Edited in Cooperation with Dominique Bouvard
Translated by Joseph Laredo
176 pp with approx. 200 photos and illustrations
Hardcover in folio-size 28 × 33 cm
Born in 1954, Philippe Coupérie-Eiffel is a direct descendant of Gustave Eiffel.
He was the creator of the supreme symbol of Paris, the beacon that radiates the city’s aura across the world, but it would be short-sighted to restrict the work of Gustave Eiffel (1832–1923) to the tower that bears his name, despite his struggle to gain acceptance for his utopian vision. From the age of 26, when the young engineer was entrusted with the construction of a railway bridge in Bordeaux, both firing his ambition and earning him the respect of his colleagues, Eiffel made his mark on every corner of the globe with his striking and distinctive designs for over 300 buildings, including the Douro Bridge in Portugal, the Garabit Viaduct in France, Pest Station in Hungary, the Post Office in Saigon and even the framework of the Statue of Liberty in the USA.
In 1892, the 60-year-old was crushed by a judgment that wrongly implicated him in the Panama Canal scandal, which had erupted three years earlier. With his reputation in ruins, Eiffel decided to withdraw from the public eye … only to enter a phase of still greater creativity. With his innovative design for the first aeroplane to have wings beneath the fuselage, his research into aerodynamics and his development of the science of meteorology, he revealed himself to be a polymath as well as a visionary of the industrial age.
But Eiffel never allowed his public activities to dominate his private life, and he passed on to his descendants his humanist principles and his profound sense of family values. It is this legacy that Eiffel’s great-great-grandson Philippe Coupérie-Eiffel has chosen to champion and that he invites us to discover in these pages. The wealth of archive material, much of it previously unpublished, presents an intimate portrait of Gustave Eiffel, creator of the impossible.