LeDeuzzy, Q.
Emil Kaufmann

I believe in multiple choice
Three Revolutionary Architects, Boullee, Ledoux, and Lequeu

  1   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k   l   m   n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z

Barriere for Rouen

Small fort - Fortin

Town hall-Hôtel de Ville

Quite different is the design of a barrière for Rouen. An inscription on it states that it was sent to Descamps, "Par nous Le Queu architecte et envoyée à M. Descamps." From this self-confident, almost childish enunciation, and from the immature character of the drawing itself, we may infer that it was made when Lequeu was a student under Descamps, or even at an earlier moment when he wanted to show his hand to the master. The barrière in the "castellated" style is a product of early Romanticism. The porch of the plain house is . . .     mented tower rises above the roof.

The Small Fort (Fortin) is likewise derived from medieval castles. The plasticity of its rendering points to a later date.

In 1779 Lequeu made a design for a Town Hall. He evidently hoped that his project might be accepted to replace the scheme which Antoine Mathurin Le Carpentier, a member of the Paris Academy of Architecture,had worked out for Rouen in 1758. According to Lequeu's own statement the Royal Academy of Rouen approved of his design which belongs to the type of cool, impersonal . . .     The elongated structure consists of a rusticated ground­floor with arched windows and a second story with straight-headed openings. The central Doric portico runs up to the height of the Mansard roof; slightly projecting end-pavilions frame the whole; a dome with a spire terminates the composition. The arrangement is, basically, Baroque, but all Baroque liveliness has gone. There is no movement in the front, and the single elements appear to be frozen. Lequeu's project differs from Le Carpentier's chiefly in two ways. It lacks the latter's rich decoration, especially the columns of the second story; and the central portion is considerably altered. The old-timer Le Carpentier was still intent upon unification. To this end he used the two-story pattern both in the center and on the sides. Lequeu, however, disrupts the continuity of the front by adding the colossal portico. His dome is less conspicuous than that of the former master, who exalted the crowning feature . . .     . . . main floor of the building. Though Lequeu's design is based on that of his predecessor it reveals unmistakably a changed attitude toward composition.

Temple du silence

Egyptian house - Habitation a l'egyptienne

Chinese house - La demeure du jardinier, appellee Maison chinoise

In the Casino of Terlinden at Sgrawensel, built for a certain dowager Meulenaer in 1786, the main entrance is on the short side of the rectangular plan, like . . .     . . . ancient temple. But the porch is followed by the staircase, behind which the rooms are lined up in two rows. The plan is definitely lacking in centralization, or orientation around a dominating element, and this is contrary to truly Baroque plans. A structure that was supposed to imitate a classical temple did not, of course, permit a centralized arrangement. The architect was not free in designing the plan. Yet it is significant that the patron himself followed the new fashion. In the era of the Baroque the formal pattern was imperative and no patron would have wanted a house deviating from it. Whoever was responsible for the temple-dwelling of Terlinden, its interior indicates that the loose arrangement of the rooms was satisfactory at that moment. The interior decoration was strictly Louis Seize, stiff and rather closely following Greek models. A Memorial in the garden, erected to enshrine the bust of a woman, foreshadows Lequeu's later inventions. It shows various odd details, such as the upright wreath on top of the framing arch, and the bird-wings affixed to its sides.

The House of the Comte de Bouville near Portenort, called "Temple du silence," resembles the Casino of Terlinden outside and inside.

If we are now to discuss the designs of Lequeu's revolutionary period, we can save ourselves the trouble of looking for the right words. Jacques-Francois Blondel, also born at Rouen, provides us with the most appropriate comments. He was, as we will recall, a renowned teacher and artist of acute insight. His judgment can be appropriately brought to bear even on the work of those who came one or two generations after him. We may now benefit from earlier having dealt rather extensively with his views. Of course, he did not know the designs of Lequeu, for he died in his school in the Louvre at about the time when his young fellow-citizen started studying architecture. However, it means much that many passages of Blondel could be illustrated with the drawings of Lequeu, and that the latter's strange designs can be explained with Blondel's comments. The two men had more in common than any mere outer connection which might have tied the work of the one to the words of the other. It means that the trends which Blondel had observed about 1750-1760 were still alive about 1780-1790. If nothing were left of the architectural thought of the period--neither the inventions of Boullee and Ledoux, the doctrine of Laugier, nor Viel's acrid criticism--Blondel's text and Lequeu's fantasies together could testify to the vitality of the great movement of the architecture of the French Revolution.

We find in Lequeu's designs the confusion of borrowed styles so disapproved by Blondel. There is an Egyptian House,

a Chinese House,




Quondam © 2020.01.02