standing woman at right wearing white gown; woman has red hair and wears a crown; woman holds a glowing moon-like orb; night sky with stars and stars at edges of image, left and right; building in LLC; text at top and bottom; mounted on canvas-backed paper

Exposition Universelle-Palais de l’Optique La Grande lunette de 1900, 1900

A top attraction at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris was La Grande Lunette, a giant telescope in the Palais de l’Optique (Palace of Optics). The greatly magnified views of the moon it provided proved wildly popular with the public.

Georges Leroux designed the lunette’s advertising poster. In a preparatory drawing for the poster (see Mia 2011.99), he worked out the contours and lighting of the woman, seen as a half nude gracefully leaning toward an unseen source of light. The application of soft charcoal on highly textured paper yielded a sensual softness throughout the image.

This finished poster reveals Leroux’s rationale for the woman’s pose: she is bending down to hold the luminous orb in her hands. Leroux made clear his seductive intention with the addition of a young man in the corner. By lowering the moon toward him, the woman demonstrates how technology enables us to experience what once existed only in our dreams. With stars sparkling above the glowing Palais de l’Optique, Leroux set the stage for visitors to the fairgrounds—a place where the fantasies of technology and romance intertwine.

Details
Title
Exposition Universelle-Palais de l’Optique La Grande lunette de 1900
Artist Life
Paris 1877–Meudon (Paris) 1957
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2010.68
Provenance
[Librairie Elbé, Paris, until 2010]; to Yvonne and Gabriel Weisberg, Minneapolis; their gift to Mia, 2010
Catalogue Raisonne
Gold 187
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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standing woman at right wearing white gown; woman has red hair and wears a crown; woman holds a glowing moon-like orb; night sky with stars and stars at edges of image, left and right; building in LLC; text at top and bottom; mounted on canvas-backed paper