A romantic concert, a book signing and Monet’s Japanese woodblock prints…What a week!

parisdiaAuction, Books, Performing arts1 Comment

Diane de Beauvau Craon signed more than two hundred books at Galignani’s

When you receive an invitation to a concert in a “Viennese salon 1820-1830”, you worry that it won’t be genuine. But when I arrived at Mairie du 9e arrondissement and sat facing a beautiful Rosenberger 1820 piano owned by the Roman pianist Luca Montebugnoli, I suddenly realized how romantic and charming the evening would be. What I could not guess beforehand is that Benjamin d’Anfray would overwhelm the audience with his “Aufforderung zum Tanze” by Carl Maria von Weber, that Edoardo Torbianelli would glitter in Schubert’s “Klavierstücke in e flat major” and that the three pianists would have a huge success in the “Fantaisie in F minor for four hands” by Schubert which they played alternatively.

Edoardo Torbianelli, Benjamin d’Anfray and Luca Montebugnoli

Most pieces were for four hands and the third pianist turned the pages. The concert was an enterprise of friendship and collaboration between three hyper intellectual and talented performers. It was organized by Sylvie Brély, who runs “La Nouvelle Athènes” the center for Romantic pianos which only uses period instruments. A former musical evening  was organized on a square piano designed by Erard in 1804. Concerts are usually free and you are asked to contribute. They always take place in the 9 th arrondissement, the quartier called La Nouvelle Athènes which includes Musée de la Vie Romantique and adjacent streets. This is what the area was called in the 19 th century when Chopin, Liszt, George Sand and Delacroix explored new musical, visual and literary forms of art.

The 1820 Rosenberger piano with six pedals

After signing over two hundred books at Galignani’s until 9 pm, Diane de Beauvau was feted at interior designer Jean Louis Deniot‘s offices on quai d’Orsay. The whole team was there at the bookstore under Danielle Cillien Sabatier‘s attentive eye, which made the evening fabulous and the very Parisian crowd was overexcited by the prospect of reading the book which as I told you earlier, is a hilarious account of the 80’s and 90’s in New York, Paris and Tangiers.

Serge de Proutchenko with Yunes de Beauvau, Diane’s son

The wonderful discovery was to meet her charming son Yunes de Beauvau who works in fashion in London and features extensively in the book as well as Serge de Proutchenko and Alexandre Pradère her faithful friends. Minnie de Beauvau, her sister, Pierre d’Arenberg, Natasha Fraser, Christian Louboutin… were among the fun guests who all love her. Mario Tavella,  who runs Sotheby’s in Paris, was there and immediately told me how happy he was that Daniel Marchesseau‘s auction of Lalanne’s to benefit Musée d’Orsay had reached 4 M 600 000€. The money will benefit the new research center in Hotel de Mailly Nesle, which is being restored. What a generous gesture from a close friend of the Lalanne’s who is also one of our most erudite curators.

Astrid de la Forest Divonne President of Académie des Beaux Arts with Hugues Gall, director of the Monet Foundation in Giverny

The next day, Académie des Beaux arts was hosting a few guests to present the new book on Monet’s collection of 231 Japanese etchings which are among the most beautiful in the world. Claude Monet had a particular knack for selecting the best works whether he exchanged them with Japanese dealers for his own, or just had a special eye for good technique and his collection is much more interesting than that of Rodin or Van Gogh. The writer of the book, Geneviève Aitken (with Marianne Delafond), had already worked on the 1966 inventory of Monet’s etchings which were bequeathed to the Académie by Michel Monet, the painters son.  She has since discovered many more in the family and at auction. Some of them are shown in Giverny in the yellow and blue dining room but these are prints made from the digitalization of the originals which was financed by the American friends of Giverny.

Eishō Hosada, Portrait of Kokin, 1796

After Hugues Gall introduced the book with his usual charm and exceptional wit, it was very interesting to discuss this collection with the two printers, members of the Académie des Beaux Arts, Erik Desmazières and Astrid de la Forest Divonne, its President. The book (25€) is co published by Gourcuff Gradenigo and will soon be translated into Japanese. It is a true pleasure to browse through, even though Monet was not interested in erotic etchings, because it is both very scholarly (thanks to the help of Japanese specialists) and very easy to read with a wonderful account of how Japonism became fashionable in France at the end of the 19 th century… The cocktail catered by the “it”  Frédeville (from Tours) was delicious and we were all impressed by the Monet Foundation’s dynamism.

Siemen Dijkstra, Nacht valt over de Zuidlheeder Es, Night falling on Zuidlheeder Es, 2010 at Pavillon Comtesse de Caen

Across the courtyard of the Académie, Pavillon Comtesse de Caen is presenting a fabulous show of etchings by the Danish Siemen Dijkstra and the French artist Mireille Baltar who won the Prize Mario Avati. Both artists are very interesting, Baltar for the themes that she treats in a very raw way, like “Dance with the Bear”, and Dijkstra (b.1968) who was shown at the Custodia Foundation two years ago, is probably one of the most talented and precise printer of his generation. He creates astonishing landscapes with a succession of colors and the details of his fields, ferns, beaches, woods are fantastic.

Mireille Baltar, “They dance”, at Pavillon Comtesse de Caen

Until June 19, Pavillon Comtesse de Caen, Entrance is free.


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