An original exhibition of many objects bearing the face of Victor Hugo is running until August 28th 2011 at the House of Victor Hugo, Place des Vosges in Paris. Called Les Hugobjects (Hugo-Objects), this new exhibition reminds us that Victor Hugo was one of the most illustrious figures of the 19th Century France. Writer, poet, playwright, committed intellectual, academic and politician, he was criticised as much as he was lauded by his contemporaries. But he never left anyone indifferent.
Original exhibition The Hugo-objects at the House of Victor Hugo
Paul Beuve, a modest office worker, bought a plate decorated with the face of Victor Hugo after the death of the famous man of letters.
This is how he began an incredible, impressive collection of objects on which the face of Victor Hugo is depicted. Later, he donated the collection to the Victor Hugo Museum.
Pipe bowl, bottles, ink stands, leaflets, soap… this collection is unusual and can be playfully enjoyed until up to August 28 at the House of Victor Hugo.
All these collected objects demonstrate the impact that Victor Hugo had on the French people.
Victor Huge man of romantic letters
A humanist, Victor Hugo relied on art and writing to express the torments in his heart and his soul. Poetry, theatre plays, novels, drawings, photographs… his work is large.
He achieved wide popular success, notably in 1831 with his novel Notre Dame de Paris. His plays inspired many composers such as Verdi, Donizetti; his poems also inspired several great composers such as Liszt, Bizet, Wagner.
Victor Hugo, iconic figure of the 19th Century
Victor Hugo was also a committed intellectual and a politician. He wrote a number of speeches in which he dealt with essential themes such as schools, the universal right to vote, the death penalty to which he was fiercely opposed, and Europe, defending the idea of creating the United States of Europe as early as 1849.
His commitment to politics forced him into exile with his family in December 1851 for more than twenty years. During this period, Victor Hugo was to write some of his major works including the two novels, Les Miserables in 1862 and Les travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea) in 1886, in which he paid homage to the people of the Channel Island of Guernsey who welcomed him.
It was only in 1870, after the defeat of Napoleon III at the Battle of Sedan and the declaration of the Republic that Victor Hugo was given a triumphal return to Paris. He entered the French Parliament in 1871 and was elected Senator in 1876.
Until his death, he denounced social inequality and carried through this commitment in his political and social life. He left an extraordinarily rich body of work, making him an iconic figure of the 19th Century. He died in 1885. A state funeral procession followed his body to the Pantheon.
The House of Victor Hugo, Place des Vosges in Paris
Victor Hugo was already famous when at the age of 30, he moved to the Place Royale with his wife and his children. He took an active part in decorating his new home located in the house of Rohan Guéménée. His house rapidly became a meeting place for the greatest artistic and literary figures of the time: Musset, Balzac, Dumas, Nerval, Berlioz, Rossini and Liszt. Victor Hugo lived in the Place Royale (now the Place des Vosges) until 1848.
In 1902, on the initiative of his friend, Paul Meurice and to celebrate the centenary of his birth, his house was transformed into a museum. Furniture, decoration, objects… everything bears witness to the man he was, his daily life, his life, his history. The House of Victor Hugo can be visited and regular temporary exhibitions are held there.
House of Victor Hugo :
- 6, place des Vosges – 75004 Paris
- Open from 10 am to 6pm every day except Mondays and public holidays
- Les Hugobjets : until August 28, 2011
- Guided tours of the exhibition: Duration 1h30 at 4pm
- For more information (in French) Les Hugobjets.
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