Mission statement

To collect, preserve, and share history associated with Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris, and serve as a catalyst for heritage tourism in Georgetown, Colorado.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On-Line Sources Offer Official Images to Visitors

With all of the potential exposure photographers could offer us on their websites, blogs, and social media sites, the staff and advisors of Hotel de Paris Museum made the difficult decision to not allow photography, filming, or recording by non-commercial visitors.

Loss of a revenue stream (the sale of officially sanctioned images) was not a factor for us.  The policy protects the museum’s intellectual property, light-sensitive artifacts, tour aesthetics, and security.  In addition, it helps prevent the stalking of visitors, volunteers, and staff. 

However, we have made a compromise to our policy and accommodated requests for images by creating an on-line press room.  Low-resolution images of our period rooms, artwork, and other furnishings are on view and easy to find at http://hoteldeparismuseum.org/pressroomgallery/pressroom.html or http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotel_de_paris_museum/

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All That Glitters Is Not Necessarily Gold

We've seen that Louis Dupuy advocated the use of art reproductions.  Most of the examples he acquired are found in Hotel de Paris' public and private spaces.  However, Dupuy appears to have been interested in creating a dramatic outdoor presentation as well, and sometime around 1893 utilized five cast “show figures” on his Norman Revival hotel.  These figures were intended to advertise, inform, and ornament.  The statues were by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York, and were mass produced of cast zinc either bronzed or gilded.  Painted finishes were also available and less expensive.

Justice Unblinded, J. L. Mott Iron Works

Arguably the most dominant of Dupuy’s collection is Justice Unblinded, which stands 6 feet 7 inches tall.  Some believe the figure was inspired by French Neoclassical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon’s Bust of Napoleon.  The casting was listed in a catalog from 1890 for $950.  Statues with metallic finishes cost about 10% more than those offered with one painted coat.  The statue was placed following the destruction by fire of buildings to the west of the hotel, and may have been a commentary on the slow removal of charred debris that remained after the loss of the McClellan Opera House in 1892 (Dupuy led a group of local citizens to petition the Town of Georgetown for an expedient clean-up of the lots). 

Reclining Stag, J. L. Mott Iron Works

Much like a cigar store Indian, Reclining Stag or Reclining Deer advertised Hotel de Paris as an inn where travelers could eat and rest.  The figure portrays an American white-tailed deer, with one front leg extended.  It stands 3 feet 8 inches tall and was bronzed or gilded.  In 1890, it sold for $70.  The stag symbolizes St. Julian the Hospitaler, the patron saint of innkeepers and travelers.

Boy With Pan, J. L. Mott Iron Works

Flanking the stag is a charming pair of bronzed or gilded water bearers known as Boy With Pan or Boy Fountain.  The statuettes stood approximately 2 feet 3 inches tall and were typically accompanied by a cast iron ground basin decorated by long leaves or shells and frogs.  Dupuy’s figures supported reservoirs above their heads to catch or hold water, and may have served as birdbaths.

Reclining Lion, J. L. Mott Iron Works

Reclining Lion, by Berlin sculptor A. Schiffelman, appeared in Mott’s 1890 catalog.  It stood 2 feet 10 inches tall, was bronzed or gilded and sold for $200.  Dupuy’s copy guards a gateway that leads to Hotel de Paris’ courtyards.  The statue has a plaquette on its self-base with the inscription “J. L. MOTT IRON WORKS NYC.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dupuy Promoted Use of Art Reproductions

Victorian and Edwardian members of the middle-class substituted affordable and plentiful Parian ware for expensive marble portrait busts and statues.  Parian is a fine, matte, nearly white porcelain that originated in Britain in 1842.  It was made of kaolin, feldspar, and Cornish stone and ball-clay, then poured into plaster of Paris molds, assembled, dried, and fired.  Parian takes its name from fine-grained, semi-translucent pure-white marble found at Mount Elias on the Greek island of Paros.  The Elgin Marbles in the British Museum were carved from this stone.

Dupuy’s bust of Shakespeare is small (approximately 9” tall).  According to his obituary, he would have kept it paired with another Parian ware bust (perhaps a likeness of Charles Dickens) in his bedroom or study.
Most Parian ware was made in Britain by the firms Copeland & Garrett (Copeland & Company), Minton, and T. & R. Boote.  Wedgwood made unglazed white china marketed under the name Carrara, but commonly referred to as Parian.  A bit of Parian was produced in the United States and European countries other than Britain; for instance, Germany made Parian heads and limbs for dolls.

Parian ware was offered as busts, figures, figural groups, vases, jugs, medallions, and other decorative ornaments for the homeowner in search of a status symbol.  “While we cannot have the masterpieces of Michelangelo and Cellini, we can at least have the reproductions,” stated Louis Dupuy. 

Hotel de Paris Museum’s Parian ware and related items consist of one portrait bust of William Shakespeare and five black and white studio photographs of Parian ware statuettes or reductions, perhaps given Dupuy or left behind by a traveling salesman selling items by Copeland & Garrett.  A second portrait bust, most likely portraying a favorite author of Dupuy’s, was lost sometime after 1954, and, it is suspected a sixth photograph has also disappeared, but it is not known when.

Venus with the Apple
By 1898, Dupuy had framed in oak and displayed in his bedroom a 14” by 20” photograph of a Parian ware statuette entitled Venus with the Apple, after Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original work by the same name.  This Neoclassical image of the Goddess of Love enhanced Dupuy’s print collection of tempting female nudes.

On the Sea Shore, Storm
We do not know if the other photographs of Parian ware statuettes were exhibited by Dupuy or not.  At the very least, sometime in the early 20th Century Hotel de Paris proprietor Sarah Burkholder displayed in Sample Room 2 a 10” by 20” framed Parian ware image of a wind-blown, barefooted girl seated on the beach, a copy after Joseph Durham’s On the Sea Shore, Storm.  Since Storm was one of a pair, it is possible Dupuy owned a complementary print titled On the Sea Shore, Calm, which depicted a seated, barefooted boy holding shells in a hat.  The placement of Storm on the left side of the fireplace mirror implies Calm may have been displayed on the right side of the mirror.

Currently on exhibit in Sample Room 1 are two more 10” by 20” framed photographs of Parian ware statuettes:  copies of Edgar George Papworth’s Beatrice (after Beatrice “Bice” di Folco Portinari, the inspiration for Dante Alighieri’s La Vita Nuova and Divine Comedy) and John Gibson’s beautifully draped Roman goddess Flora, a symbol of flowers, springtime, and fertility.  An unframed 10” by 20” photograph of a Parian ware Venus de’ Medici remains in storage at Hotel de Paris Museum.