Exposition Universelle (1855)

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EXPO Paris 1855
Palais de l'industrie
BIE-class Universal exposition
Category Historical
Name Exposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855
Building Palais de l'Industrie
Area 15,2 ha
Visitors 5,162,330
Countries 27
Country France
City Paris
Venue Jardins des Champs Elysees
Coordinates 48°52′0″N 2°18′47″E / 48.86667°N 2.31306°E / 48.86667; 2.31306
Opening 15 May 1855 (1855-05-15)
Closure 15 November 1855 (1855-11-15)
Universal expositions
Previous The Great Exhibition in London
Next 1862 International Exhibition in London

The Exposition Universelle of 1855 was an International Exhibition held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris from 15 May to 15 November 1855. Its full official title was the Exposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855.[1] Today the exposition's sole physical remnant is the Théâtre du Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées designed by architect Gabriel Davioud, which originally housed the Panorama National.


The exposition was a major event in France, then newly under the reign of Emperor Napoleon III.[2] It followed London's Great Exhibition of 1851 and attempted to surpass that fair's Crystal Palace with its own Palais de l'Industrie.

The arts displayed were shown in a separate pavilion on Avenue Montaigne.[3] There were works from artists from 29 countries, including French artists Francois Rude, Ingres, Delacroix[3] and Henri Lehmann,[4] and British artists William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.[3]

According to its official report, 5,162,330 visitors attended the exposition, of which about 4.2 million entered the industrial exposition and 0.9 million entered the Beaux Arts exposition.[1] Expenses amounted to upward of $5,000,000, while receipts were scarcely one-tenth of that amount. The exposition covered 16 hectares (40 acres) with 34 countries participating.[1]

For the exposition, Napoleon III requested a classification system for France's best Bordeaux wines which were to be on display for visitors from around the world. Brokers from the wine industry ranked the wines according to a château's reputation and trading price, which at that time was directly related to quality. The result was the important Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Exposition Universelle. "1855, exposition universelle des produits de l'agriculture, de l'industrie et des beaux-arts.". Exposition Universelle. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Art Nouveau. "L' Exposition Universelle de 1855 à Paris". L'art nouveau. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Ratcliffe, Barrie M, "Paris 1855", in Findling, John E; Pelle, Kimberley D, Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions, McFarland & Company, Inc, p. 23, ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9 
  4. ^ Océanides grief of the foot of the rock where Prometheus was chained, Fitzwilliam Museum, 2014 
  5. ^ Peppercorn, David (2003). Bordeaux. London: Mitchell Beazley. p. 83. ISBN 1-84000-927-6. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Elizabeth M. L. Gralton, "Lust of the Eyes: The Anti-Modern Critique of Visual Culture at the Paris Expositions universelles, 1855-1900," French History & Civilization (2014), Vol. 5, pp 71-81
  • Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 

External links[edit]