Albert Monier Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris
Medium Silver print
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1950s Print Date 1950s
Dimensions 16-1/4 x 15-7/8 in. (413 x 403 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
This photograph came from a unique album of Monier's work in oversized prints. He probably kept this for himself. A beautiful print in a very large size.
The Palais de la Porte Dorée is an exhibit hall located on the edge of the Bois de Vincennes at 293, avenue Daumesnil, 12th arrondissement of Paris, France. It now houses the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration, as well as a tropical aquarium in its cellar.
The building was constructed for the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931 to designs by French architect Albert Laprade, Léon Jaussely and Léon Bazin. It provides 16,000 m² of exhibition and office space. External bas-reliefs (1200 m²) by sculptor Alfred Janniot portray ships, oceans, and wildlife including antelopes, elephants, zebras, and snakes.
The Palais de la Porte Dorée has housed a succession of ethnological museums, starting with the colonial exhibition of 1931, which was renamed in 1935 the Musée de la France d’Outre-mer, then in 1960 the Musée des Arts africains et océaniens, and finally in 1990 the Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie. In 2003 these collections were merged into the Musée du quai Branly, and in its place the building now houses the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration.
The building's cellar is home to the Dorée Tropical Aquarium, which contains about 5,000 animals representing 350 species in a variety of tanks ranging from 100 to 37,000 liters in size.
Albert Monier was born in Cantal, France on May 3, 1915. Some of the most popular postcards of Paris during the 1950s and 1960s featured the black and white photography of Albert Monier. He had a special empathy for the men of the working class and those even poorer, and when people do appear in his photography, they are more likely to be homeless or extremely poor than to be nattily dressed.
Albert Monier worked outside the established world of commercial printing, creating his own postcards on photographic paper in his own lab. Using a small number of images, he managed to gain a popular foothold in the world of postcard photography, then dominated by Editions Yvon.
In 1951 he began turning his work into black and white continental-size real photo postcards. In 1960 color postcards were introduced, and in 1963 he began publishing posters. During his lifetime Monier manufactured about 80 million postcards and 100,000 posters from his own studio, although his larger exhibition photographs are quite scarce. He was a fine photography printer.
His images of Paris are typically emptier of people than those of Robert Doisneau. But he had a special empathy for the men of the working class and those even poorer, and when people do appear in his photography, they are more likely to be homeless or extremely poor than to be nattily dressed and kissing in front of the Hôtel de Ville. In fact, in the one photograph where Monier shows couples kissing under a bridge, at the end of the line of lovers is a homeless man.
Monier photographed not only Paris, but also rural France and French North Africa.
He died December 21, 1998 in Paris. Several major exhibitions have been devoted to his work including one in 1983 at the Museum of Art and Archaeology of Autillac (Cantal) and another one at the Orangerie in Paris in 2009.
Monier's photographs were published in many books and periodicals. "PARIS" by Albert Monier (photographs) and Henri Pourrat (preface) was published by Chanterelle - Cantal L.P.A.M. in 1954. "Albert Monier photographe" by Albert Monier (photographs) and Paul Jay (text) was published by Aurillac in 1983 in conjunction with Monier's exhibition there.
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