Louis Lèger Vauthier
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Last update: 19/03/2020
French engineer and politician, he was born in Bergerac, Brittany, on 6 March 1815 and died on 2 October 1901, according to information on a tombstone in the Montmartre cemetery in Paris.
He began studying at the École Polytechnique in Paris in 1834, from where he received his diploma as an engineer of bridges and sidewalks.
He came to Brazil in 1839, along with other engineers, mathematicians and builders of bridges, public buildings, hydraulic structures and topographic features, brought by the president of the province of Pernambuco, Francisco do Rego Barros, the Count of Boa Vista.
He was responsible for designing the Santa Isabel Theatre and for the construction and reconstruction of several buildings and roads.
During his stay in Pernambuco, he received many allegations against him, including those of misconduct, insubordination and harassment. Many of these attacks were a reflection of the political campaign against Francisco do Rego Barros, who was responsible for his coming. Vauthier could not endure for long the lack of support after the deposition of the Count of Boa Vista in 1844, returning to Paris in 1846.
He never, however, lost contact with Brazil. Even from far away he remained directing the construction of public and private projects in Brazil, by mail, such as completion of the works of Santa Isabel Theatre in 1850, and also its reconstruction after the fire of 1869.
Vauthier wrote a journal, published under the title of Diário íntimo do engenheiro Vauthier, 1840-1844 (The Personal Diary of Engineer Vauthier, 1840-1844), published by the National Historic and Artistic Heritage Service. Some excerpts are reproduced in the magazine Contraponto (Counterpoint), Recife, Year 5, n.12, commemorative edition of the centenary of the Santa Isabel Theatre. Gilberto Freyre wrote a book about it entitled Um engenheiro francês no Brasil (A French Engineer in Brazil), published in Rio de Janeiro, by José Olympio publishers in 1940.
From 19 to 22 October 2009, the Directory of Documentation in the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation honoured him with the celebration of Vauthier Week, as part of the French Year celebrations in Brazil. The event consisted of the international colloquium Bridges & Ideas – Louis Leger Vauthier, A French Engineer in Brazil, an iconographic exhibition, a book launching and a catalogue of online sources (www.fundaj.gov.br/ Catalogues & Bibliographies) containing references of the documentation of his work as the engineer responsible for the Province of Pernambuco’s Directory of Public Works in the period 1840-1846.
Recife 18 July 2003
(Updated on 20 October 2009)
ARRAIS, Isabel Concessa. Teatro de Santa Isabel. Recife: Fundação de Cultura Cidade do Recife, 2000.
BORGES, Geninha da Rosa. Teatro de Santa Isabel: nascedouro & permanência. Recife: Cepe, 2000.
FREYRE, Gilberto. Um engenheiro francês no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: J. Olympio, 1940.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Louis Lèger Vauthier. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009