Painting, drawing, sculpting...

Once more I was back at the rue de la Grande Chaumière. I have already posted about it e.g. here and here. I had an excellent lunch at a very reasonable price at the restaurant “Wajda”, which has been here since the 1930’s. (I very seldom – never – recommend a restaurant, but in this case I feel that I must – also for the nice welcome feeling).

The address is the same as the famous art school, “Académie Colarossi”, which was here between the 1870’s and the 1930’s. Among the students you may especially mention Camille Claudel, Alfons Mucha (later also teacher), Amedeo Modigliani and also his last partner, Jeanne Hébuterne... (and for my Swedish friends I can mention Carl Eldh, Jenny Nyström, Hanna Pauli, Eva Bonnier, Isaac Grünewald, Siri Derkert, Helmer Osslund…). That said, the school  has been closed for a long time, but you can still find the buildings in the courtyard (if you, as I was, are lucky enough to find someone to open the front door). Some teaching seems to continue. Someone created a funny face in the little garden.

Once I had been to the “Académie Colarossi”, I thought I had to visit also the other famous art school in the street, the “Académie de la Grande Chaumière”. This is where I found my top picture… Yes, this is another place where you can learn painting, drawing, sculpting. (You can read "ARS"; the only explanation I find is that you can translate it by "arts" - there are old expressions, used e.g. in music like "ars antiqua", meaning old art...) This school was created in 1909 and is still there (despite some threats). Among the teachers you can mention Ossip Zadkine, Antoine Bourdelle, Othon Friesz, Fernand Léger, André Lhote… and among the students Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, Tove Jansson, Eero Saarinen, Balthus, Louise Bourgeois, Serge Gainsbourg, Amedeo Modigliani (again), Serge Poliakoff, Bror Hjort, Alberto Giacometti…

I went into another building in the street, where we know that Gauguin lived for a short while, but the place is especially known as the last living place for Amedeo Modigliani, who moved tens of times during his Paris years (some difficulties to pay the rent), but got some financial help to settle down here the last two or three years of his life. This corresponds to the time he lived with his artist colleague, model, Jeanne Hébuterne. There was some interruption for a stay in the south of France (war times – WWI). We come to the dramatic end…I quote Wikipedia: “In 1920, after not hearing from him for several days, a neighbour checked on the family and found Modigliani in bed delirious and holding onto Hébuterne. A doctor was summoned, but little could be done because Modigliani was in the final stage of his disease, tubercular meningitis. He died on January 24, 1920, at the Hôpital de la Charité.”  I couldn’t get into the studio, in the  courtyard, but walking up the stairs in the front building I got a look at what was their studio, the three top windows on the left. The photo of the couple was probably taken here. I found a site where one has tried to artificially create what their studio may have looked like. We know that Jeanne, eight months pregnant of their second child, committed suicide two days after Amedeo’s death.

I mentioned Camille Claudel and that she took lessons at the "Académie Colarosso". Her family lived very close, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, and she took a studio together with friends at no. 117 of the same street. Yes, there are tens of studios in the courtyard, but which one was Camille's?


At the end of a long corridor…

There is a long corridor which connects the Saint-Augustin station of the metro line 9 with the Saint-Lazare station (and the metro lines 3, 12, 13, 14).  At the end of the corridor there is a red mouth. It has been there since 2011 and is actually a gift by the City of Montreal, celebrating their 150 years of public transport … and thanking the RATP, the Paris public transportation organisation, for one of the famous Guimard, art nouveau, metro entrances which they were offered a few years earlier and which you can find at the Square Victoria in Montreal. The lips are designed by the Montreal artist Geneviève Cadieux.
(I have quite often written on Hector Guimard and the metro, e.g. here, here, here, here, here, here…)

These lips made me of course think of another very famous red mouth, designed by Salvador Dali. I wrote about it (see here) after a visit at the Dali museum (and mausoleum) at Figueras in Spain. There is also another, less red, mouth to be seen.

This reminds me of course also of a third version of red lips, the ones at the entrance of the famous Paris cabaret "Crazy Horse", just round the corner from where I live.    

Yesterday, my blog (now 11 years old) had its 3 million-pageview. That makes an average of about 750 per day - yesterday some 1.300... Thank you all!!!


Berthe Weill... again

Berthe Weill, honoured again, and once more thanks to my friend Marianne Le Morvan, and of course also thanks to the initiative to create a new little garden, adjacent to the Picasso Museum. People were asked to choose which name to give to this garden… and the choice was Berthe Weill. I don’t think anybody would have thought of her if it wasn’t for Marianne Le Morvan, who has made it a task to honour this lady, the gallerist who was the first to sell a Picasso in Paris, the first to sell a Matisse, who was the friend of tens and tens of artists, who was the only one to organise a Modigliani solo exhibition during his lifetime… and who never got rich. On the top picture we can see the portrait Picasso made of Berthe, a cartoon where she is in the centre of a group of painters - Chagall, Derain, Léger, Braque, Picasso… and the front page of Marianne’s book, which you can still buy here. You can also get an idea of who Berthe was by looking at my post from 2015, here.  
The inauguration of the little garden took place March 18, in the presence of the Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo. We can see Mme Hidalgo here accompanied by the Mayor of the 3rd arrondissement, Pierre Aidenbaum.

… and here we can see Marianne in discussion…

… and at last some views of the newly created little Berthe Weill Garden.


Rotating showers?

There are six fountains around the « Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées ». They have been “under renovation” for years. … and now!?!? I tried to take some nice photos, but…

Maybe we should first have a look of what has been. The fountains were created in 1863, by Adolphe Alphand, who together with Baron Haussmann was involved in the creation of the majority of the Paris parks and gardens. In the 1930’s the fountains were beautifully decorated by the famous glass designer René Lalique. Too fragile, these decorations disappeared in 1958 and were replaced by some simpler glass structures, later replaced by plastic… and finally the fountains have been “dry” for about 20 years.

These new “fountains” (or showers? - sorry) will be officially inaugurated in a couple of days, March 21, but they are already “in operation”. I use this expression because they are rotating (why?), illuminated…

You can certainly have different opinions about the aesthetic impression of these new fountains … and you may guess mine. They have been created by two brothers, Bouroullec, more specialized in furniture design? They have cost some 6 or 7 million euros (to a large part financed by sponsors) and will, as long as the mechanism still works, probably also cost a fortune in energy.  Why do our present responsible parties for culture at the Mayor’s office always want to choose something technically complicated which we have all reasons to believe – based on experience – will not last?

(At least, another controversial choice by the City... the Tulips by Jeff Koons (see previous post), will obviously - and fortunately - not be placed in front of the Paris Modern Art Museum, but probably - more or less hidden - somewhere in the gardens behind the Petit Palais, if anywhere…)

In the meantime, at the “Rond-Point” you can still admire some of the older installations.


A heart

When you approach "Porte de Clignancourt", where you can find “La Recyclerie” – see my preceding post – you will see a great rotating red heart. It’s actually a rotating sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos, a Portuguese artist, born in Paris... 

... who has won a great reputation for spectacular works – she has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Versailles castle and gardens, the Bilbao Guggenheim… - see some pictures stolen on the net.

This is part of the City of Paris’ commendable wish to decorate along the tram line (see previous posts, here, here and here). Unfortunately, as this heart, when mechanics are involved, artwork seems to be very temporary. Very few of the installations – most of them mechanical – along the first part of the tram line, from 2007, are still working and many have just disappeared.  


Ecological eating ... and drinking

“La Recyclerie” has been there for four or five years, but I visited for the first time last week – shame on me. We are at the “Porte de Clignancourt”, actually quite close to the famous Saint Ouen flea market (see my post here).

Well, actually, the building has been there since 1869, it was one of the stations along the “Petite Ceinture”, the circular railroad on which I have written several times (see here) and which was in operation until 1934. The station building was later used for different commercial activities, but the real event is when “La Recyclerie” opened. It has become a place you must visit … 

“La Recyclerie” is managed by a team, an association, of “recycling friends”, but they have some partners and one of them is actually “Veolia”, a French company with some 320.000 people employed in some 50 countries, busy in water and waste management, energy services…

So, the place has really a very ecological touch and the local motto is linked to four times the letter “R” – “Repenser”, “Réduire”, “Réparer” and “Recycler”  (rethink, reduce, repair, recycle).  

Not only the station building is concerned by the ecological concept…

… but along the rail tracks, you can find a lot of space to sit down, once the spring is really there, but, especially, you can also find hens, fish, bee hives, vegetable gardens, composting installations…

I decided to have my lunch, actually 100% vegetarian and of course prepared according to the latest ecological rules. It was good! See top picture.

(On the opposite side of the rail tracks, locals have occupied the space - with official permissions.)


... and the cleaning progresses...

About a year ago I posted about the cleaning and restoration of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church (see here). Then about half was done. Now the other “half” has just been finished. The colours are splendid, some may think almost “too much”… but soon time, dust, dirt, pollution… will do its “work” !

However, the aisles are still to be taken care of. The remarkable paintings which you normally find on the walls here are also taken away for restoration.



There is a pedestrian street, a passageway, close to the Madeleine Church, referred to as «Le Village Royal» (probably because that on one side it opens toward the Rue Royale), but the official name is actually “Cité Berryer”.

A lot of efforts are often deployed to have this place decorated in a spectacular way, especially around Christmas… Right now there is some kind of umbrella show. This umbrella idea seems to have started in the little town Agueda in Portugal, where during the summer months you can hide from the sometimes too strong sunshine… The idea has spread to many places around the world … and now it’s the turn of “Le Village Royal”.  

There have been some commercial traditions here since the middle of the 18th century, first under the name “Marché Aguesseau”, later “Cité Berryer”, but today this is not the place to buy your meat, cheese or vegetables anymore, it’s more of a place for fashion … and maybe a drink.  

Right now you can also find some sculptures by the Belgian artist Dirk De Keyser.