Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Paris Expo 1937 -Soviet Pavilion

Exposition Internationale des Arts

et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne

25 May - 25 November 1937

Paris, France

Champs de Mars, from the Trocadero, to the banks of the Seine

The admission fee is six francs

The exhibition is open from 9am until midnight

The Paris Exposition attracted 31 Million visitors

The Soviet Pavilion

(From the Official Exposition Guide)

At the end of the central way, you will find on the right, on the bank of the Seine, the Pavillion of the U.R.S.S. (Pavillion de l’ U.R.S.S.) (Architect : M. B. M

Iofan. French collaborators; M M. Coquet, Bonneres, Jossilevitch, architects).

The whole pavilion is built above the new passage beneath the Quai de Tokio.

One can well call the Russian Soviet pavilion a monolith composition of sculpture and architecture.

Relatively low, its height increases as the principal façade towards the Lena bridge is reached. It culminates in the fine tower, built half in concrete, half in metal, and covered with Garzan marble, completely unknown in Western Europe.

A monumental statue, equal in height to a six storey building, representing a young worker and a young peasant girl, one brandishing a hammer, the other a sickle, tops the structure.

Two huge frescoes, "1917 and 1937" ornament the vestibules of the principal entrance, which leads you to the five exhibition rooms.

The first, where there is a sculptured group of Lenin and Stalin, will give you an idea of the extent of the Soviet territory, its natural resources and i

ts industry, by means of maps with electrical contrivances, diagrams, decorative panels, enabling you to comprehend the Stalin constitution, illustrated by an artistic documentation, showing measures for the protection of labour, of public health

, the mother and child.

The second section will give you an idea of the fruitful activity of science in Soviet Russia. A diagram indicates what are the books most asked for in the libraries by the workers.

The work of Maxime Gorky and the centenary of the poet Pushkin are represented on two stands. In this second hall and in the third, the theatre occupies an important place, especially the popular theatres of the Red Army, children's

theatres, and peasants' theatres. (Cinema, 400 seats).

The situation of the Soviet pavilion above a subterranean passage decided its pr

oportion 5oo feet in length and 65 feet in width.

The originator of this design is the chief architect of the pavilion,

Mr. Boris Iofan (in charge of construction of the Soviets Palace at Moscow) and in tracing the lines he has been inspired by the force and creative impulse which mark the economic,

cultural and social activities of the U.R.S.S.

The same ideas inspired Madame (Vera) Mukhina, author of the sculptured group “Workman and Farm girl” (known also as Worker and Kolkhoz Woman) which crowns the Pavilion. This group 75 feet in height, is in stainless steel and weighs 65 tons.

The Technical execution is the work

of the Central Institute of .Research in Mechanics and Metallurgy of Moscow, under the direction of the engineer Lvov.

The facade of the Pavilion is decorated with tiles of different coloured marble, from the Ural, Central Asia,

On each side of the entrance rise buttresses decorated with bas relief’s, work of the sculptor Tcha Kov.

The great door is decorated by the professor Favorsky. The interior arrangement of the Pavilion was entrusted to the artist Souetine.

We may add that the Pavilion was constructed almost entirely by trench workmen from French materials.

The objects shown in the vestibules and halls Pavilion give a synopsis of the development of art and technique in the eleven republics forming the Union of the Soviets, in the Twentieth year of its existence.


The Worker and Kolkhoz Woman statute became
the world famous centre piece of the Soviet Pavilion at the Exposition in Paris in 1937, and would later become the iconic symbol of “socialist realism” in art.

Workers across France flocked to see the statue and show solidarity with the Soviet people. Support for the Left in Europe was on the rise and France at the time bei

ng governed by left-wing Popular Front

government which included Communists.

It total over twenty million people visited the Soviet Pavilion

The sculpture was designed by Vera Ignatyevna Mukhina born in Riga 1st July 1889, she had been inspired by classical work such as Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the Victory of Samothrace and La Marseillaise.

The sculpture was made of stai

nless steel and new method of spot welding

After the Paris Expo the sculpture was moved to Paris and placed outside the All Soviet, Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy.

Vera Mukhina died 6th October 1953

The statute is presently being restoration


The other major attraction for socialists and workers at the Paris Expo was the Pavilion of Spain (The Popular Front government being engaged in a civil war against fascists). The Pavilion stood on Central Way.

Pavillion of Spain was designed by Jose Luis Sert with the assistance of Luis La casa. Opening was at the 12th July 1937. French collaborator M. Abella stand on the side of the central way.

In the pavilion was displayed Pablo Picasso’s famous

Guernica” painting, which illustrated the bombing by German fascists of the Basque town of Guernica on 26th April 1937

Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT)


In the building the House of labour (Maison du Travail (Architect: M. Henry) on the opposite side, the Confederation Generale du Travail in collaboration with the Chambre Syndicate des Techniciens du Batiment, des Travaux Publics et des Matteriaux de Construction. sought to demonstrate to the public the role and the imporatnace of the CGT, to establsih within the Exhibition a meeting place for workers (fetes, lectures etc) as well as a centre of information, to organise labour's contribution to the economic structures of the country, and to make known the history of Labour and its emancipation. It includes an enterance hall in which stands a statue of Peace, and six rooms and dioramas reserved for the principal Industrial federations. On the first floor a reception room and offices. in the basement is a room in which books and papers dealing with technical, syndicalist, social and historical questions may be consulted.


Means of

transport: Metro, bus, tram, train and riverboat

Electric train: (seat 16) mounted on rubber tyres make a circuit of the exhibitions

Six first aid stations

There categories of restaurant

1st above 30 francs

2nd 15-30 Francs

3rd Below 15 Francs

The Restaurants are situated on the two banks of the Seine with a few Barges, at the Champs de Mars and on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower

Most French Regional Pavilions have restaurants, serving national and regional exotic dishes, also many Cafes and bars

Daily International Radio Programme known as “Heure Internationale” International hour – visitors will be able to hear at a given hour a news broadcast transmitted from the capital of their country. In their own language, giving the days news.

Twelve principal entrances to the exhibition, the principal entrance being the Trocadero (Porte 15)

Interpreters wear armlets and services can be purcha

sed for 15 Francs per hour and 20 Francs at night

The use of hand cameras and hand cinematograph apparatus is free

The Exhibition covers more than 250 acres

42 nations participated (others state 52)