Universal Exposition of 1900: Pavilion of Ecuador, 1900

Unknown French photographer: Universal Exposition of 1900: Pavilion of Ecuador, 1900. Cyanotype, 32 x 26.5 cm. Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund (2011-17). Photo by Bruce M. White

In 1900, a city-within-the-city sprang into existence on Paris’s Champ de Mars and on the banks of the Seine. The buildings erected for the Universal Exposition that year included the “pavilions” of several dozen countries. With visual impact at a premium, each pavilion presented an exuberant, even cartoonish, version of the architecture of its sponsoring nation, such as the Dutch Colonial styling of the Transvaal Pavilion and the Spanish Colonial Art Nouveau of the Ecuador Pavilion.The pavilions disappeared with the closing of the Exposition, but photographs of many of them were published in a portfolio of one hundred cyanotypes (blueprints). The portfolio was marketed chiefly to architects’ studios as a stylistic point of reference for those who might seek commissions to design the fugitive structures of future Expositions.

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