Paul Sédille

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facade, Printemps department store, Paris

Paul Sédille (16 June 1836 – 6 January 1900) was a French architect and theorist; and designed the 1880 reconstruction of the iconic Magasins du Printemps department store in Paris.


Though Sédille is best known for his Printemps design, he was also associated with the Creusot family foundry and was very active in professional associations and architectural education in the 1880s. He wrote a number of compelling pieces of architectural criticism, especially his review of contemporary Viennese and British architecture, and reflected what were by and large Teutonic theoretical concerns that have come to be understood as architectural realism, based on the works of Gottfried Semper.

Directly related to his interest in Semper, Sédille was an advocate of highly-coloured polychrome architecture. His participation in the Universal Expositions of 1878 and 1889 in Paris were demonstration pieces of his approach of integrating colorful terra cotta tilework and structural into the vocabulary of classical, beaux-arts architectural forms.

Sédille made his mark as a private architect executing residential commissions during an age that celebrated heroic, civic works such as the Paris Opéra (1860–1875) by Charles Garnier or the Palais de Justice (Paris, 1857–68) by Joseph-Louis Duc and Honoré Daumet.



  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Rapport présenté par la commission chargée d'examiner une proposition de M. Paul Sédille relative aux récompenses à décerner par la société centrale des architectes," Bulletin mensuel de la société centrale des architectes (1873): 72-76.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Victor Baltard," Gazette des beaux-arts, 2ème pér., 9 (1874): 485-496.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Rapport sur un brochure de M. Ruprich-Robert," Bulletin mensuel de la société centrale des architectes 4ème sér., 2 (1875): 43f.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Joseph Louis Duc, Architecte," Encyclopédie d'architecture, 2ème sér., 8 (1879): 65-74.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "L'architecture contemporaine et les industries d'art qui s'y rattachent," Bulletin mensuel de la société centrale des architectes 6ème sér., 2 (1885): 28-33.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Du rôle de la construction dans l'architecture," Encyclopédie d'architecture, 3ème sér., 4 (1885): 73f.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "L'architecture moderne à Vienne," Gazette des beaux-arts, 2ème pér., 30 (1884): 122-44, 460-67, 481-91. Reprinted in: Bulletin mensuel de la société centrale des architectes 6ème sér., 2 (1885): 196-222.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Récompenses à l'architecture privée," Bulletin mensuel de la société centrale des architectes 6ème sér., 2 (1885): 411-18. Reprinted as: "Du rôle de la construction dans l'architecture," Encyclopédie d'architecture 3ème sér., 4 (1885): 73f.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "L'architecture moderne en Angleterre," Gazette des beaux-arts, 2ème pér., 33 (1886): 89-102, 194-208; 34 (1886): 89-106, 441-465; 35 (1887): 273-290.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Étude sur la renaissance de la polychromie monumentale en France," Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, n. s., 3 (1887): 5-16; with English translation, pp. 17–25. Also printed in: L'Architecture 1 (1888): 13-16, 37-40, 97-99.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Charles Garnier," Gazette des beaux-arts, 3ème pér., 20 (1898): 341-346.
  • (French) Sédille, Paul. "Basilique de Jeanne d'Arc, Domrémy. Construction de la flèche," L'architecture 12 (1899): 372-374.

See also[edit]



  • (English) Berry, J. Duncan. "From Historicism to Architectural Realism: On Some of Wagner's Sources," in: Harry F. Mallgrave (ed.), Otto Wagner: Reflections on the Raiment of Modernity (Santa Monica, 1993): 242-278. ISBN 0-89236-257-X
  • (English) Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 4th ed. (Harmondsworth, 1977), 384. ISBN 0-300-05320-7
  • (English) Mallgrave, Harry F. Modern Architectural Theory: A Historical Survey, 1673-1968 (Cambridge, 2005): 207. ISBN 0-521-79306-8
  • (English) Middleton, Robin D. "Paul Sédille," in: Adolf K. Placzek (éd.), The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects (New York, 1982), 4: 20-21.


  • (French) Bus, Charles du. "Deux aspects de l'art urbain," Gazette des beaux-arts, 4ème pér., 12 (1914): 368-90.
  • (French) Encyclopdédie d'architecture, 3ème sér., 4 (1885): 1-35 + pls. 860f., 896f., 899, 919, 927f., 931, 941, 965, 981f., 992, 997f., 1004-6.
  • (French) Hautecoeur, Louis. Histoire de l'architecture classique en France. La fin de l’architecture classique 1848-1900 (Paris, 1957), vol. 7: 377, 413, 447.
  • (French) Lafenestre, Georges. "Les magasins du Printemps réédifiés par M. Paul Sédille," Gazette des beaux-arts, 2ème pér., 27 (1883): 239-53.
  • (French) Lucas, Charles. Nécrologie: M. Paul Sédille," La construction moderne 15 (1900): 179-80.
  • (French) Lucien, Étienne. "La vie et les ouvrages de Paul Sédille," L'Architecture 13 (1900): 305-8, 313-15.
  • (French) Marrey, Bernard. Les grands magasins des origines à 1939 (Paris, 1979): 97-109. ISBN 2-7084-0045-2
  • (French) Sully-Proudhomme, René François Armand. "Paul Sédille," Revue de l'art ancient et moderne 9 (1901): 77-84, 149-60.
  • (French) Sully-Proudhomme, René François Armand. Paul Sédille (Paris, 1902).


  • (German) Contag. "Der Neubau des 'Magasin au Printemps (sic)' in Paris," Deutsche Bauzeitung 20 (1886): 33f.
  • (German) Hofmann, Albert. "Die französischen Architektur der Dritten Republik," Deutsche Bauzeitung 21 (1887), 38, 127.
  • (German) Thieme-Becker 30: 422.