The Fountains of Paris

March 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Michael Reardon | Fontaine des Mars

MICHAEL REARDON received the Gabriel Prize from the Western European Architecture Foundation in 2005, which included a three-month residency in Paris to study some aspect of French classical architecture. He chose as his field of study the pre-20th century fountains of Paris, many of which he painted in watercolor.

The Thomas Reynolds Gallery is pleased to present, from March 11 to April 30, 2011, an exhibition of the watercolors Reardon painted during his residency in Paris.

All of Reardon’s Paris watercolors are included in Fontaines, his book about the history and aesthetics of the fountains of Paris. In the introduction, he writes:

Fountains were the primary source of drinking water in pre-20th century Paris. Today, fewer than 60 of these fountains remain from the more than 1,700 that existed in the mid-19th century. Industrial Age plumbing made them an anachronism. They went dry. Most were abandoned. Some were destroyed. They became neglected relics of a bygone era.

Today they are restored. The stone is clean, the sculptures gleam and the water flows. The Parisian government, recognizing the historical and aesthetic value of these fountains, has brought them back to life. This restoration created an especially opportune time to study and document their design.

This book tells a part of their story. It explores their history and artistry. It also analyzes the way fountains synthesize architecture, sculpture and water, revealing the allure and magic of not only Parisian fountains, but fountains worldwide.


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