Villa Auguste Blanqui

The 13th arrondissement is to a rather large extent full of more or less modern buildings, not always what many of us would consider as the utmost in architecture. The arrondissement is however also the most street-art-friendly of the 20 Paris arrondissements and many buildings are, at least in my mind, “saved” thanks to the decoration of previously naked facades. We could see some examples in a recent preceding post. But… there are also some “îlots”, small “islands” where a different atmosphere can be found. Here is an example, Villa Auguste Blanqui. “Villa” is often used in Paris for small mostly dead-end (cul-de-sac) streets. Auguste Blanqui (1805-81) was a French socialist and activist, quite radical for his time – he spent half of his life in prison.

Here are some examples to show what the little street, the “villa”, looks like. 



A bit more than ten years...

Slightly too late I realised that this blog has been running for ten years… (and three weeks). This is post no. 1072. I have had some 2.800.000 pageviews (thank you all!)… and I have learnt a lot myself and, especially, I have made and met a lot of friends. (Before that I had a similar blog for a year, starting very optimistically with a post almost every day – 343 posts.) I thought this was worth a ….(see above)!


Work in progress...

The other day I discovered a – for me – new wall-painting by street artists Zag & Sia. The painting is named “La Villa des Arts” and is of course clearly linked to its immediate neighbour, “La Villa des Arts”, a place where artists like Renoir, Cézanne, Picabia, Signac… lived or worked for shorter or longer periods. I reported on the place here and here. On the painting we can see Sia balancing on a heart (“L'Attrape Coeur”, referring to Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye"). (Rue Etienne Jodelle, Paris 18e.)

I’m more used to seeing Zag & Sia decorating stairs in their own, original, way and remembered that a couple of days ago, when I was invited to a private concert in the 14th arrondissement, I noticed that one of their stair-paintings was clearly losing its colours. (Stairs leading to Rue des Artistes, Paris 14e - compare with the more official photo taken when it was all newly painted.)

I got curious, as I especially remembered the stairs (Rue Lemaignan, Paris 14e) that some two years ago they had decorated to commemorate the death, 30 years earlier, of the extremely popular comedian and actor Coluche. I wrote about it here. I went back to check… and, how lucky I was, I found Zag & Sia, (see top picture) working on a modification of the portrait of Coluche and adding the portrait of his wife, Véronique, who died very recently. Since her husband’s death Véronique has played an important role in the “Restos du Coeur”, a charity launched by her husband and today involving thousands of volunteers, mainly distributing food, hot meals… to the needy. When you see Zag & Sia in action you realise how difficult their job is. 

I thought I should check some other of Zag & Sia's decorated stairs. You have to realise that much is gone, that this type of art is quite ephemeral. Here are some examples of what I couldn’t find, of what is gone…The original photos here, above and below are stolen from here and here, including Zag & Sia’s Facebook site

But on my way through the very street-art-friendly 13th arrondissement, I could again admire some works by other artists…

… and I also found this quite recent work by Zag & Sia (Rue de Chevaleret, Paris 13e)….  

… and this one (Boulevard du Général Jean Simon, Paris13e)…

… and then I discovered that these stairs lead to or from an incredible street art shop. It was even written “öppet” which means “open” in Swedish, so I of course had a look inside…  and I realised how the prices of works by some of these artists are climbing.


Closer looks

In my preceding post, I took a closer look on the Foujita art. Here are some closer looks on a few flowers in my little garden - which finally has taken some spring colours.  (The top picture shows the inside of a tulip.)


Foujita... eyes, hair, cats...

There is at present a Foujita exhibition at the Maillol Museum (I wrote about the museum here). Have you ever really noticed how Foujita painted eyes, hair, cats… (and dogs)?

I have no intention here to tell the life of Foujita (18896-1968), who spent many years in France (you can do that e.g. here), I just wanted to illustrate more in detail some of his techniques…  The top picture shows his own eyes, a detail of one of his self-portraits (1928).

Here are some other examples of his very personal (Japanese-European) style, with details from the self-portrait. His love for cats is well-known – in 1930 he even published a “Book of Cats” for which you would have to pay a fortune today, if you can find it.

More examples of eyes, hair, cats …

… and even a dog.

I was pleased to find a painting from the Cité Falguière on which I posted here and where Foujita spent some of the WWI years.

The exhibition also showed a portrait of the French actor and film director Gérard Oury (1919-2006), from 1927, when he was 8 years old. Oury is responsible of a number of popular films with Louis de Funès, Bourvil, Yves Montand, David Niven, Terry Thomas, J-P Belmondo… and here we can see him together with his long time life partner Michèle Morgan and his daughter Danielle Thompson, who now owns the little portrait.      


Yes, at last... !!

YES, at last… Some trees have taken on green colours…

I found the way back to “my” old park, Square des Batignolles, and got it confirmed – the spring signs are at last here.

The ducks could even take their siesta without standing on one leg as they do when it’s cold (see previous post).


"No Address"

We can read number 7, we are on Rue Tronchet. This building is quite “different” and you ask yourself… and you find out. It dates from 1839 and has a rather Italian renaissance design, at least outside. It was built for a banker and collector, James-Alexandre de Pourthalès (1776-1855). He obviously had a collection of some 300 paintings (Rembrandt, Ingres…), sculptures… The building is referred to as Hôtel de Pourtalès.

The architect of the original building was Felix Duban (1797-1870), perhaps not so well-known, but he has left a number of remarkable buildings, especially maybe a large part of the “Ecole-des-Beaux-Arts”, including the beautiful “Palace of Studies” (see my post here). You may compare the outside decoration of the two buildings - maybe especially considering that the top floor on the Hôtel de Pourtàles obviously has been added later.

The “hotel” was occupied by the Pourthalès family for quite a while also after the death of James-Alexandre. The wife of one the sons, Mélanie de Pourthalès (1836-1914) became quite well-known as one of the leading ladies in the high society and as a close friend of the imperial couple.

After different other occupations, mostly as offices, the building was a few years ago transformed into a luxurious, very discrete, apartment hotel – no hotel sign on the outside – and referred to as "No Address". Among the foreign guests one can mention Leonardo diCaprio, Madonna, Prince…  Zlatan Ibrahimovic and family stayed here for a year or so… and this is where Kim Kardashian lost a few million dollars of jewellery.