The Atelier des Lumières was founded in 2018, but the building its housed in has a long and colorful history of its own – one that dates back to 1835.
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L’atelier des lumières, Paris pic.twitter.com/rEsZs6w8xm
— Academia Aesthetics (@AcademiaAesthe1) June 15, 2023
History of the Atelier des Lumières
The Chemin-Vert foundry was established in 1835 at the height of the First Industrial Revolution by two brothers, Jacques and Hilaire Plichon.
The foundry produced cast iron parts and castings, which were used by the navy and railway companies in locomotives and internal combustion or diesel engines. Designs and models at that time could weigh in at as much as 10,000 kg!
Passed down to the next generation, the foundry underwent a name change in 1859. The Great Depression (1929-1939) marked the closure of the foundry, which had already been struggling due to the growing popularity of lighter, more affordable, and easier to transport plastic manufacturing.
The building was sold to the Martin family, who remain the owners to this day, and subsequently used by a tool company for 65 years until 2000.
In 2013, the Martins collaborated with CultureSpaces to repurpose the property and bring Atelier des Lumières to life. After major renovations, the Atelier des Lumières opened its doors to a total of 1.2 million visitors in 2018.
Here, we feature just one show from each of the years that Atelier des Lumières has been open to the public.
Gold in London – Gustav Klimt – 2018
Gold in London (2018) showcased the works of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. It emphasized his use of gold in his works, and focused on his lasting artistic influence on the art world.
Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh – 2019
Starry Night (2019) retraced the last decade of Vincent van Gogh’s life. This was considered to be his most artistic era. The exhibition highlighted expressive brushstrokes in an interplay of light and shade.
Infinite Blue – Yves Klein – 2020
Infinite Blue (2020) showcased Yves Klein, a 20th-century artist fascinated by the color blue. Klein is perhaps more well-known for his world-famous International Klein Blue (IKB) color.
The Endless Enigma – Salvador Dali – 2021
The Endless Enigma (2021) was a digital showcase of Salvador Dalí’s dreamlike works. It also featured various artistic styles created by the Catalan master over 60 years.
Destination Cosmos – Center National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) – 2022
Destination Cosmos (2022) defined our exploration of the universe. The exhibition included centuries of astronomical observations and the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.
The Adventures of Tintin – Hergé, Tintinimaginatio – 2023
The Adventures of Tintin (2023) is a recurring annual digital exhibition. ‘Tintin’ celebrates the fictional life of a reporter, Tintin, and his faithful dog, Snowy. The character was created by Hergé in 1929.
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