Exposition Universelle (1900)

Exposition Universelle (1900)

The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world's fair held in Paris, France, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next. The style that was universally present in the Exposition was "Art Nouveau".

50 million visitors

The exhibition lasted from 15 April until 12 November 1900. A special committee, led by Gustave Eiffel, awarded a gold medal to Lavr Proskuryakov's project for the Yenisei Bridge in Krasnoyarsk. More than 50 million people attended the exhibition (a world record at the time), it turned a profit for the French government of 7,000,000 Francs. The fair included more than 76,000 exhibitors and covered 1.12 square kilometres of Paris.

A number of Paris' most noted structures were built for the Exposition, including the Gare de Lyon, the Gare d'Orsay (now the Musée d'Orsay), the Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, La Ruche, and the Petit Palais. The first line of the Paris Metro also began operation to coincide with the Exposition. Although completed in just 18 months, it was nevertheless slightly late, taking its first paying passengers to the Ancien Palais du Trocadéro site on 19 July 1900. The "Salle des Machines" ("Machines' Room") was later turned into a indoor cycling track, the "Vélodrome d'hiver", which became infamous during Vichy France.

Part of the Exposition was the Second Olympic Games, which were spread over five months. The games also marked the first participation by female athletes and, in such sports as tennis, football (soccer), polo, rowing and tug of war, teams were multinational.


The Exposition Universelle was where talking films and escalators were first publicized, and where Campbell's Soup was awarded a gold medal (an image of which still appears on its label). At the Exposition Rudolf Diesel exhibited his diesel engine, running on peanut oil. Brief films of excerpts from opera and ballet are apparently the first films exhibited publicly with projection of both image and recorded sound. The Exposition also featured many panoramic paintings and extensions of the panorama technique, such as the Cinéorama, Mareorama, and Trans-Siberian Railway Panorama.

The centrepiece of the Palais de l'Optique, was the 1.25 m (49.2 inch) diameter "Great Exposition Refractor". This telescope is the largest refracting telescope built to date. The optical tube assembly was 60 meters long and 1.5 meters in diameter and was fixed in place due to its mass. Light from the sky was sent into the tube by a movable 2-meter mirror.

A Human Zoo was present at the exposition. On the other hand, a "Negro exposition" ("Exposé nègre") was made, during which photos by Frances Benjamin Johnston, a friend of Booker T. Washington, of his black students of the Hampton Institute were presented Anne Maxell, "Montrer l'Autre: Franz Boas et les soeurs Gerhard", in "Zoos humains. De la Vénus hottentote aux reality shows", Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, Gilles Boëtsch, Eric Deroo, Sandrine Lemaire, edition La Découverte (2002), p.331-339, in part. p.338 ] . Partly organized by Booker Washington and Edward Du Bois, this exhibition aimed at showing Afro-Americans' positive contributions to American society .

The Finnish Pavilion at the Exposition was designed by the architectural firm of Gesellius, Lindgren, and Saarinen. It was published in "Dekorative Kunst 3" (1900): 457-63 and in "L'Architecture á l'Exposition Universelle de 1900", p. 65, Pl. X. Paris: Libraries-Imprimeries Réunies, 1900.


External links

* [http://lartnouveau.com/belle_epoque/paris_expo_1900.htm Exposition Universelle 1900 in Paris] Photographs
* [http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/research/digital-collections/goodyear/paris.php Paris exposition of 1900] A set of photographs by William Henry Goodyear (1846-1923) from the Brooklyn Museum.

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