20.11.17

The second Rodin Museum


There is not only the Rodin Museum – Hôtel Biron - on rue de Varenne in Paris, but there is another one at Meudon, a close suburb. I wrote about the first one a long time ago on my previous blog (see here) and visited the second one, at Meudon, for a first time last week. 

It actually had a special significance as it was on the 100th anniversary of Rodin’s death. There was a ceremony held (which I’m not reporting about) – he and his wife are buried here, under another cast of his famous “The Thinker” (see top picture). Mentioning his wife, Rose Beuret, it may be interesting to know that after having always been there, despite August’s different “adventures”, the couple finally got married in January 1917, Rose died a month later and August a few months later.


  
You can thus visit what was his home from 1895 until his death in November 1917 – the “Villa des Brillants”. Different donations and restorations make it today possible to get an impression of what his home looked like, the dining room with a painting by his friend J-J Henner (see my previous post), bedroom… We should know that some of the paintings that you now can find at the Paris Museum, by Renoir, van Gogh and others, those days decorated his Meudon home.

We should also know that Rodin donated everything to the French State, against the promise that the museum(s) should be created.

Then there is of course also his working studio.  We can compare with some photos from the beginning of the 20th century, one with his (future) wife, two dogs and his then secretary, the famous poet Rainer Maria Rilke.


Rodin installed a separate building, partly brought here from his personal exposition pavilion during the 1900 World’s Fair, improved by the facade of a nearby castle (Château d’Issy) which had been in ruin since 1871. There were at certain times some 50 people working here, including a lot of assistants for plaster, casting… Rodin seems also to have travelled to his Paris “Hôtel Biron” more or less every day, where there was also a great activity. 
             
The plaster versions, several versions, pre-studies, of some of his most famous works can now be seen in the pavilion, e.g. “The Kiss”, “Balzac”, “The Burgers of Calais”, “The Gates of Hell”, “Victor Hugo”….  



… and also “The Age of Bronze” - among his first works (1877). There is a lot to be said about this sculpture, (there is even a photo of the model, August Neyt, to be found on the net), how Rodin was – falsely - suspected of casting on the living model, how he may have been inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Slave” (which also inspired an architect on a Paris post office building on which I posted here), how the name of the statue was changed… , but after having been exposed in Paris in 1877, “The Age of Bronze” clearly contributed to the beginning of a fantastic career.


16.11.17

Christmas show windows again, again, again….


So once more there is time to look at the Christmas show windows, once again the ones of “Galeries Lafayette” and the “Printemps”. Here you can compare with the ones in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. I also show the famous Christmas tree, each year different, under the cupola of the “Galeries Lafayette” – see also top picture.



Here is this time a mixture of photos from the two department stores. The ones of “Printemps” were this year inaugurated by Nicole Kidman. I wasn’t present. The crowds watching the windows are important - one expects some ten million people to have seen the windows before the Christmas season is over. 




    

13.11.17

Opéra-Comique


The Opéra-Comique was founded in 1714, but the present building, often referred to as Salle Favart, is from 1898. Two preceding buildings – on the same spot - burnt down. The ownerships, the regimes… have changed many times, even as late as the latest decades. The theatre has mostly been run independently from the Opéra Garnier (and the new Opéra Bastille), but the Paris opera houses have for shorter periods been under common management. Today the Opéra-Comique is again independent.


The term “comique” has nothing to do with laughter, but the difference with “real opera” is that in the “comique” the spoken drama often is more important… with some music and singing interludes. However, today, when you look into the repertoire of the theatre, this difference seems to have disappeared. Perhaps the Opéra-Comique has a slightly more innovative repertoire.

It may be interesting to know that the premieres of some notable works as “La Damnation de Faust” (The Damnation of F.) by Berlioz, “Carmen” by Bizet, “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” (The Tales of H.) by Offenbach, “Lakmé” by Delibes… took place at the second Opéra Comique (1840-87) and that the present building has seen the premieres of several works by Debussy, Massenet, Ravel, Poulenc…
   

The present building, which thus opened in 1898 , is very richly decorated, as you can see from these pictures and the top picture from the lobby.  There are some 1.250 seats.



                 

9.11.17

"Place Strindberg" inaugurated.


My previous post about “August Strindberg and Paris” was made as a preparation to the inauguration of a “Place Strindberg” in Paris, just behind the Saint-Sulpice Church. The inauguration took place November 6. Here are some photo souvenirs from the event.

There was a large crowd, of course with a Swedish dominance. You could find some (ex-)ministers, some actresses and actors, some authors.. and a lot of just ordinary people, fascinated by Strindberg.  

There were some speeches, by the City of Paris representatives, by the Swedish Minister of Culture and by the Swedish Ambassador.

Finally, the square name plate and a plaque were unveiled as well as a bust, the original dated 1905, by the sculptor Carl Eldh.   

The Swedish Minister of Culture, Alice Bah Kuhnke, especially congratulated two of the initiators of the whole project, Guy de Faramont - an author who also for many years was Le Monde’s Swedish correspondent - and Jacques Robnard, who among other things has (re-)translated a large part of Strindberg’s works.

This is what the square now looks like, once that the crowd had left.


In the evening, the same day, there was a little gathering in the Odeon Theatre, where some of Strindberg’s texts were read by professional actors… followed by a cocktail. 

6.11.17

Ecole Militaire


For a first time I got inside the “Ecole Militaire”. Unfortunately (or in a certain way, fortunately), the main building was covered by tarpaulins due to renovation work. 

This military school was created in the mid-18th century during the reign of Louis XV – a need to improve the French military knowledge level was clearly felt.
The architect was Ange-Jacques Gabriel  - who was also the architect of the Petit Trianon and the Opera at Versailles (see previous posts), the buildings on Place de la Concorde (see previous posts)…. – and the opening took place in 1760. Here we can see - thanks to Google Earth and some photos I previously took from the Eiffel Tower (see previous posts) and from the nearby Unesco building (see previous post) - that the school finally covers a smaller area than what was originally planned, but with later (19th century) constructed annexes it’s still a large complex.  


Sorry for some not very exceptional pictures from the outside, dull weather, tarpaulins…


Most of the buildings have been modernised inside, rather little of original decoration to be found…

… e.g. the library.

Originally a separate church building was planned, finally a chapel was incorporated in one of the aisles of the main building.


There are some horses around, but just for the pleasure of the occupants.