Home -> John J. Newbegin -> The Jewel City -> XVI. The Foreign Pavilions

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The Foreign Pavilions

Buildings characteristic of the nations represented - Many adaptations of famous old-world structures - Younger countries build expressions of their progress - Noteworthy pavilions of France, Holland, and the Scandinavian kingdoms - Italy's masterpiece in historic architecture - Argentina, Bolivia and other Latin-American republics well represented - Canada and Australia present fine buildings and splendid exhibits - China and Japan reproduce renowned gardens, temples and palaces - Rich treasures of art and industry shown by many countries.

Almost all the twenty-one foreign pavilions at the Exposition are characteristic of the architecture of the nations that built them. Some, like the unique Japanese temple or the beautiful French pavilion, are reproductions of famous old-world buildings. The three fine Scandinavian pavilions reflect notable types of national architecture. Italy's delightful group, which is the most noteworthy of all, is for every one who has visited that country an epitome of her most interesting historic palaces, rich in the art of the Renaissance. The buildings of the newer countries, like Canada or the Argentine, which have not yet had time to develop characteristic styles of their own, are admirable expressions of their progress and prosperity.

Argentina. - The Argentine Pavilion is really a palace. It is the work of Sauze, a celebrated architect of Buenos Aires, in the style of the French Renaissance. (See p. 169.) The Argentino exhibits, with the exception of dioramas, moving pictures, and photographs, are in the Exposition palaces. The pavilion is the center for the social functions of the Commission.

Both exterior and interior of the building illustrate the amazing progress of the South American republic in art, as its exhibits in the Exposition palaces exemplify its advancement in industry and commerce. The entrance opens into a noble hall, imposing in its simplicity. In the clerestory the walls are decorated with fine murals by the brush of the Argentine artist, Colivadeno, - works which show that Argentine art has the beauty, freshness and vigor of the nation from which it springs. In the center of the hall is an exquisite bit of Sculpture.

On left and right the foyer opens into a fine reception hall and a graceful refreshment room. In the rear is a theater, where moving pictures of Argentine scenes are shown daily. In the wall of the corridor surrounding the theater on the first floor are excellent panoramas showing scenery and resources. Among these is a view of the famed Iguazu Falls, the greatest and most magnificent waterfall on the globe. In the corridor upstairs are other panoramas, a series of photographs, and a collection of graphic charts which show the commerce, finance, industry, administration, education and social service of the republic. The second floor ends at the rear in a beautiful library.

The pavilion was built entirely of materials brought from Buenos Aires, and constructed by Argentino workmen.

Australia. - The Australian Pavilion, at the Presidio entrance to the Exposition, was designed by George J. Oakeshott, F. I. A. N. S. W. (p. 148.) Obviously it is intended to symbolize the industrial cohesion of the six Australian States, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, West Australia, and Tasmania. The facade bears below the cornice the titles of the states, with the state banner waving from a staff above. All are subordinated to the central tower, floating the flag of the Commonwealth.

Because its exhibits are eloquent of the resources of the great young country, the Pavilion has been described aptly as "the shop window of the Commonwealth." The building is, in fact, a huge sample room; and although the large states only, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, provided the display, each section is adequately representative of all Australia produces. Tropical fruits and other products from the northeast combine with the horticultural and agricultural products of the temperate zone. Minerals from the rich fields of all the states are grouped. The opals and gems from White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge in New South Wales vie with other precious stones from Queensland in forming one of the great attractions. Handsome building stones, including exceptional marble, are side by side with samples of the world-famous hardwoods and the scarcely known but beautiful cabinet woods from the Australian forest, while the pastoral areas have provided wonderful collections of wool, leathers, meat and by-products. The agricultural exhibits have attracted much attention, and were so arranged as to show the productiveness of irrigated areas as well as of the country generally. Carefully prepared literature, distributed liberally, has been a feature of the efforts of the Australians. The commissioners have made it their boast that nothing has been exaggerated; everything is "real." Even art critics who visit the pavilion will not be disappointed, for on the walls they will find many paintings of merit by Australian artists, including loan collections from the National Gallery of New South Wales and the Victorian Art Society.

The Australian exhibits, unlike those of most other countries, have been grouped in this building, instead of being shown in the various Exposition palaces.

Bolivia. - Bolivia has erected one of the most essentially national pavilions at the Exposition, an admirable building that expresses equally the two elements of its population, the Spanish and the Indian. The building is Spanish in its solid rectangular plan; its entrance is copied from the portal of the Church of San Lorenzo, and its central patio fashioned after that of the old mint at Potosi. It is Indian in the curious carved work of the facade and the monoliths flanking the entrance, both being exact copies of ceremonial temple stones from the lake region of Bolivia. The building was designed by Dr. Calderon of the Bolivian Commission and Albert Farr of San Francisco.

Tropical plants and fruits are shown in the brick-paved patio. The rooms in the interior include a moving-picture theater, an art gallery and museum, with pictures by Bolivian artists, and relics of the civilization of the Incas. The national exhibits are shown in the Exposition palaces.

Canada. - The Canadian Pavilion is the largest of the foreign buildings, and the best example at the Exposition of businesslike advertising by a government. (p. 148.) Planned by a permanent commission which has had fifteen years of exposition experience, the Canadian exhibit, down to the last detail, is designed to advertise the country. Even the site, at the junction of the highways leading to the Live-Stock Section, was chosen to get the largest number of the kind of visitors Canada is most anxious to greet. The architects were Humphreys, Limited, of London.

Architecturally, the building is mixed classic, finished in the Exposition travertine. The maple leaf of Canada appears in medallions on the walls, the royal arms of Britain over the entrances, and the British lion on either side of the approaches. Canada's entire exhibit is here. Her commission cares nothing for awards, but is concerned solely with attracting settlers and capital.

With this in view, the chief feature of the display consists of Canadian landscapes, illustrating the agricultural, lumbering, mining, and shipping interests of British North America. The scenes are set to produce a remarkable perspective. The beholder seems to stand on rising ground, looking away over miles of country. In each view the foreground is enlivened with real water and either living or moving things. There is a panorama of the great wheat fields bordering on Lake Superior. Trains move from grain elevators in the interior to the docks on the lake, where model steamers ply on real water. Electricity supplies the power.

The largest scene of all is of Canada as it was and as it is. The foreground represents the North, when the Indian and the game had it to themselves. In the background the visitor looks for miles down a broad Canadian valley filled with wheat fields and pleasant farms. Canada's wild life is represented in the foreground by splendid stuffed specimens, from the bear and the moose and the musk-ox to the marten and the muskrat, and from the great gray honker to the hummingbird. On the right, in a forest scene, is a beaver pond with dam and house, where the real beavers splash in the water. On the left of the scene, where a cascade tumbles into it, is a pool of Canadian trout, maintained in the wonted chill of their native waters by an ice-making plant under the scenery. Canada hopes to draw wealthy sportsmen and vacationists, who will then see for themselves the opportunities for investment. Some of her largest enterprises have begun thus.

The Canadian Pavilion makes no provision for social functions, but it is an attractive place, where everyone is welcomed. By common consent Canada has made the most effective exhibit of its kind at the Exposition.

Central America. - Guatemala, Honduras and Panama have each erected pavilions characteristic of Central American architecture. The Guatemalan Pavilion houses a display of the products of the forests, fields, and mines of the country, with coffee as its most notable exhibit. A native marimba band playing Guatemalan airs makes complete the Central American spirit of this pavilion. The Pavilion of Honduras, which might have been brought entire from Central America by a genie, contains a display of laces, woven hats, tropic ferns and flowers.

China. - The Imperial Audience Hall of the Forbidden City at Peking is reproduced in miniature in the three government buildings of the Chinese compound at the Exposition. The central pavilion is modeled after the great hall where for three centuries the Manchu emperors gave audiences. The two flanking structures, both alike, are copies of the buildings where court officials and the delegations awaited the coming of the Son of Heaven to the throne room. The pagoda and the tower at the left and right of the entrance are likewise copies of structures in the Forbidden City. All the buildings were constructed by native artisans, brought over from China for the purpose. The flag of the Republic floats from the tower, its colors from top to bottom standing in order for Manchuria, South China, Tibet, and Mongolia. The ancient dragon is absent, banished by the spirit of New China.

Within the three government pavilions are magnificent carvings, vases and lacquered furniture, old prints and paintings on silk. The priceless collection of the latter, shown here and in the Chinese section of the Fine Arts Palace, is the finest in the world, the property of a Chinese collector. Its pictures are a complete representation of Chinese painting for more than a thousand years. China is represented by exhibits in all the Exposition palaces, the most extensive participation by any foreign country.

Cuba. - The Cuban Pavilion, designed by Francisco Centurion, is a good example of Spanish-American architecture. It is distinguished by a square tower at one corner, a wide portico, roof of Spanish tile, and a central patio, designed for receptions. On the second floor is a great ballroom approached by a splendid stairway in the old Spanish style. Cuba's most striking exhibit at the Exposition is the display of tropical plants and flowers in the Palace of Horticulture.

Denmark. - Denmark, like the two other Scandinavian countries, has made her pavilion characteristic of her own national architecture. Though not in any sense a reproduction, the building finds its motive in Hamlet's Castle of Kronberg at Elsinore. The architect has softened the grimness and bulk of the ancient fortress into a pleasing building, that has the spirit of the gray land by the German Ocean, and the solid character of the Danes. The dim past appears in the great gravestones on the grounds, copies of monuments on ancient Danish barrows.

In the entrance is a tiled lobby, with the information bureau. Beyond is the "Garden Room," so styled because of its exquisite furnishings and abundance of cut flowers. To the left is a reception room, done in massive Danish decoration, with Danish woods and Danish furniture. A handsome cabinet of mahogany and hammered silver is its most striking piece. Other rooms also contain wonderful antique furniture. An assembly room with a raised dais, and mural decorations suggestive of Danish industry and commerce, is in the northeast corner. The building contains a number of paintings by Danish masters that are of great interest and value.

Funds for this pavilion were contributed by Danish residents of California. The Danish Government supplied the furnishings. No commercial displays are in the building.

France. - The Pavilion of France is a replica of the eighteenth-century home of the Prince de Salm, at Paris, now and for more than a century the Palace of the Legion of Honor. (p. 157.) The original building, in the soberer mode of the French Renaissance, was of Caen stone, the effect of which has been reproduced in the present construction. The erection of this pavilion marks a record in work of such magnitude. On the outbreak of the war, all thought of participating in the Exposition was dropped; but later the American ambassador, Mr. Herrick, succeeded in persuading the French Government to reconsider its decision. The plans were cabled from Paris, at a cost of $10,000, and the structure was completed in sixty days.

More notable than the building itself, or its priceless contents, is the fact that these are here. That, in the midst of war and its demands, France should still find time for the ideal, and for this beautiful tribute to the long-standing friendship between the two countries, is a demonstration of French spirit and of French culture that will not escape the attention of any thoughtful American. For France herself, as it has well been said, her appearance here means as much as a victory on the battlefield.

The French Pavilion is a dignified and impressive structure, as those who recall the Legion of Honor Palace in Paris will understand. The entrance to the court is a triumphal arch flanked by double rows of Ionic columns on either side, with figures of Fame as spandrels. The arch is connected by lateral peristyles with the wings of the pavilion, the attics of which are adorned with has reliefs. Ionic colonnades extend along the sides of the court to the principal front of the building, which is decorated with six Corinthian columns, forming a portico for the main entrance. The portal opens on a stage, above which a great central hall, flanked by lesser halls, extends back through the palace.

But the glory of the building is in its exhibits. France poured out the treasures of the Louvre, the Luxembourg and the National Museum to adorn this pavilion. Fine as is the exhibit in the French section of the Palace of Fine Arts, the best pictures and Sculptures are shown here. In the Court of Honor stands the masterpiece of the master sculptor of modern times, "The Thinker," by Auguste Rodin. (p. 158.) In the galleries are his "John the Baptist" and other important bronzes. Vast, unique and of the greatest interest is Theodore Riviere's wonderful group in bronze representing a triumphant band of desert soldiers dragging captive the Moroccan pretender, secured in an iron cage. There, too, are splendid paintings by Monet, Meissonier, Detaille, de Neuvilie, and many other French artists approved by time. Magnificent old tapestries adorn the walls of the great hall, with modern hangings on the entrance stage. Two shrines hold relics of Lafayette and Rochambeau, sent by their descendants; and busts of Washington and Franklin stand on either side of the heroic figure of France at the entrance.

French manufacturers have sent here those commercial articles which French taste elevates almost to the standards of Art. Exquisite products of the jeweler, the perfumer, the milliner and the costumer, with fine fabrics that make France famous, are shown in the wings beside the Court of Honor. But the greater part of the French industrial exhibits are in the Exposition palaces.

Belgium also finds her place in the French pavilion, with an exhibit of great interest, including many admirable modern paintings, fine panoramas of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges, and a collection of rare old laces that will delight the heart of every woman.

Greece. - The Greek Pavilion represents the latest addition of a foreign nation to the Exposition family. The building was begun by the Kali Syndikat, a German corporation, forced by the war to abandon its undertaking. In April, 1915, the Greek government bought the building and finished it in classic style. Its exhibits include two hundred and fifty replicas of the most famous of ancient Grecian Sculptures.

Italy. - Though other countries have built pavilions characteristic of their soil and people, or have lavished their money on splendid examples of exposition architecture, it has remained for Italy to present in a single group a summary of the best that art has produced in a national history of two thousand years. (p. 159.) The Italian Pavilion does not attempt to reproduce any one architectural masterpiece. It echoes many. Therein is the triumph of the architect. Without copying, Piacentini has suggested in this building much that is famous in the architecture of Florence, Venice, and Rome. It is itself a masterpiece.

The Italian Pavilion is an irregular group of seven structures, all connected by arcades except the last building to the east, a moving-picture hall. The main entrance is at the west, where a broad low flight of steps leads up to a plaza between two tall buildings irregularly placed. That on the right, in Fifteenth Century style, contains the offices of the Commission. The hall on the left, reminiscent of the Bargello, is devoted to a splendid collection of antique Roman, Grecian, and Italian art, shown by Signor Canessa. On either side of the entrance is a Roman "Discus Thrower" in bronze. The Bargello hall is connected by an arcade with a square Etruscan tower, which in turn is similarly joined with other buildings that close the plaza on the east. In the rectangle between the two parallel buildings on the east, is a beautiful peristyled Venetian court, adorned with bronzes and marbles copied from originals in the Museum of Naples. In the center is a reproduction in stone and bronze of the well of the Palace of Campo San Giovanni e Paolo at Venice.

Of the two parallel buildings on either side of this court, the southern one is a Florentine structure containing a single hall devoted to purely governmental exhibits. The Tribuna between the two is the sanctuary of the pavilion, containing the portraits of King Victor Emmanuel and Queen Margherita, and portraits and relics of the great of Italy, explorers from Columbus to the Duke of the Abruzzi, scientists like Galileo, Galvani, Volta and Marconi, statesmen like Mazzini, and soldiers like Garibaldi. The other principal hall contains a series of rooms representing the cities of Italy during the Renaissance. First from the east is a reproduction of the Fifteenth Century library of the sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria alle Grazie at Milan, a chamber of beautiful armoires of carved wood, with panels painted with sacred pictures in colors. Next is a Neapolitan room, filled with reproductions in bronze and silver and marble of the Pompeiian treasures of the Museums of Naples and Rome. Then comes the Florentine Room, furnished in Fifteenth Century style with carved and inlaid wood, and adorned with copies of the best bronzes and marbles of the great mediaeval city. There is also a dining room in Fourteenth Century Florentine style, and then comes, at the western end, the Royal Salon, a magnificent hall with ceilings in blue and gold, and murals by Pieretto and Bruno Ferrari.

All the art works of the mediaeval rooms are copies of originals, but in the Bargello Hall, Signor Canessa, who was J. P. Morgan's European agent, shows his collection of veritable Italian and ancient art. Here are many things familiar through books, Michelangelo's bust of the Virgin; a cabinet full of reliquaries and profane vessels in crystal, gold and enamel done by Beuvenuto Cellini; the bronze Bacchante with silver eyes which was dug up in the gardens of the Persian embassy at Stamboul, and which dates from the Third Century B. C.; the famous portrait bust in rock-crystal of an Egyptian king of the Eighteenth Dynasty; madonnas and saints by Fifteenth Century painters; a complete garden set, fountain, statues and all, from a Pompeiian villa; Greek bronze and silver vessels and statuettes; Bernini's bust of the Cardinal de Medici; Fifteenth Century tapestries, and so many other objects of mediaeval and ancient art that a special catalogue has been prepared to describe them.

Italy's modern painting and Sculpture are well represented in the Palace of Fine Arts, and her industrial and commercial exhibits are in the other palaces.

Japan. - Japan has chosen her temple and palace gardens as the types to represent her at the Exposition. (p. 169.) She dug up the Mikado's private garden at the end of the sacred Red Bridge in Nikko, trees, shrine, rocks, greensward and soil, and set it down again on the Exposition grounds. So doing, she has shown the Western world a lesson in the beauty of simplicity. The central building in this charming garden is a copy, enlarged, of the Golden Pavilion of the Roku-on-ji Temple in the city of Nara. It is of plain wood and lacquer, with interior walls and ceiling entirely covered with gold leaf. The office building joined to the temple was suggested by the shrine of the ancient castle of Fushimi. The exhibit building north of this temple houses a complete and remarkably beautiful fac-simile of the famous temple at Nikko, one of the finest in Japan. The Mikado's private collection of Japanese art, never before opened to the public, even in Japan, is placed in the Japanese section of the Fine Arts Palace. The paintings, scrolls, porcelain, satsuma ware, Sculptures and metal work shown in this very noteworthy exhibit were collected by the late Emperor Mutsuhito.

One of the tea houses is an exhibit of the Central Tea Traders' Association, the other one by the Formosan Government. The striking features of the gardens, beside the stream and the lakelet, are the dwarfed conifers, priceless trees. Two of them are the products of ten centuries of systematic pinching back. With them are three sago palms, five hundred years old. Scattered throughout the gardens are stone lanterns. Every plant, every bit of turf, every stone in the bed of the stream even, came from Nippon.

Japan is one of the largest exhibitors in the Exposition. Her displays, shown in every palace except Machinery, are an amazing demonstration of the degree to which she has entered the trade of the world.

The Netherlands. - In its domed pavilion, gay with many bannered staffs, the Netherlands has achieved one of the most striking buildings in the foreign section. (p. 157.) Its architecture is not representative of the traditional Dutch style but fulfills the modern ideas of the present-day school of builders in Holland. Most prominent is the clock tower, where a bell rings the hours.

Within, the pavilion presents Holland as one of the great colonial nations. Roughly, it has three divisions, devoted to the mother country, the Dutch East Indies, and the Dutch West Indies, in each of which industry and commerce is pictured in dioramas and exemplified by displays of products. Dutch girls in national costume serve visitors in the refreshment room.

Holland's most noteworthy exhibits are those made by the Board of Horticulture of the Netherlands in the gardens of the Palace of Horticulture, and her pictures in the Palace of Fine Arts. Holland sent to San Francisco ten carloads of rhododendrons, conifers, and bulbs. To install them she sent Mynheer Arie Van Vliet, the landscape engineer of the Peace Palace at The Hague. Her industrial exhibits are in the Exposition palaces.

New Zealand. - The New Zealand Pavilion is of mixed French and Italian styles. It was designed by Lewis P. Hobart of San Francisco, in collaboration with Commissioner Edmund Clifton. While it contains a representative display of the chief products of the youngest of the Dominions, the main exhibits are in the Palaces of Mines, Agriculture, and Food Products.

Norway. - Norway, like Sweden and Denmark, has succeeded admirably in reproducing its national spirit in its pavilion. The building is a long story-and-a-half structure, in the ancient Norse style, dominated by a beautiful tower on which is emblazoned the Norwegian coat-of-arms. The lower floor contains three large dioramas of characteristic Norwegian scenery, and an exhibit hall wherein are shown products of the industries of Norway, especially her great maritime activities. As in the case of the other two Scandinavian countries, the sons of Norway in California built the pavilion, while the Norse Government provided the exhibits.

Portugal. - A sign of the glorious past, when Henry the Navigator made his country a great sea power with colonies around the globe, appears in the knotted cable that binds Portugal's Pavilion. The fantastic architecture of this little palace is also historically significant, for it was adapted from that of the Cathedral of Jeronymos, the Convents of Thomar and Batalha, and the Tower of Belem, built in celebration of Portugal's golden age of discovery. The style is known as the Manuelino. Antonio do Couto of Lisbon was the architect, assisted by the sculptor, Mota Sobrinho. The building has a local significance in California, where thousands of Portuguese have settled. In the pavilion is a display of laces, inlaid articles and wickerwork, exhibits which are repeated in greater variety and with other products in the Exposition palaces. The walls are beautified with a series of very remarkable photographs of famous Portuguese cathedrals.

Siam. - The Siamese Pavilion is a perfect example of the architecture of the Far East. It reproduces a pavilion on the palace grounds at Bangkok. It was first built there by native workmen, taken apart in sections and shipped to San Francisco to be set up on the Exposition grounds. Teak, sandal-wood and other rare Asiatic timbers are used in its construction. Hammered metal work, carved ivory, and tapestries form its interior decorations; but, in striking contrast to its ancient art and spirit, the building is a moving-picture palace where Siam's life and industry is shown.

Sweden. - Sweden has delighted everybody with her pavilion, a building finely representative of the people who built it, and with her industrial exhibit as well. (p. 160.) The pavilion combines the best in Swedish ecclesiastical and domestic architecture, the church tower and the gabled hall near the center, dwelling-house types at the ends. It was designed by Ferdinand Boberg, a noted leader in Swedish art.

The building is almost entirely filled with exhibits of Swedish industry, a presentation as good in its way as Canada's splendid picture of her great, hardly touched resources. The Swedish steel works have sent numerous models of locomotives, steamships, and machinery, and full-sized samples of smaller products. The government has furnished models of docks and bridges, of buildings and other engineering works. The familiar Swedish matches are here in pyramids. There are rooms furnished by Swedish artisans in birch and oak, with chandeliers of hammered iron, carpets from Swedish looms, and fine ceramics from the Swedish potteries. Other exhibits are in the Exposition palaces. In art, the Swedish collection in the Palace of Fine Arts is perhaps the most distinctive display made by a foreign nation.

Sweden's part in the Exposition was made possible by the Swedish citizens of California, who gave the funds for the pavilion, while the home government provided for the installation of the exhibits.

Turkey. - The Turkish Pavilion supplies the one touch of Islam in the foreign section. The Ottoman building is a copy of the palace of Sultan Ahmed I at Stamboul, the summer home of the present Sultan. Within the pavilion is a ballroom, cafe, and lounging rooms. But the interest of the building, and of the little mosque behind it, as examples of Turkish architecture, is entirely overshadowed by the wonderful collection of rare rugs, beautiful brasses and carvings, and rich inlaid and jeweled ornaments, all part of the Sultan's treasures, and valued at $1,500,000.

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