition.

Polish engineers from Warsaw won a gold medal for the new Polish locomotive Pm36-1 PKP class Pm36.

American architect Alden Dow won the "grand prize for residential architecture" for his John S. Whitman House, built in Midland, Michigan, USA.[7]

Festivals of the Exposition

  • 23 May — The Centenary of the Arc de Triomphe
  • 5 – 13 June — The International Floralies
  • 26 June — Motorboat races on the Seine
  • 29 June — Dance Festival
  • July — Midsummer Night's Dream (In the gardens of Bagatelle)
  • 3 July — Horse Racing
  • 4 – 11 July — Rebirth of the City
  • 21 July — Colonial Festival
  • 27 July — World Championship Boxing Matches
  • 30 July – 10 August — The True Mystery of the Passion (before Notre Dame Cathedral)
  • 12 September — Grape Harvest Festival
  • Forty Two International Sporting Championships
  • Every Night: Visions of Fairyland on the Seine

See also


External links

  • Exposition Internationale de 1937 Photographs
  • Exposition Internationale by Sylvain Ageorges (French)
  • Traces of the Exposition

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