A summer in Paris #2

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Dora Maar (1907-1997). I knew (of) Dora Maar only as one Picassso’s many models and mistresses. I had no idea that she was one the 30’s top photographers and artists. She was friends with Breton, Aragon, Brassaï and many others who formed the brilliant Paris art scene of the 30’s. That was before she became Picasso’s umpteenth mistress and he broke her as he broke many others. He was a great artist, but a true S.O.B. No disrespect to Picasso’s mother.

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Fashion photograph by Dora Maar (Born Henriette Theodora Markovitch). c. 1935. That expo at Pompidou shows the wide range of Dora Maar’s work, from fashion and advertising photography to painting which she took up later. See the contrast with the next photo:

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Assia by Dora Maar, 1934. Assia Granatouroff (1911-1982) was born in Ukraine in what was then the Russian Empire. After the revolution in 1917, her family left for Paris where she arrived when she was 11. One of many Russian émigrés in Paris, she found her way modelling for the best photographers, sculptors and painters of the time. Look at the difference between the dressed up lady above and the sunlit modernity of Assia. She could walk the streets of Paris today.

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Picasso, Antibes, 1939, complete with comb-over. Photo by Dora Maar.

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Portrait of Dora Maar, by Picasso. Late 30’s, early 40’s. (All rights reserved, etc. etc.) Compare with the photo of Dora Maar above.

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Went to La Défense, the relatively modern business area, west of Paris to see an Arthus-Bertrand expo. Benedetto Bufalino: “Car on a lamp post”. Seriously? Where’s the lamp?

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Françoise Hardy by Jean-Marie Périer at the Grande arche de la Défense. One of the yéyé girls, Hardy also was a favourite model for photographers in the 60’s. The metal dress (a wee bit cold in winter) is by Paco Rabanne. 1966.

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Young Maasai warrior, during the adulthood ceremony of Eunoto. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, born in 1946, is (in my opinion) the greatest French photographer alive. His work spans a wide range from Africa to portraits to “Earth from above ” which has been displayed in many countries. This particular expo, called “Legacy”, was rather good.

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Yann Arthus-Bertrand: Stanley House Duchess, a Shire Mare and her foal, presented by Mrs Hull, Lancashire. (“4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire…”). The foal may be taller than some horses or poneys I have ridden. Beyond the grace of the picture, I’m glad some people still fight to preserve those horses who worked for us for thousands of years.

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At the Café Procope, founded in 1686, I had lunch with Robespierre, the artisan of the Terror during the Revolution.

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And with Voltaire. (Not Rousseau, who was a darn idiot.) The Café Procope has been a favourite watering hole of the Paris intelligentsia from the 17th century till now. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were frequent patrons. (More on that later)

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Travelers 4. Montmartre. 2019.

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Warsaw, 1931. By Cartier-Bresson. Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) was then a young man of 23, trying to make his mark on the world. This particular expo (slightly disappointing though) focussed on his early travels in Europe, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany. 1931… Hitler was – democratically – elected in 1933. A mere 2 years later. I can’t help but think what happened to this old Rabbi and his family, ten years later in the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw.

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Taxi drivers, Berlin, 1931. By Cartier-Bresson. Who did they vote for in 1933? A thing to ponder when the non-elected Prime Minister of the UK plans to suspend Parliament so the House of Commons cannot vote on Brexit. In 2019? Suspend Parliament?! Excuse me? (Sorry. Can’t help myself.)

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Social housing, Montrouge, on the outskirts of Paris. Excellent restaurant called the Timbre-poste close by.

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Traveler 5 at the world of Banksy, Paris, 2019. I did make it to the expo. Yeeees! As in many of the topics I have touched on so far, there will be more on Banksy. They recreated many of Banksy’s works on underground walls, using stencils. The effect was… staggering. (I have a thing against the word stunning) 🙂

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The world of Banksy, Paris 2019. Or “the wolrd” as the ticket puts it.

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Gavroche (or Cosette?) in a red béret. Le Marais, 2019.

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Travellers 6. Arc de triomphe du Carrousel. Paris 2019.

Thank you for flying again Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. A pleasure to have you back on board.

A suivre… A più tardi… See you guys later. Auf wiedersehen und so weiter und so fort…

184 thoughts on “A summer in Paris #2

      • I am making light of it, as is my nature, because I’m still looking for a representative. To put it succinctly, two years in a row I paid a small sum at a conference to meet with several who listed memoir as in interest. I had six minutes with each. The first person at the 2018 conference told me that was no longer the case; memoir, ugh, and the second told me I just wasn’t ready. In 2019, the first told me that if I became a nationwide speaker on study abroad to give him a jingle, the second told me if I fictionalized my story (without having read a word of it), to drop her a line, the third I thought I connected with and she asked for the whole manuscript which I sent in March. I was dancing with joy, and haven’t heard back. Pursue? Flee? -Rebecca

      • Very interesting read. I think I might have seen something similar about parenting styles. I think that treating books like real estate, used cars, or stolen diamonds does not open a healthy dialogue between the writer and the “seller.” Trying for some humor here. : ) R

      • Couldn’t find my original comment, so I sorta missed the thread, but I agree with you. Books are – and should be – a special product not any merchandise. But I also read that in France most writers earn less than minimum wage. Those who “more or less” manage do so because they have another job in the publishing industry or media. Editor or collection director at a publishing house, or journalist, or writing columns. 🙂 Regardless I admire people like you who keep up the fight. Cheers.

    • Well, well… you’ve made my day Gigi. I have my reservations about Picasso, the art but I like it. Globally. He was important at one point. Almost destroyed Art in the process but Art has recovered. Now Bansky… Ah! Amazing. There will be more soon. Be good.

      • Agatha dearest. How was your summer? Explain? Ufff. Braque and Picasso destroyed Art as a representation with cubism. They exploded all boundaries. A bit like Derrida’s deconstruction of philosophy after the war. Picasso “deconstructed” Art. Problem is then: what next? What could anyone possibly paint after Picasso? Mondrian and others explored geometry. Once that was done, all that remained to do was Pollock throwing paint on a canvass? Afther that? Three blank canvasses at the Moma. Art was officially dead. Name any significant artists after WWII? The Museum of Modern Art is full of dead artists. And for a long time what you saw in the galleries was pure nonsense. My contention, Iphigenia dear, is that, finally, after a long while, street art is the resurrection of art. Your truly, Cuthbert-Equi. 😉

      • First of all Cuthbert-Equi! ROLF! 😂😂 See what I’ve missed by being too busy?! Lool! Secondly I love my mini art education correspondence course….and yes I know I could look it up but your tutorage (<—psst! Is that a word?!) is so clear and concise – so follows my next question. Cubism? Heard of it but how would you summarise it? Everything square shaped? Could one art period really destroy all other creativity??!!! Could that really be blamed on one or two people and not the lack of further imagination from the up and comings? Is he really the Simon Cowell of art? Never heard of Braque either. It's nice having a learn-y moment. 🤪😃

      • Haha! Art education. 🙂 Just ramblings. I do love Art and have looked at many works and artists. The deconstruction “theory” is probably accurate though. 😉
        Have a lovely week Edith.

      • Additional note. Cubism is a word coined by Max Jacob, a friend of Picasso and Braque. There are probably many definitions. I would say it’s breaking all the boundaries of a drawing, putting a profile together with the back of the head, etc. As it is cubism is an evolution. Painting in the early-mid 19th century had reached near perfection in terms of “representation”. Then came photography. Then the impressionists started to “break rules down” by representing reality by small or large strokes of paint. Picasso, Braque and the others just “exploded” all boundaries. And once a building is destroyed it may take time to rebuild. Cheers

      • “Isn’t the Prime Minister supposed to be in charge of those things?” 😀 Wait…are you suggesting that the prime minister is in charge of ANYthing? 😂

      • I thought no, until very recently. I think the media have, sometimes unconsciously maybe? drifted and lost their independence. In subtle ways. Choice of topics is one way. Check for what is not said.

      • Not sure there is anything unconscious about it Harold if you look at Fox News for example or indeed any left leaning media. In the UK it is the same. Reporting plain facts… and even the truth…has become a unique selling point.

        Then when you feed propaganda tosh to lazy, badly educated or often low paid-rushed-off-their-tired-feet minds (a cocktail that is also not a coincidence) ….hallo the mess and distress that is 2019.

      • I have shut off the news entirely. TV a long time ago (And Fox never!) Stopped reading Mexcian newspapers a while back too. Too depressing. I was only reading French on-line news and that is gone too. 🙂
        I have doubts about the “white trash-badly educated” explanation of Trump et al. I don’t think 50% of Americans are “white trash”. I suspect many College educated have – and will – vote(d) for him. Likewise I surmise on Brexit. Or tomorrow in France if Macon keeps screwing up, Le Pen will elected, and not by just white trash. Unfortunately.
        And yes, 2019 is a bloody mess. Almost worldwide.

      • Bad or insufficient education is by no means just found in the realm of the stereotypical ‘white trash’ though Cyril. Trump is hiding his SAT’s for a reason and I would suggest that most of the current UK government would struggle to pass the most basic general knowledge test going by current performance. – And I wish I was joking.

      • SAT? Did he actually pass them? Or did he buy them as he did his tax records
        In the UK, I always get mixed up between A levels and O levels? O levels are for High School, right? They probably failed too. Too much caning in those “public schools”.
        And yes, I wish you were joking. Sigh.

      • I’d answer but tell me this, high school is secondary school right? Loool! Too many names and levels for the same thing. 😀

        In any case whatever they are called, they can indeed be easily purchased from a private school or top rated college near you for the price of a new tennis court!

      • Hmmm. Wasn’t there an American actress that got convicted (14 days! Very harsh and sever punishment) for bribing her son’s way into a particular school? (Haven’t heard of the receiving end. Probably in Gu*nt*n*mo by now. The stars are to confuse the various intelligence agencies monitoring our conversation, dear Rebecca.

      • BTB, loved your post. Couldn’t find the comments section, but allow me to say that most of those kids survived. When our eldest daughter was born, the Doctor found my wife a bit anemic and prescribed a bottle of red wine. 🙂 He would now be disbarred I guess. (Oh. That’s only for lawyers?) Anyway, thanks for the post. lotsa fun.

  1. So much to take in… but somehow I’m stuck at Françoise Hardy. Knew about her, forgot about her, got her back from you now. Such a beauty. And she could sing!
    Gotta go now, I have a time machine to build… 🙂

      • Yes, there’s a link.
        No, no fleas (thankfully).
        The name Christopher Reeve should be enough to hint to a good movie. Although he’s not Superman here but a mere… time traveler. 😉

      • Backwards within our memories, yes. But not really backwards in time, like, physically.
        Oh and I love sci-fi, especially time-travel. Maybe because I always thought I was born in the wrong century. 🙂

      • Haha! We do agree on many things. Others probably not, but it’s all right. I’d somewhat given up on SF feeling that it had not held up its promise. But I’m going back to it now, as I realize the world is becoming dystopic and some SF writers may have had clues to understand. That is obvious of Frank Herbert’d Dune. Currently (re)reading the Dorsai cycle by Gordon R. Dickson.

      • To me, sci-fi was a refuge from a grey dull world. There used to be positive sci-fi but lately it seems everything converges to dark dystopia.

        Long time ago I watched a version of ‘Dune’ on TV, and promised myself I’ll search for it later on but never got around to. Can’t remember the ‘Dorsai’, probably haven’t read it when I could still read. Now I can only afford to watch movies – reading is too hard on my bad eyes.

      • Sorry to hear about your eyes. Is there nothing you do? I will probably have to be operated for cataracts sooner or later, but I understand it works well.
        Now the Scifi I read is old stuff. 60’s to 80’s at the most.

      • Thanks. C’est la vie. I try to stay away from the medical system. Once they catch you they won’t let go. I do wear glasses (from the flea market) for close distance, but they put too much strain on the eyes after a while even when reading the notebook screen at a decent distance. Reading books would do much worse.

        I used to read sci-fi as a child but we didn’t have too many choices back then. I do remember Asimov but that’s all, I was too little and my memory is bad, as you know.
        Later on I switched to movies and that was it.

      • You’re right, but flea (!) market glasses? You sound just like my brother. 😉 Bad glasses can be worse. Trust me I’ve worn glasses since I was 14. Eyes are too important to take lightly. I do – respectfully – suggest you go see an ophtalmologist. You may have cataracts and don’t know it… Think about it. 😉
        (Asimov was a good reference)

      • I may have too many “defects” to start caring (and wasting money I don’t have) now. Plus a friend of mine just told me yesterday that he recently had a cataracts surgery and now his vision is worst than before. I’d rather not take chances.

      • Well, we live in different worlds, there’s a truckload of surgeons with different range of skills, and there’s good or bad luck governing the individual undergoing the surgery. So everything goes… and then rien ne va plus.

        I’m glad your brother got everything right. Hopefully you will too if/when time comes.

  2. I think Picasso did a good job with his portrait of Dora Maar. The contemplativeness of her eyes and mouth. I wonder what the taxi drivers must have thought of the puppy young French brat with his camera. Is the red béret gal Dora Maar revisited? 🙂 Great post!

    • Dankje wel. 🙂 As a matter of fact the portrait of Dora Maar (he made several) had long been one of my favourite Picasso works. I’m glad this expo completed a huge part of the story. She was a very interesting woman.
      And yes, the Berlin taxi drivers must have wondered who that brat was. Tot ziens.

  3. These (with Paris #1) are gorgeous love letter to the rich diversity of Paris, thank you. I also had no idea about Dora Maar beyond her connection to Picasso – how we continue to connect women to the men they are with…

    • Hi Libre. You’re right. My Paris posts are love letters to Paris. (Despite my chagrin at the sorry state the city can be in places). And yes, you’ve touched the very point. Dora Maar was a full blown artist before she met Picasso. And he basically destroyed her. Made her stop photography where she was very good to take up painting where he was the master… Then dumped her.
      Hope all is well with you? And that the summer in Lancashire was pleasant. (Thought of you when I saw Arthus-Bertrand’s photograph). Cheers.

  4. Dora Maar was a great photographer. Thanks for sharing those photos. As for the street photo, I wonder if the car windows light up like a lamp at night! That would be cool, Rebecca

      • No significance of any kind, historic or otherwise. Just a twisted conception of art by politicos. Or maybe the artist is a relation or a friend of somebody? Meanwhile Paris streets are filthy… And not much money spent on that. 😉

      • Just the way it is. I live in one of the most corrupt continents on earth. But still, though things are not as bad there, I have hear enough testimonials of covert corruption in France to last me for a lifetime. Likewise in the US. Why do you think politicos always run for office? Money. Have you ever seen a “poor” US Senator?

      • Nope, and these days a large portion of them are millionaires. I recently opined that there should be some new qualifications for both members of Congress and the president, one of which being that they cannot have a net worth that exceeds $1 million. I would have liked to say $50,000, but I would be laughed off the planet. Another was that each be required to spend one week every year living either in low income housing with only the amount of cash low income people would have to survive, or else in a homeless shelter. These idiots have never had to budget, never had to choose between buying food, paying the rent, or keeping the electricity on. Sigh. ‘Tis the same ’round the globe, I expect.

      • ‘Tis the same. Sadly. An interesting proposal about the low income housing. I would put it a month. And of course use public transportation. (I thought something similar to those western politicians in favour of Maduro or others. Spend a month in Caracas. In a popular neighbourhood. I would pay for their plane ticket) 🙂

  5. I love the artwork … although Picasso never really was my thing …

    But the shock: is it constitutionally possible in Britain that the Prime Minister suspends Parliament? Or is this just one of his crazy ideas?

    • The English don’t have a Constitution. Of of their many singularities. There might be Magna carta dating to the Middle Ages, but that’s about it. Noww it all boils down to a few options: 1) will Corbyn show some b*alls, which he hasn’t in his long career. 2) Will the Queen flatly refuse to condone suspension? Not very likely. 3) Will the Brits march en masse in the streets asking for Johnson’s resignation? They haven’t done or said much since the Brexit thing started. So, if nothing is done, the oldest parliament in the world will be suspended (giving ideas to others) and a de facto dictatorship will be established in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland… 😦

      • I think in the countries with a constitution, this would only be possible under the emergency act, which means in times of war or when the country faces extreme threats by terrorism or other threats to the security of the country … I don’t think that a situation like the present one in Britain would count as such.

      • In the French Constitution, the president can dissolve the House. Not the Senate. And call for anticipated elections. But once the New House is elected, the President cannot under any circumstance dissolve the House again until the end of the Legislature. 5 years. A safe precaution. In the case of Britain this is just an abuse of power.

      • Our summer is around the corner.We had winter now and spring is in the air! Our winter was very mild with maybe one or two grey days and otherwise sunny.That is why winter in Johanneburg is so fantastic.

      • That’s right. I keep forgetting. You like the Aussies, or Argentina or Brazil are “the other way round”. And I’m sure it’s one of the benefits of living in SA. The weather. Did you manage to go out in the bush? Now thinking of it, in East Africa, birth season for game was around Spring. March-April. How is it in SA? September October?

      • Some comments have indeed been lost in WP. Darn. November. In line with the rainy season. Makes perfect sense. In Kenya, births are also aligned with the start of the rainy season. Or were. With all the climate change who knows. Wonderful! It’s always very exciting to go to the bush in that season. Even Hyena cubs – which I once saw – are cute. Tot ziens Sis. 😉

      • I may have replied to this. It seems my WP inbox has exploded. Don’t know why, for some time now, they’ve put a limit to the number of comments. And I had a lot yesterday. 🙂 Enjoy Spring.

    • Glad you did. I knew this photograph of course. It’s a classic. And there it was, large scale on a wall. Click. Now I thought the dress was by Courrèges. Always do research to confirm. Paco Rabanne was a master too.

      • I will trust you blindly with your background. 🙂 (Though I will have to refresh my memory about the go-go boot) Done. My mother had a pair or two. I also recall Courrèges being very pop- or op-art. (Days long gone) Thanks for the memory.

      • She dressed very Carnaby street in the 60’s. Even drove a Triumph TR3 at breakneck speed. I’ve posted some photos of her in older posts. (No idea which) I’ll try to dig them again and re-post. When we lived in Pakistan, she would design and draw her own cocktail dresses, take that to the Indian tailor with silk she’d bought in the Bazaar and voilà. Will dig some of those photos again too.

  6. People who love horses become a history. Horses are badly abused in Ireland. I have witnessed this myself more than once.
    Thank you for sharing this splendid photography – both yours and the “old masters’ “. Paris has been a ‘birth place’ of so many great artists.

    • How sad to hear that of horses in Ireland. I would never have thought that.
      My photography is a mere entertainment. But I like to have a look at the old masters. One always learns something. Cheers

  7. Banksy’s rats could be found all around our neighbourhood in London. There was one that made me smile every day when I passed it, a rat holding a placard that simply said, “Go Back to Bed”. Very tempting some days. Love those Shire horses, magnificent creatures.

    • Love the concept of “go back to bed”, there was one in the expo that said “I’m just out of bed…” can’t remember whether I posted it already…
      Never seen a Shire horse, but they reminded me of Percherons, Boulonnais and the like. I remember, as a child in Normandy seeing the last farm horses put to pasture in retirement, as tractors took over. Magnificent indeeed.

      • The just out of bed rat was what prompted the memory of another rat, in another city. My all time favourite, was a group of rats painted on the Embankment opposite the Houses of Parliament. They were all carrying rocket launchers and guns – modern-day Guy Fawkes! I walked past one day and the council was power hosing them off the wall before they could finish the job!

      • The powers-that-be don’t take criticism lightly do they? Since I have shut down the news almost completely, has Bojo managed to suspend the oldest Parliament of the “Free world”? (Toujours la tyrannie a d’heureuses prémices”. Brittanicus, Racine)

      • Parliament is officially deceased. Fortunately a court in Scotland declared it unlawful today, the same day the governments own report into the consequences of a no deal Brexit was made public. Predictions include: rising food and fuel prices, disruption to medicine supplies and public disorder. So something to look forward to … I don’t blame you for ‘tuning out’ of the news cycle.

      • I think I will stay tuned out. I see only two solutions. Either the British people takes to the streets peacefully. Or the Queen steps out and delivers her speech. Since none is likely to happen… Cordelia will have died in vain. (Just read or re-read King Lear)

      • Never tell, never confess.
        No, I was in Cuernavaca, outside Mexico city, rented a house with the family for Holy week. An E-friend form California whatsapped me. Saw a bit on Internet then shut it off. Unbearable. Then the good news finally arrived that the fire was under control. And I can confirm form my visit in July-August, that a) they are working seriously on repairs and b) it was a very close call. Very close. 10-20 minutes more of fire, and it would have collapsed.

  8. I’d heard of Dora, seen the portraits done by Picasso, but this is the first time I’ve seen photos of her. Lovely. So tragic that she was one of Picasso’s broken ones. What an absolute monster he was. What kind of a man takes pleasure in breaking a woman’s spirit?

    • Unfortunately, many do so. Entire cultures are actually based on that. 😦
      Read quite a bit about mr. P. this summer. Not a very nice man. Good news is: at least one of his “mistresses” escaped him totally: Françoise Gillot. And she is still alive and kicking at 90+. Hurray.

  9. Wonderful photos, wonderful article!
    Picasso had many brilliant insights (obviously he also had many mistakes in his life, genius is not guaranteed, nor absolute at anyone)…
    He had complicated relationships with many of the women in his life—he either revered them or abused them, and typically carried on romantic relationships with several women at the same time…(there is always a balance, between good and bad … between brilliant and corrupt ….)
    🙂 Have a good day! D.

    • Thank you. Glad you liked it. Yes, I’ve learned a lot about Picasso this summer.
      Your mentioning Balance is important. Taking Picasso as a sample of one. His personal relationships do not interfere with the art he left us. And I also understand he had very strong friendships. Balance? The problem is when the balance is broken. And I think it is what we are witnessing in the world now. A major rupture of Balance. Hmmm. Food for thought. Thank you. 🙂

      • I understand very well what you mean, … we live interesting circumstances … I do not like either … but what is life without the ability to make mediocre decisions? 🙂

      • Haha! That is very good. Though I’d rather try to avoid it. 😉 Particularly don’t like when others (e.g. politicians) make mediocre decisions that affect me. 🙂
        Multumesc for the comments and analysis.

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