Monument to Marshal Ferdinand Foch in Paris


The inauguration of the monument to Marshal Ferdinand Foch (Monument au maréchal Foch) took place on the Trocadero square in Paris in 1951. The outstanding commander of France made his name famous on the battlefields of the First World War. Under his command, French troops won victories in the battles of the Marne, Somme and Flanders rivers. He ended the war as commander of the allied armies with the signing of the Compiegne Armistice in November 1918.

The artistic composition of the monument

The bronze marshal F. Foch is depicted by the authors of the monument as a rider on a war horse. He is dressed in a summer military uniform without a headdress, his posture expresses calmness and concentration, and his pensive gaze is directed into the distance.

The horse under the rider is in motion and, having raised its front leg, has not yet completed the next step. The proportions of the horse figure were deliberately made more massive by the sculptors in order to achieve a harmonious combination of all parts of the monument.

The eight-meter pedestal of the monument was designed by architects J. Carlu, L. Boileau and L. Azema. On each side of the pedestal, there are four rectangular pylons, symbolizing the number of war years. On its front side there is an inscription carved: "Foch 1851-1929 Marshal of France, Great Britain and Poland".

The general composition of the work of art, according to the authors, is an interpretation of the famous antique monument to Marcus Aurelius on the Capitol Hill in Rome. They also focused in their work on the statue of the Condottiere Gattamelata, installed in Padua, by the Italian sculptor of the Quattrocento era Donatello.

Design and creation of the monument

A closed competition of projects for the monument to the marshal was announced by the chairman of the specially created committee for perpetuating the memory of F. Foch, General M. Weygand in June 1936. The model of the monument without the marshal's cap on the head, presented for the competition by the sculptor R. Vlerik, co-authored by R. Martin, initially met with incomprehension of the members of the commission.

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The sculptors explained the absence of a headdress by their desire to clearly and reliably convey the expression on the marshal's face, the perception of which could interfere with the cap. The project was recognized as the winner of the competition in December 1936 thanks to the active support of the Deputy Chairman of the General Council of the Seine A. Besson, who said: "This is Foch himself, with his beautiful, thoughtful, strong-willed and very human expression."

By order of the Minister of Education and Fine Arts J. Zey, a wooden model of the monument was preliminarily made. It was temporarily installed in 1939 on the esplanade between the two wings of the Chaillot Palace. The opening of the monument with the original bronze statue was delayed due to the outbreak of World War II and the occupation of France.

The monument was completely finished only by the centenary of the birth of the Marshal after the death of R. Vlerik by his student R. Martin in 1951. In 1992, the heirs of the sculptor R. Martin, the full-scale model of the monument, as well as the models of the marshal's head and the horse, were transferred to the Despiau-Wlérick Museum.

Getting there

Address: Statue équestre du Maréchal Foch, Paris 75000.
Metro: Trocadero.
Bus: Trocadero.