Belle Greene, Alexandra Lapierre’s new character is a true marvel

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Theodore C. Marceau, Belle da Costa Greene, 1911, © Biblioteca Berenson, I Tatti-The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies

Everything close to the heart of Alexandra Lapierre seems to be in this new novel: America, books, exceptional women and love. And zooming through the 500 page biographical novel which she devotes to Belle Greene, the founder of the Morgan Library, is a shared adventure. Born in a metis family, the daughter of Richard Theodore Greener and Geneviève Fleet, Belle chooses to be white at a time when, to be white or colored meant succeeding or failing in life. When the 1865 Civil rights law was revised, a “black” girl could not take the same train as a “white” one. And she could certainly not succeed professionally. Belle changed her name and that of her whole family, when her father became consul general in Vladivostok and abandoned them all.  He had been the first “black” man to graduate from Harvard in 1870. All her life she will have to keep the secret.Read More

Thomas Ruff is back in Paris after 15 years and more…

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Justine Durrett, Director of the David Zwirner gallery in Paris

I have always admired Thomas Ruff’s portraits in Düsseldorf and it is wonderful to see him back in Paris, where he had not exhibited since 2006. The new show at David Zwirner is devoted to “Chinese paintings”, and the “grammar of photography”. Using well known images of Mao Zedong’s propaganda campaigns, which became famous in the West thanks to artists such as Andy Warhol or Erro, he deconstructs them pixel by pixel.  Some of  these pictures are exhibited simultaneously in Düsseldorf, at K20-Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Wesfalen. Later in March, more of his works will be shown at the National Taiwan Museum.

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A Fish pie by Jackie Budin

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I added salmon and shrimps and peas for the color. This is before the béchamel and mash potatoes are included

It is a mistake to think that British food is not delicious. One of the best sellers of Parisdiary’s recipes is Coronation chicken which has become the trend in Provence all summer long. I was recently talking to Jackie Budin, an old colleague from Vogue Hommes who has the best fashion eye I know, and who won a César Prize in 2004 for best costume for “Pas sur la Bouche”, the film she worked on with Alain Resnais and Sabine Azema. She was proudly telling me she had received THE vaccine the day before in her little village of Mickleton, Gloucestershire, and then she said she would cook a fish pie. Thus the recipe which I tried to replicate. And it works!

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Romainville, a communist town turned center for contemporary art

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Ludovic Nino, a graduate of Ecole des Beaux Arts in front of “A chimeric instant” a large ink drawing at Galerie Jeune Création

I am sure that very few of you have heard of Romainville, a town of 28 000 inhabitants just north of Pantin. Its castle used to belong to Maréchal de Ségur in 1723 when only 400 people lived there. It is now, after thirty years of communist and socialist management, an upcoming capital of contemporary art with soon six galleries which have emigrated from Paris. It is the seat of Fondation Fiminco which rehabilitated the former Roussel Uclaf labs, it holds the reserves of FRAC Ile de France which will open February 6, and Parsons School of Design since 2019. Air de Paris, In Situ-Fabienne Leclerc, Galerie Sator and Galerie Jocelyn Wolff were having an opening last Sunday and there was an ambiance of resurrection under the blue sky and beautiful sun. Some of the shows were pretty mediocre but I fell for two artists, Chilean painter Santiago de Paoli at Wolff and a young Martinican graduate from Ecole des Beaux Arts, Ludovic Nino.Read More

At galerie de Vazieux, Chinese and Korean artists are plenty

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Nachtsfischen II, (fishing at night) 2018

Sabine Vazieux has been around for many years and yet I had never stepped into her gallery of 5 bis rue du Louvre. She specializes in figurative Chinese and Korean artists, who follow in the steps of the great Zao Wou Ki. At the moment she shows “Immensity” by Rao Fu, a 42 year old painter from Beijing who lives in Dresden. The colors and fulgurance of his style won me over. She also has paintings by Korean painter Youn-Sé Lee and ceramist Myung-Joo Kim.Read More

Radish tops make great soup too!

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Radish tops are delicious once they are cooked

I love radishes pink or black, round or long, for their crusty bite and their bitter taste. And also for the bread and butter that you need to eat with them! But I am always sad to throw away the tops (fane in French) especially when they are fresh and pretty. So last night I decided to boil them with a potato and made a delicious soup for two. Read More

“La Familia Grande”, a social study

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Camille Kouchner, the author

At the time of the Georgia vote, a very Parisian scandal is agitating Saint Germain des Prés’s society. The publication of “La Familia Grande” a book by Camille Kouchner describing the dysfunctional habits of one of the most prominent families of intellectual Paris. In Washington, the mob invades The Capitol, in Paris the daughter of former Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and a law professor herself, describes how the very respected Constitutional law professor Olivier Duhamel, a chouchou of the medias, was playing with her twin brother, Victor, when he was 14. Another sex abuse scandal, exactly a year after Vanessa Springora’s book  “The Consent” describing her relationship with writer Gabriel Matzneff. (Published by HarperVia in February 2021)Read More

Happy New Year 2021

parisdiaHappy moments7 Comments

A friend from Texas sent me this picture and I can’t resist sharing it. Sorry if you have already received it.

First let me thank you for all the messages that you sent over the phone, by email and post, mentioning Tuesday morning as being very special in your lives. This is the 6 th anniversary of Parisdiary which started on January 20, 2015!  YOU make me happy when you read it and I feel that I have fulfilled my desire to share with all of you my love of Paris. This New Year, is marked by one particularly sad news, that of Brexit being final. But it will not affect in any way our friendships with the Brits and I hope that even though Erasmus, the common European student program will not involve Britain any more, the young will keep befriending each other over the borders. Ironically, English remains the official language used in Europe and while Michel Barnier, nicknamed “the most dangerous man in Europe” by the Daily Telegraph in 2010, spoke of a loose-loose deal (perdant-perdant), we are all relieved that some sort of agreement was signed.Read More