Alicia Drake, the master painter of Parisian life

Alicia Drake signing her book at Hatchards, London,  in February

You know Alicia Drake‘s name from her masterful book “The Beautiful Fall“, published in 2006,  about the lives of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. It stirred so much interest from both sides of the Atlantic that she barely had time to deliver her fifth child in the middle of the turmoil of the French translation (Ed Stock). Alicia is back with a fabulous novel “I love you too much“, the best frescoe of Parisian life I have ever read. She will be signing books at Shakespeare & Company on March 6. Read More

The Montmartre Museum glitters with Van Dongen

Kees van Dongen, Portrait of Madame de Plagny or Lady with a fan, 1920

No need to go to the gym this morning, visit the Montmartre museum instead and whether you arrive by tube or by foot, you will climb hundreds of steps to get to this charming, hidden museum which used to be Renoir’s studio, as well as Suzanne Valadon and her son Maurice Utrillo’s. Until August 26, a special exhibition unveils “Van Dongen’s Bateau Lavoir” period. Born in Delfshaven in 1877, he became French in 1929 and died in Monaco in 1968. Read More

Beautiful architecture for watch straps!

At Camille Fournet Paris, the “table of senses” is 9 m 20 long and fills a space of 93 m2, ©EricMartin

It is quite extraordinary to walk into a new boutique and find oneself immediately happy. This is what good architecture does to a space. And when I heard architect, Boris Cindric explain the mixture of materials he used for the Camille Fournet shop on rue Cambon, I started feeling even more interested. Read More

Pont Aven starts its new season with a private collection

Emile Jourdan, Entrance of the river, 1926

You have all heard of Ecole de Pont Aven, in Southern Brittany, where Paul Gauguin reigned over a colony of foreign and French painters in the 1880’s and 90’s.  The little city has renovated its museum two years ago and the private collection of Alexandre Mouradian is being shown this year. The paintings are excellent and the visit will take you around one of France’s most beautiful seaside landscapes.

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Corot focuses on ladies and monks at Musée Marmottan

La Bacchante à la panthère, ca 1855-60, © Shelburne Museum

You might be slightly bored by Jean Baptitse Corot‘s well known landscapes, by his rivers bordered with poplar trees in l’Oise and around Paris. But you will be utterly surprised by his paintings of naked women, of sexy models and charming nieces. These portraits were virtually unknown in his lifetime, for he only painted his family and professional sitters whom he dressed up as Greeks or Italians.

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Richard Duqué tells all about Quai d’Orsay

Ambassador Duqué at l’Ecume des Pages

There was a snow storm outside and hundreds of Parisians were stuck on the motorway trying to get home. But this did not deter Richard Duqué‘s colleagues and friends who all rushed to the wonderful bookstore of Saint Germain des Prés, l’Ecume des Pages, to buy his Memoirs of a diplomat, “Une Vie au Quai, de la guerre froide au chaos du XXI e siècle”. It was a moment of great joy for ambassadors who had been all around the world and had not seen each other for some time. The evening was a triumph and the book is brilliant, witty and modest with numerous personal anecdotes on how the Great and Mighty do their diplomacy. Read More

René Laubiès at Galerie Alain Margaron

Unittled, 1960 is reminiscent of the sunset

René Laubiès was an ascetic. He spent winters in India where he lived in total simplicity and painted on paper. When he came back to France in the spring, he glued (maroufler) his papers on wood and they became magical paintings. Alain Margaron is a patient dealer. He collected Laubiès’ works for years in his lifetime and the artist gave him a number of paintings from his studio,  just before he died in Mangalore in complete solitude in 2006. The show in the Marais is soothing, luminous and very exciting. Read More

Exotic travelers at Quai Branly

Paul Mascart, Mounts Koghis, 1933. While he was custom officer in Noumea he painted many sceneries

The “colonies” are exhibited front stage at Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac in the show “Peintures des Lointains” (paintings of faraway countries), a group of two hundred works from its collections. Explorers, French civil servants turned painters, members of the minister of colonies, museum curators, take us through their adventures and let us discover Tahiti, Madagascar, Africa and Indochina with their stories and their drawings. They are not politically correct but they deliver images of a vanished world, painted between 1830 and 1930. Strangely enough, there are few photographs.

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