During the First World War, the Petit Palais hosted many patriotic events (exhibitions, tombolas, auctions, etc.)
The most emblematic of these was certainly the ‘exhibition of works of art damaged or rescued from regions devastated by the enemy’, which presented, in a spectacular showcase, damaged or fragmentary objects of all kinds brought from various locations on the frontline: shrapnel from Verdun, molten lead from Reims Cathedral, rubble from statues and columns, architectural items, liturgical objects, etc.
Resources available online:
Description of the archive materials held at the Petit Palais
Article by Claire Maingon, "L’instrumentalisation du patrimoine blessé. Paris, 1916 : l’Exposition d’œuvres d’art mutilées ou provenant des régions dévastées par l’ennemi au Petit Palais", In Situ [en ligne], 23 | 2014.
Talk by Claire Maingon, lecturer at the University of Rouen, and Cécilie Champy, curator in charge of sculptures at the Petit Palais, entitled “Montrer la guerre au musée : L’Exposition des oeuvres d’art mutilées au Petit Palais en 1916-1917” (Displaying war at the museum: The exhibition of damaged works of art at the Petit Palais in 1916-1917) as part of a conference on The Major Exhibitions of the Museums of the City of Paris, organised on 11-12 March 2016.
Colloquium "The Major Exhibitions of the Museums of the City of Paris" by Paris Musées