Architect in Paris since 1874, Victor-Jules Février had already built two mansion houses for prominent figures in the Monceau area of Paris: for the demi-mondaine Valtesse de la Bigne (the mansion no longer exists), and Eugène Baugnies, painter and first husband of Marguerite de Saint-Marceaux, whose music room was the place to be seen (at 100 Boulevard Malesherbes). He was then charged by Emile Gaillard with designing, in the same neighbourhood of Paris, the mansion intended to showcase his magnificent art collection from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The Hotel Gaillard, built from 1878 to 1882, sealed his reputation, judging by the large number of buildings he constructed in the 1880s.
Victor-Jules Février applied all the popular styles at that time. In particular, the historicist style with, of course, the Hotel Gaillard, but also the Hotel Haviland (now the music academy Claude Debussy, at 29 avenue de Villiers) and the Hausmann style with many apartment buildings (including his own at 3 rue de la Terrasse).
He mainly built residential housing, both apartment buildings and private mansions. But Victor-Jules Février also designed industrial complexes: for example, a lime and cement plant (at Pont la Dame, in Haute Savoie) and a workers’ housing estate (at Pouancé, in Maine et Loire). He also worked for large banks (Société Générale) and insurance companies: the building he constructed in Madrid in 1911 with his son Raymond, also an architect, for the Spanish company le Phénix, is certainly the most striking example.
Published on 17 August 2012.