14-18 Langres

at war

The war Memorial:

From 21st November 1918, the municipal council authorised a monument to be erected in memory of the dead soldiers in the field of honour. On 28th December, it suggested paying homage to all the soldiers in the arrondissement. A provisional commission was created to « get in contact with the mayors of the different districts of the arrondissement who could make up the definitive committee. » The project was quickly abandoned because each community wanted to honour its own heroes. The municipal council therefore decided to limit it to soldiers from Langres only.

In October 1921, the competition for architects to create it was launched and eventually won by two Parisian artists: Georges Saupique and Aristide Rousaud. They made the different parts in their studio. The committee chose to place it in the Hôtel-de-Ville square (now Verdun square). To do so, the monument to Auguste Laurent, a brilliant chemist born in La Folie near Langres, had to be moved. The decision was made to put the bust in Saint-Ferjeux square. The assembly of the monument started at the end of the month of September. Everything seemed to be playing out according to plan.

However, on 24th October 1922, the municipal council criticised the aesthetics of the monument produced: « The structure is awkward; there is a disparity between the execution, the project and the model, in particular regarding the subject which dominates the Monument and the two allegories which frame it, as well as the plainness of the allegory representing the Marne. » Unfortunately, the inauguration date was already fixed and in spite of these complaints, the modifications that could be carried out could only be minor.

On 12th November 1922, the monument for the Dead, along with a commemorative plaque affixed on the Diderot College, were inaugurated in the presence of the Minister of Justice, Jean Colrat. A grant of 6000 francs had been approved for the organisation of the celebration, which ended with a lights show on the monument.

On 25th November, the municipal council nominated a commission charged with investigating possible modifications that could be effected. On 30th April 1923, it suggested requesting the artists to « Do whatever possible to make the upper part of the monument conform to the model […] Take off the two current allegories and replace them with others adhering to those framing the model” and if that wasn’t possible “replace them on the lower part with crowns, palms, laurels or trophies. »

The request was not acted upon and the ‘Monument aux Morts’ didn’t undergo any modifications.

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