Saint-Augustin church


On August 30th, 1864, the Duke of Morny solemnly laid the first stone of the Saint-Augustin church, built on a land acquired nine days before from the Société immobilière de Deauville. The church, built by architects Desle-François Breney and Anatole Jal at the middle of a walled garden, was blessed on July 30th, 1865 by the bishop of Bayeux. The cemetery is placed outside the borders of the new city, on the heights of Mont Canisy.

The architectural program reflects the passion of that time for eclecticism: the bell tower-porch offers a gothic and roman-style mix; the nave, ending with a semicircular apse and limited on the two side-aisles by buttress, shares some elements with Paleochristian worship buildings. The central aisle, originally with eight spans, is enlightened by arched windows with openings in the upper part. Polychrome bricks are found on the outside walls, calcareous stone on some items, including the portal made by Kammer and the Saint Augustin statue, made by sculptor Jules Franceschi, placed close to the tympanum.

The quarter-sphere vault and the chancel arch separating the nave from the choir were decorated with a fresco made by Toulouse painter Louis Brodier. This vault, representing Saint Augustin sitting in the middle of Church prophets and doctors, was removed during the renovation works made between 1929 and 1931 by architects Paul and Raymond Delarue. These architects added two supplementary spans to the nave, a transept and a deambulatory linking the side-aisles, and placed an axial chapel to the Southern-East side. The Northern-West main façade is decorated with a remarkable set of nine paintings on enamelled lava made in 1866 by Jules Jollivet, pupil of Antoine Gros. Seven arched panels represent the evangelists of the New Testament and the allegories of the theological virtues: Hope, Faith and Charity.
Two medallions represent Saint Paul and Saint Pierre.

About twenty years earlier, in 1844, Jules Jollivet had conceived a set of 13 panels for the Western façade of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church in Paris, on the demand of architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff. The decoration, considered too suggestive, was rejected upon demand of the clergy even before its completion. The painter chose Deauville as a favourable place to implement his architectural innovations and use polychrome decoration, described by Hittorff in his work titled “L’Architecture polychrome chez les Grecs” published in 1851 and arising much debate in Paris.

Eglise Saint-Augustin2