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?


Jeanie said...

Rick and I are both Modigliani fans so I'll make sure he sees this. He needs good diversion given his frustration with his broken ankle and upcoming surgery and blood clots! This definitely goes on the "next time" list!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Peter, for always wanting to lead us to these other consecrated "Parnassus" that still exist around Paris.

Thank you also for telling us about the tragic destiny of Modigliani's last partner, Jeanne Hébuterne. I'm sorry but I cannot help - in my heart - blame that "exquisite" Hébuterne family for that poor girl's despair! Who knows what happened once Jeanne was taken to her parent's home? What did they tell her? With a 14 months old little girl and being also 8 months pregnant, whom else could she turn to?

Did you know that they refused to bring up the little Modigliani girl? She was brought up by Amadeo's parents in Italy. And, I can't believe that a neighbor had to check on the dying man and organize his taking to a hospital. Were not Jeanne's legs young enough to carry her out so she could seek help from the neighbors? So that she could take him to a hospital?

Thank you so much for this great post, Peter.

claude said...

Très intéressante publication, Peter !
Je me suis intéressée à la vie de Modigliani car il venait traîner ses bottes rue Campagne Première et contre une toile, il avait droit à un repas gratuit chez Rosalie, italienne d'origine et ancien modèle pour les peintres. Quand elle ne pu plus être modèle elle acheta une crémerie au 3 de la rue puis la transforma en restaurant.
J'ai vu ces toiles sur les murs de ce resto quand j'y suis allée avec mes grands-parents en 1967 ou 68 pour y manger un délicieux steak au poivre.
Belle journée !