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A view of sport events

Pierre-Olaf Schut


On the eve of the First World War, sport had become a phenomenon. On the one hand, the first sports institutions were being structured and started organizing regulated competitions; on the other hand, sport was at the crossroads of performance, technological development and bourgeois sociability – all characteristic of the Belle Époque. The history of sport, whether concerned with sport disciplines and their institutions taken separately or with political or social issues, does not often provide opportunities to capture a clear view of sport in everyday life. Through the analysis of a photographic corpus, we shall try to catch this view, following the reports of the man who is considered today as one of the very first sports photographers in France: Jules Beau. Following the itinerary of this man – a Parisian, member of the French Touring-Club and a cycling enthusiast – offers a special vision (with all the limitations imposed by a monographic study) of the sport phenomenon between 1894 and 1913, the period over which Jules Beau was involved in this activity. The corpus we used for our study comprises 36 volumes of about 100 pages each, which represents some 6,000 photos. Even though the portraits of cyclists make up a large part of the corpus, we shall focus more on Jules Beau’s photographic reports displaying the sports events offered to the Parisians of the time. Based on these reports, we shall depict the various facets of the sports phenomenon at the time of the Belle Époque: official competitions, festivals, demonstrations.


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hal-01604294 , version 1 (02-10-2017)


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  • HAL Id : hal-01604294 , version 1


Pierre-Olaf Schut. A view of sport events : The photographic reports of Jules Beau (1894-1913). Art in Sport History, Oct 2016, Ludwigsburg, Germany. ⟨hal-01604294⟩
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