A Peace Conference at the Quai d'Orsay

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A Peace Conference at the Quai d'Orsay

A Peace Conference at the Quai d'Orsay is an oil-on-canvas painting by Irish artist William Orpen, completed in 1919. It was one the paintings commissioned from Orpen to commemorate the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The work is held by the Imperial War Museum in London.

Background

Orpen was one of the first people chosen as a war artist by the British Ministry of Information in 1917. Orpen was also official painter at the peace conference, and was commissioned to paint three canvases to record the roles of the politicians, diplomats and military at the conference.

The work is a group portrait depicting preliminary discussions of the "Council of Ten", comprising two delegates each from Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Japan. Conference delegates are depicted sitting and standing around a table in the Hall of Clocks at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, where the conference was formally opened on 18 January 1919. The politicians and diplomats are overshadowed by the decorated room, with chandeliers, lavish gilded cornice, and a statue of Victory above an ornate fireplace. It measures 124.4 × 101.9 centimetres (49.0 × 40.1 in)

Subjects

The people depicted are:

Seated, from left to right:

Standing behind, from left to right:

Other paintings

Orpen's other paintings of the conference depict the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, and another showing a coffin lying in state in a marble hall covered by a Union Flag.

References

  • A Peace Conference at the Quai d'Orsay, Imperial War Museum
  • The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919, Imperial War Museum
  • Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations, John Milton Cooper, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0521807867, p. 412
  • The Treaty of Versailles, 1919: A Primary Source Examination of the Treaty that Ended World War I, Corona Brezina, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2005, ISBN 1404204423, p. 24
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