Paris - Ile De France

Le Pouce de Cesar sculpture - La Defense

This page was updated on: Sunday, January 5, 2020 at: 2:40 pm

Le Pouce de César - monumental sculpture

Le Pouce is a monumental sculpture representing the thumb of the sculptor César Baldaccini.

You'll find it in La Défense district, on Place Carpeaux behind the CNIT tower and next to the Grande Arche de la Defense.

César made the first cast of his thumb in 1965 for a Parisian art gallery on the occasion of an exhibition on the theme of the hand.

This first thumb was 40cm high and was in pink translucent plastic.

It raised 1.2 million euros at the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC).

The huge success of this original work therefore encouraged César to reproduce his thumb in different sizes, colors and materials.

You'll find them all around the world (Marseille, Koblenz, Seoul...)

The EPAD (Etablissement Public pour l’Aménagement de la Défense -public establishment for the development of La Défense) commissioned the sculptor with another Pouce.

Le Pouce on Place Carpeaux is 12m high and weighs 18 tons.

It is in cast iron and is the most massive of all the thumbs César produced.

It was unveiled on June 16, 1994.

César created this sculpture from an enlarged molding of his own thumb using the 3-D pantographic technique.

The pantograph is an instrument that allows reproducing volumes at any scale while maintaining the proportions between the original and its copy.

The result is quite impressive!

Indeed, the enlargement of the fingerprints and skin details is so precise that we clearly distinguish all the anatomical details of the thumb.

Le Pouce de César represents only the finger's last two phalanges; it stands vertical and has an obvious phallic symbolism.

But most of all, the thumb is the finger that allows us to grip; this power differentiates us from other animal species and therefore reflects our superiority.

César Baldaccini

César Baldaccini (1921-1998) was commonly known by his first name.

He considered himself as a Nouveau Realiste artist.

This movement emerged in 1960 and took its roots in the Surrealist movement of the 1920s; it processed, recycled and transcended the nature of everyday objects.

His friends, Jean Tinguely and his wife Nikki de Saint Phalle, joined him in this movement.

One of their most famous art pieces is the Fontaine Stravinsky by the Centre Pompidou.

You'll find César's tomb in Montparnasse Cemetery

Directions: Place Carpeaux, Puteaux, 92800
Metro: Esplanade de la Défense on Line 1 or RER A
Coordinates Le Pouce: Lat 48.892969 - Long 2.237915

Villa Seurat - Maison Quillet at No.8 by Lurçat

May 14 2020

Villa Seurat, a showcase of Modernist architecture

Villa Seurat, a showcase of the Roaring Twenties’ Modernist architecture and a Cité d’Artistes where Arthur Miller wrote Tropic of Cancer
Theatre de La Comedie Italienne in Rue de la Gaite

April 29 2020

Rue de la Gaite in Montparnasse

Rue de la Gaite in Montparnasse district, a street nicknamed Theater St. as it’s been essentially lined with entertainment halls since the 1780s
Pont de la Concorde seen from Rive Gauche

April 14 2020

Pont de la Concorde in Paris

The Pont de la Concorde links Place de la Concorde to the National Assembly and was built at the French Revolution with stones from the Bastille Fortress

March 27 2020

Garde Republicaine, Paris’ emblematic Gendarmerie force

Garde Republicaine, Paris’ emblematic Gendarmerie force renowned for its Calvary regiment, is in charge of the security of the city and the public

Sign up to our newsletter

Travel France Online will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates via our newsletter. By selecting the boxes on the form you confirm your acceptance to receive our newsletter.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by Contacting Us

We will treat your information with respect. For more information please visit our privacy policy page