La Ruche

Alfred Boucher was a successful French sculptor (1850-1934). He was Camille Claudel’s (see previous post) first teacher and a good friend of Auguste Rodin and was the one who brought them together. He was a generous person and offered a place for less fortunate artists to work and live. The place is called “La Ruche” (“The Beehive”) and the major, round, building was originally a temporary installation created by Gustave Eiffel as a “wine rotunda” for the Universal Exhibition 1900. It was dismantled and re-erceted at Passage de Dantzig (see Google map below) in 1902. The wooden stairs in the middle of the central building under the lantern are quite impressive (photo below)!

Artists – painters, sculptors, writers... - who lodged here were supposed to pay a very low rent – often they never paid at all. Among the occupants you would find Guillaume Appolinaire, Ossip Zadkine, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Max Jacob, Chaim Soutine, Blaise Cendrars, Robert Delaunay, Amadeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Diego Rivera... For a while there was even a small theatre where the later Fench top actor Louis Jouvet played.

From “La Ruche”, the lodgers could rather easily walk to Marie Vasieleff’s canteen at the “Chemin de Montparnasse” (on which I also recently posted) for an almost free meal. They were then also close to Boulevard Raspail and Rue Campagne Première with other artist studios ... and bistros (on which I also recently posted) and also to Boulevard Montparnasse with legendary restaurants like “La Coupole”, “Le Dôme”...

“La Ruche” declined during the 40’s and 50’s, should have been replaced by modern apartment buildings, but was saved thanks to the intervention of Chagall, Sartre, Calder, Renoir, Malraux and some others and since 1971 it’s again open for artists, today with some 50 “guests”. It’s now a foundation.

It’s however not open for visitors, but thanks to a kind artist who arrived at the same time as I in front of the gate, I managed to get inside and also to have a walk in the surrounding garden. (I can imagine the nice parties that must have taken place here.) The place is just under renovation again (needed). The weather was once more very cloudy, but I did my best to get a few pictures. I wish you a nice weekend!


catied said...

wow - very easy to sense the serenity from these pictures and it seems a very good place for artistic inspiration. How do you find all these places? Do you just wander or do you have a list? Thank you!

Ash said...

Lovely images.
Have a great weekend, Peter!

Mona said...

You did take some wonderful pictures despite bad weather. I like the picture of the tool sharpener there! :)

Mona said...

I updated my last post & put up another picture with my sister!

Olivier said...

j'aime beaucoup ce jardin intérieur d'artiste. On imagine bien les artistes discutant entre eux dans ce lieux.
Bon Weekend

alice said...

Comme le dit Olivier, les fantômes des artistes pourraient bien hanter les lieux! En as-tu profité pour aiguiser ton Opinel?

hpy said...

Alors, ce n'est pas loin du parc Georges Brassens (dont tu as bien entendu fait un post itou).

David said...

great post!

i will definitely go and visit la ruche this weekend... and will certainly follow your blog

My Paris Apartment

hpy said...

As-tu eu mon courrier sur hotmail? Lyliane attend ta réponse.

delphes said...

>hpy: et à moi vous n'avez pas écrit? :-( personne ne m'aime. Bon ben je vais aller me perdre dans le petit jardin et je rencontrerai bien un artiste qui sera gentil avec moi et qui m'invitera à discuter dans un charmant petit bistrot et boire un verre et pourquoi pas aller manger à la Coupole. Et toc...

Nathalie said...

Ah mon cher Peter, comme tu te débrouilles bien ! Grâce à ton sourire charmeur, te voilà accédant à tous ces lieux secrets où le public n'entre pas ! Tu es très fort !

Excellent post une fois de plus.

Bon week-end à toi. Très chaud ici 32°, cette fois c'est vraiment l'été.

Nathalie said...

PS - j'ai répondu à ta question sur mon blog et rajouté plein d'infos sur les peintures de la chapelle et puis il ya des abricots bien mûrs. Si tu veux venir faire une visite...

Nathalie said...

PS - j'ai répondu à ta question sur mon blog et rajouté plein d'infos sur les peintures de la chapelle et puis il ya des abricots bien mûrs. Si tu veux venir faire une visite...

Chanin said...

Pete, you are right, D is the right choice, want a price??
Mua.....(this is a Chinese kiss^^)

SusuPetal said...

Trevlig midsommar, Peter!

lyliane said...

Une initiative heureuse avant l'Abbé Pierre, joli coin de Paris préservé heureusement.
Mais pour ces artistes peu fortunés aller boire un verre à la Coupole, c'est un peu cher , tu ne trouves pas?

claude said...

Queljoli coin de Paris encore, coin que je ne connaissais pas du tout. Et puis en lisant tes explications je me dis que tu es Suédois le plus Parisien qui puisse exister.

ALAIN said...

Voila des photos de ruche qui ne donnent pas le bourdon, comme disait Maya l'abeille.

Peter said...

Sometimes I just find, but often (like in this case) I base myself on things I find in books and other sources.

Thanks and the same to you!

You are just too nice!

Peter said...

Oui, ça donne envie d'être là pendant les années 20!

J'ai encore oublié l'Opinel (que je n'ai pas)! :-)

En effet, juste à coté!

Peter said...

I hope you will find the gate open!


Oui on t'aime beaucoup! La prochaine fois à Paris je t'invite à la Coupole ou ailleurs, selon tes désirs!

Peter said...

Merci! Je pense passer en Avignon fin juillet, début août. Je te fais signe? (Trop tard pour les abricots?)


Tack detsamma!

Peter said...

Je pense que les tarifs à la Coupole n'étaient pas les mêmes! ... et ils avaient toujours soif!

Je fais de mon mieux!

Bon commentaire! Bon week-end!

Mélisse said...

Comme c'est joli et tellement vert ! J'avais entendu parler de La Ruche mais n'avais pas eu la chance de la visiter, grâce à toi c'est chose faite. Un endroit paisible pour laisser venir l'inspiration...

Bettina said...

I just love this place. You were so lucky to get in there. I can so easily imagine Camille and the others in this environment. How fascinating. I only wish it would be open to the public.
Your photos are lovely !

Ming the Merciless said...

Great story, Peter. I wonder if there are still any artist colonies like the one created at Le Ruche by Alfred Boucher.

Art today is so commercialized that we don't see this kind of friendly any more.

Le Ruche is absolutely beautiful. I love the gardens and photos of the doors and staircases.

GMG said...

Hi Peter, it's true that «Audaces Fortuna Juvat»! That's why you always get a chance to get inside those «no admittance» spots... ;)
La Ruche seems a quite nice place in your pictures and I wonder who would be the successors of the incredible series of poor artists whose works became some of the most expensive ones, but only after they died... ;)
So you made Passy! It seems you've covered all Paris' cemeteries now! This one, with Renault, Bouygues, Dassault and Fernandel makes a lot of sense... ;))
Thanks for drawing the attention to Marie Bashkirtseff!!
It's a shame that you couldn't picture the Camille Claudel exhibition. Still in trouble after so many years... But with a brother like that, I imagine it would be difficult to get rid of psychiatric troubles... ;))
Anyhow, we got a wonderful show of Paloma & Friends!
Finally, the yellow at Sèvres Babylon almost reconciles me with the colour (I think I've already told you about the Portuguese saying: «what would be of the yeloow if there was no bad taste... ;))
Hope you have a great week ahead!

Anonymous said...

The grinding wheel does it for me.

I do visit and I do comment and I was here. I did look at your picture(s) and I did read what you wrote about them. I could say how great you are and how beautiful your work is but alas I would soon run out of things to say on the next blog I visited, so I just left this to prove I stopped and said a few words on Sunday.

Cergie said...

Un endroit hors du temps qui a marqué le siècle dernier. Je me demande si parmi ceux qui y sont actuellement hébergé pour cause de nécessité pécuniaire sans doute, se trouvent les Zadkine, les Cendrars, les Appolinaire, les Brancusi méconnus d'aujourd'hui -peut-être le gentil artiste qui t'a laissé entrer- qui feront ce siècle demain.

ruth said...

You live right, Peter! Time and again you are at the right place at the right time. I LOVE every square inch that I can see of this place.

Peter said...

L'inspiration, c'est important! ... et l'environement compte!

Maybe with a nice smile you can also get in!

Well, La Ruche is still there with cheap rents and full of artists. Will anyone of them reach the same reputation as the ones who were there in the 10's and the 20's?

Peter said...

Nice of you to come here! I'm afraid that the grinding reel has not been in use for years ... but it's still there!

Est-ce qu'on sera là pour savoir?

Sometimes you need a bit of luck ... and to meet some friendly people!

Catherine said...

Magnifique cet endroit...un lieu magique en plein coeur de Paris.