Avenue des Nations from the 1878 Exposition Universelle framed in two equal parts. Thin paper with some folds showing and two areas where old tape marks show through, both approximately 3” long and appearing in the lower center of the second segment but not markedly impacting the architectural images.
The First World’s Fair took place in London in 1851 and was soon replicated in Paris, which held a total of 5 World Fairs between 1855 and 1900. The third took place in 1878 in the shadow of the Franco-Prussian War and was designed to project a renewed sense of France’s stability under the Third Republic. Hardy constructed the imposing iron and glass Palais du Champ-de-Mars with the assistance of a young Gustave Eiffel (whose Tower would be the centerpiece of the next World’s Fair in 1889). The 730 meter Avenue des Nations was housed within it and contained pavilions displaying the exhibits of the participating countries (perhaps not surprisingly, Germany was not included). The buildings, which reflected the regional architecture of the participants, were constructed out of staff, a temporary building material that had been recently invented in France. The fair was a great success and featured, among its myriad displays, the completed head of the Statue of Liberty, an early monoplane design, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Thomas Edison’s phonograph.