Exposition : Jean-Jacques Lequeu, Bâtisseur de fantasmes

From 11 December 2018 to 31 March 2019, the Petit Palais (Paris, 8e) traces the course of the architect Jean-Jacques Lequeu by presenting his various graphic works, relatively unknown so far. A sweet journey between creative frustration and fantasy ...

Originally from Rouen and raised by a family of carpenters, Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757-1828) receives training as a draftsman. His talent is spotted by the great Jacques-Germain Soufflot - French architect and great figure of the neo-classical movement - which will give him the opportunity to work on the church of St. Genevieve - current Pantheon. Subsequently, the revolutionary upheavals disappear the clientele of Jean-Jacques Lequeu, so he remains employed at the office of Cadastre. Thus, he continues to draw monuments and other projects in the hope that his designs come out of earth one day. At the same time, he puts on paper a whole world that he unveils through the prism of architecture, emancipating himself from practical obstacles knowing full well that his achievements will never be built.

It is therefore a rich career, with a background of frustration that the Museum of Fine Arts in Paris illustrates thanks to the 150 drawings highlighted in a thematic course devised by the curator Laurent Baridon. A row of very expressive portraits - fruit of a research on temperament and emotions - marks the beginning of the exhibition. They are followed by spaces dedicated to architectural projects designed by Jean-Jacques Lequeu that have never been completed or have been interrupted. Then, the gaze is invited to land on a series of buildings liberated from the technical constraints with chimeric paces populating the imaginary landscapes: the visitor is thus directed of temples in bushes, dummy caves in palaces, kiosks in underground labyrinthine. Eloquent example among others, Hermitage Gate, is a drawing with a heterogeneous universe that makes landscape the key element, enriched with ornaments such as false ruins or buildings imitated from antiquity as distant lands.

Finally, the exhibition ends with a series of erotic drawings with ancient and naturalistic aesthetic influences. It must be said that the marriage of architecture and sexuality particularly inspired the artist, as illustrated by the drawing He is free - selected besides as visual of the exhibition. A building with milky soft walls, like that of the skin of the naked female sculpture incorporated into the alcove. An invitation to discover, through drawing, the dream realm of an architect who only wanted to go from the blank page to the finished project ...

To learn more, visit the Petit Palais site

Photographs: BNF

Post your comment

  • No comment on this article.

ADC Awards

ADC-Awards-logo-2017 250-01
The most outstanding architectural achievements elected by the professional community

>> Learn more


miaw white logo ok

An International Award to the best products for architects and layout professionals

>> Learn more


5, Saulnier Street - 75009 PARIS

T: + (33) 1 42 61 61 81

F: + (33) 1 42 61 61 82

[Email protected]


my account

Mobile version