Friday, December 25, 2015

Boule de Noel

Angèle Malclès

I remember lying under the Chrismas tree, squeezed under fragrant branches with my brother, singing carols and gazing into the colorful ornaments from below. Ah, but I embellish; our tree was artificial in those days! The magic was there nonetheless. Our distorted faces were mostly noses in the shiny baubles - which only fueled our giggling in the giddy excitement of the season. I found a little of that shimmering joy in this very pretty Christmas ball (no nose though) and with it, I wish you a 
very merry Christmas day.

I'm in the car now. The day will soon be ended and the landscape rolls by as the car moves along toward the heather and broom of Brittany beneath a beautiful peach colored sky. I will be back soon - never meant to be away so long, but once the the blogging habit is disturbed, it's hard to get back with a firm foothold. Until then I'll be listening to Bing and seeing the family for some more feasting and toasting, reminding my husband to chop some mistletoe for the new year and generally, prolonging this lovely interlude as long as possible. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Le feu sacré

Ozias Leduc source

I had arrived at the country house on the night of Friday the 13th, where in general we dine by candle light. It had been a fairly long drive with some heavy traffic where it wasn't expected. But we were happy to arrive, light the fires and begin a peaceful weekend. We didn't know what had happened back in Paris. Then just before going to bed, my worried sister called from the US thinking we were still at the apartment.

Sometimes we know there is far too much said of tragedy in the media - classic and social - and our minutes of silence could easily be multiplied by 1000.  Yet how is it possible to speak again of art, of beauty, fabrics, decoration and other privileged preoccupations in a blog such as mine without aknowledging our mourning after the barbarous acts of terror in our beloved Paris,
in our beloved world ?

The right words lack before the gravity of this situation 
but words are the first things we have at our disposition to find unity. And because in communicating we reinforce our courage, I have borrowed these from Edmond Rostand's proud Chantecler, 

C’est la nuit qu’il est beau de croire à la lumière.
It's at night that faith in the light is admirable.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Autumn leaves me happy

photo of an unsigned painting; Le style et la matière
The season is still green, but the gold is coming along crisply. 
I went out in search of scenes like the one in my painting last week in the country... 

photo: Le style et la matière
where a sun low-hung plays among the leaves and shadows stretch out as days get shorter.

It's a time for long walks in the counryside, gathering chestnuts and mushrooms then
huddling around the fire. Simple things.

photo: Le style et la matière
I love the colors of Fall, probably more than in all the other seasons.
So glad I don't have to choose though.

photo: Le style et la matière
Toulouse -Lautrec called autumn "winter's spring."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Like a spider on the ceiling

photo: Le style et la matière

Seen in a waiting room for guided tours at the château of Versailles. 
Did that just happen - or did the designer do it on purpose? The spider is the very symbol of waiting. Happily, not one visitor was wrapped up as a meal before, during or after the tour.

Man Ray
No arachnophobe, but I'm not always completely relaxed around these creatures. 

nusch eluard par man ray
It's largely a question of their size, pilosity and proximity. 

late Victorian brooch from Pinterest

chanel brooch

monster Spider, sometimes called Maman by Louise Bourgeois
I can nonetheless appreciate what their form inspires in art 

Gallé vase Pinterest

Woodcut illustrations by GW Dijsselhoffrom

Victorian purse Pinterest

Gareth Pugh
and very definitely, their own woven art form and its imitations.

black sprite flowers
There are spider-like flowers

golden orb spider posing as a flower
and flower-like spiders.

Odilon Redon
What are you, my friend?

odilon redon
"Why, just that, your friend," she grinned.

Bruno Freire ignat
Have you seen?
There seems to be a greater appreciation

Erik Griffioen Ragno
of arachnian geometry recently -

Romain Duclos Mini Ragno

and of the intricacies

© Studio Bouroullec
lighting in the escalier Gabriel
palais de Versailles
and ingenious harmony of their webs.

Friend or foe, it's their season now. They come in to warm their legs.
Everyone tells me that a house with spiders is a healthy house.
Shouldn't we celebrate?!

Pinterest photos here

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Going somewhere, Monsieur Dufy ?

photo: Le style et la matière
Raoul Dufy Le départ pour la soirée 1935
Going out, of course. 
Half of the pleasure is in the anticipation. Getting ready, picturing the events. Not always easy after a long day at work and a full schedule with little time to change gears, let alone attire. 

photo: Le style et la matière
Présentation de mode chez Schiaparelli 1935
 But, in an ideal world , let's say it's the weekend - and you've made it there en beauté.
Just an ounce of imagination, and this scene is a dreamy foyer of a theatre filling up with lovely spectators dressed in honor of the evening, where you cross through and mingle in gentle effluves of perfume until the bell rings.

photo: Le style et la matière
Le cortège d’Orphée ou La musique

Take your places for a night at the opera - 
Orpheus could charm even a stone with his music.

photo: Le style et la matière

Boutonnière in place? 
Ladies and gentlemen, remember also that brooches are a handsome adornment.
This fabric is a jewel with its sumptuous warp dye work in the ground and the intricate play of weaves in the gold brocaded wefts like so much orfèverie. 

photo: Le style et la matière

photo: Le style et la matière
photo: Le style et la matière
Swish, swish

photo: Le style et la matière

photo: Le style et la matière
Maquettes for printed pattern, framed. 
It's all for art.

photo: Le style et la matière
of sextet of colors in a silk Lampas 

Flowers for the finale.

Can you tell I'm glad to have my opera tickets now?!
With sweaty palms, I waited for the precise minute the e-box office was to open, clicked on my date of choice in January and nothing was left. Strange and disappointing. An inside job, wouldn't you say? I chose another date, not nearly as convenient, but I managed to get my four tickets with grouped seating. Il Trovatore is for March. It's not easy to get tickets here in Paris.
On the bright side, I'll have plenty of time for anticipating the event!

I saw the exhibit: Raoul Dufy, tissus et créations at the MAM, Troyes and it is now in Carcassone until October 15.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jeans and crinolines in parc Monceau

photos: Le style et la matière
I was away in the countryside over the weekend but the weather was nice in Paris too - much sunnier than in these pictures taken two weeks ago at the parc Monceau.  

There was an air of  the 1860s afoot. Found in a flash - the idea of the promenade spectacle dear to our ancestors comes to life in the right setting! A living tableau...with some anachronisms.

source Parc Monceau

The next time I'm there, I guess I'll see Seward Johnson's bronzes inspired by Manet and  Renoir that were just installed. It is a nostalgic kind of place.

Time for play , time for reverie.
Less self-conscious moments benefit from a nice setting, too.

More about ruins and faux ruins, passing by parc Monceau, here.

Parc Monceau

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From painting to interior...and a collection

photo: Le style et la matière
Degas Deux hommes en pied 1867
Musée des beaux-arts Troyes
I saw this painting recently in Troyes. It is it's unfinished state that catches the eye.  The fantomatic figure is thought to be a young Count of  Lastours at age 18. Well, so, everything cannot be completed and the abandoned work-in-progress has its own appeal, a little mal-léché has its place in a world too pristine.

source: Christie's
watercolor by Serebriakoff 1946
The description of the Degas painting led me chez Christian Bérnard and Alexander Kochno at 36 rue Casimir Delavigne. While not quite pristine, it is a more peaceful space than I imagine in the dayly life the exhuberant artist couple. Everything fits - even if there are stocks of art works and books that have climbed aboard the very top of the bookcase -there is order in this detailed image. Work your way into  the corner of this St Germain des Près apartment
to find the unfinished painting on the easel.
Le détail qui tue.

source Le chat Masqué

(Whether the air of calm comes from Serebriakoff's style or the inhabitants' is another story. I'd always heard that Bébé Bérard, master of elegant illustration and wizard of enchanting decors, was rather unkempt!)

And, as one thing will lead to another, it so happens that this particular interior by Serebriakoff will go to auction as part of the ample and amazing Jean-Louis Remilleux collection of art and antiques at Christie's Paris at the end of the month. The television producer-historian-collector is quoted by AD as saying and some of us can't but agree, "antiques are not dead things. They have a lot to teach us about how we once lived and thought." 

Life is about choices though and Remilleux is now ready to let circulate some 1000 art objects and furnishings collected over a period of 30 years in order to go to the essential - the care of his 
château Digoine in Burgundy. 

"For more than 30 years, Jean-Louis Remilleux, both an art lover and passionate historian, selected the most beautiful pieces in France and Europe with great care. From Old Master paintings, drawings and sculpture to furniture, ceramics, bronzes and fine silver, more than 1,000 lots will be offered in a remarkable auction on 28 and 29 September. These lots boast the most prestigious European provenances, with pieces from the collections of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Charles de Besteigui to name a few.

This impressive collection was built around several themes, such as important historical figures, from Louis XIV to Napoléon, and the greatest art patrons, notably Charles de Beistegui and Madeleine Castaing. Last, but not least, the outstanding collection of equestrian paintings put together with passion includes pieces by Carle Vernet, Dreux, Delacroix and Herring."

for more see Christie's

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Heads up

photo Denis Gliksman, Inrap
The tomb of a Celtic prince dating from the 5th century BC was recently discovered in the Champagne region of France.
I haven't made any such monumental discoveries but
do seem to keep coming across interesting faces these days.

photo: Le style et la matière
Foire de Chatou

quot capita, tot sensus

"So many heads, so many opinions," said Terrence.

photo: Le style et la matière
Foire de Chatou
And Youtube says that cats will change your outlook. 
I hear that in the US, Uber  delivers kittens like call-girls or clowns to offices 
for entertainment between 12 and 4pm. Am I the only one to find that unpleasantly odd?
Cats at your service?

photo: Le style et la matière
Musée de Cluny
 A regretful monster squelched under the unrelentingly firm hold of
St Margaret's foot in a painted panel of the saint from the 13th century.

photo: Le style et la matière
Musée de Cluny
Carvings of the kings of Judah were from the facade of Notre Dame de Paris c.1220.
These statuary heads served as foundation filler for post-revolutionary construction. 

photo: Le style et la matière
Musée de Cluny
Sable from the Middle Ages;
its handsome coat aside, the marten has an expressive face.

photo: Le style et la matière
Musée de Cluny
Rock crystal lions

photo: Le style et la matière
Musée de Cluny
A child's moony face carved in
chalcedony from 2nd century Rome.

photo: Le style et la matière
Musée de Cluny
Reliquary busts

photo: Le style et la matière
The holy family c.1500 Alsace
Musée de Cluny
Tu m'as fait tourner la tête....
Gentle, dear!

And as silly as it might be, all this relative roundness has me humming
"Mon manège à moi"