This exhibition revives the splendor of the French capital at the time of the Paris Exposition Universelle, when it heralded the arrival of the 20th century. More than ever before, Paris was seen throughout the world as a sparkling city of luxury with a sophisticated way of life. More than 250 works—paintings, decorative art, costumes, posters, photographs, jewelry, and sculptures, mainly kept by the Paris city museums—will immerse visitors in the atmosphere of Belle Époque Paris, presented in six groupings: Paris, Showcase of the World; Art Nouveau; Paris, Capital of the Arts; The Parisienne; A Walk in Paris; and Paris by Night.
For more than a hundred years, Paris has been celebrated as the City of Light, standing as a symbol of elegance, pleasure, and festivity, and drawing visitors from around the world. Encompassing the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the period was known for fantasy, excess, and boundless faith in progress through science and technology. Although the French capital was quite different from its idealized representation in posters and advertisements, the turn of the century was indeed an exceptional time. The city was growing rapidly and had a population of nearly three million by 1914. Additionally, Paris attracted travelers for both business purposes and leisure activities: over fifty million people attended the International Exposition of 1900, which was held on the banks of the Seine.
Originally presented in 2014 at the Petit Palais in Paris, the exhibition forms a portrait of a vibrant and swiftly changing city. Exhibition organized by the Petit Palais Museum of Fine Arts, with exceptional loans from the Musée Carnavalet – History of Paris and the Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion, Paris Musées.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website