Blouet, Guillaume-Abel

Full Name: 
Blouet, Guillaume-Abel
Date Born: 
1795
Date Died: 
1853
Place Born: 
Passy, France
Place Died: 
Paris, France
Home Country: 
France
Gender: 
male
Overview: 

Architect and architectural historian; first to launch the controversy regarding whether Greek sculpture had been painted during ancient times. Blouet studied architecture under Pierre-Jules-Nicolas Delespine (1756-1825) at the école des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 1817. In 1821 he was awarded the Prix de Rome. In Rome, Blouet worked closely with Antoine Quatremère de Quincy, completing drawings for the restoration of ancient monuments. Quatremère convinced the Académie Royale d'Architecture to publish Blouet's Restauration des thermes d'Antonin Caracalla à Rome in 1828. He became a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris, traveling with the academy in 1828 to the Peloponnese to excavate at the sites of Olympia and Aegina. In his L'Expédition scientifique de Morée he published reconstructions of major Greek and Byzantine monuments, demonstrating how he believed Greece statuary had been once brightly colored. This touched off a controversy as to whether classical works were polychromed, an assumption counter to Winckelmann and other earlier classical historians. C. R. Cockerell had discovered color residue on the Temple of Aphaia at Aigina as early as 1811, but had not published the findings. Blouet succeeded Jean Nicolas Huyot as architect of the Arc de Triomphe upon his return to Paris under Louis-Philippe, completing the project in 1836. His redesign of the attic level shows the stricter classical influence of his studies instead of the Empire-style of the original design. Blouet studied American prison architecture in the United States, chronicling the work of John Haviland in particular in a report of 1837. Blouet was appointed Inspecteur Général des Prisons in 1839, designing prisons in France and influencing the work of Romain Harou (1796-1856) and Hector Horeau. In 1846 Blouet was appointed professor of architectural theory at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, which he held until his death in 1853. His architectural students included Joseph-Auguste-Emile Vaudremer. Blouet's Supplément au traité théorétique et pratique et l'art de bâtir de Jean Rondelet, appeared at this time. He also participated in the restoration of the Château de Fontainebleau, specifically the Cour du Cheval Blanc, the Pavillon de Sully and the Galerie François I.

Selected Bibliography: 
Traité théorique et pratique de l'art de bâtir, de Jean Rondelet: supplément. 3 vols. Paris: F. Didot, 1848-1860; Expédition scientifique de Morée, ordonnée par le gouvernement français: architecture, sculptures, inscriptions, et vues du Péloponèse, des Cyclades et de l'Atlantique. 4 vols. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1831-1838; Restauration des Thermes d'Antonin Carecalla à Rome: presentée en 1826, et dédiée en 1827, à la Académie des beaux-arts de l'Institut royal de France. Paris: Didot, 1828; and Duchâtel, Charles Marie Tanneguy. Instruction et programme pour la construction des maisons d'arrêt et de justice: Atlas de plans de prisons cellulaires. Paris: Ministère de l'intérieur, 1841.
Sources: 
Reitzes, Lisa B. "Blouet, Guillaume-Abel." Dictionary of Art.