Monday, August 30, 2010

The attraction of Things

Delacroix Coin de l'atelier, le poêle  Musée du Louvre

Je crois que le plus grand attrait des choses est dans le souvenir qu'elles réveillent dans le cœur ou dans l'esprit, mais surtout dans le cœur....Le regret du temps ecoulé, le charme des jeunes années, la fraicheur des premières impressions agissent plus sur moi que le spectacle meme.

I believe that the greatest attraction of things is the memory they awaken in the heart or in the mind, but especially in the heart....the regret of times past, the charm of youthful years, the freshness of first impressions affect me more than the spectacle of life itself.

Delacroix Journal I

image source: lemondedesarts

Mr Design

the Paris waxworks.

I hadn't seen such a sight since I was a little girl holding tight to her big brother's hand in the New Orleans Musée Conti. My memories are heavy with History and Horror - often one and the same, but there were also contemporary celebrities.
There is no Hall of Horrors in the Musée Grévin, but it doesn't take childish imagination anymore to believe the statues could start moving around. What's eerie is the incredible realism that is now achieved. The statues are highly refined with glistening eyes, gleeming teeth, pores and apparent veins. One even had a wart on its knee.

And surprise, Philippe Starck
 has taken up residence in the museum since 15th of June!
Standing behind his famous "Louis Ghost," his likeness is all the more authentic as it is dressed with his own clothes: Agnès B  made-to-measure leather pants, blouson S+ARCK with Ballantyne, personal gloves and boots S+ARCK PUMA.

A  first for design at the wax museum.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


passage L'Isle sur la Sorgue

Bull racing Arles

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Portes de Provence

Il n'y a rien de plus beau qu'une clef, tant qu'on ne sait pas ce qu'elle ouvre.
There is nothing more beautiful than a key, as long as we do not know what it opens.

Maurice Maeterlinck Aglavaine et Sélysette


Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer's last gasp

Le Charivari 1865

Nous passerons le reste de l'été a la campagne et nous habiterons ici sous la crinoline.
We'll spend the rest of summer in the countyside and we'll live here 'neath the crinoline.

Final frolics while the weather permits.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Vincent Van Gogh Fauteuil de Gauguin Amsterdam

When I was at the Musée Estrine in St Rémy de Provence, one of my favorite themes and hobbyhorse of late, came trotting back with the presentation of these two familiar subjects painted by Vincent van Gogh. The chairs were described as a diptych calling to mind and symbolizing the people who used them and so demonstrate quite nicely the overflow of the animate to the inanimate that we feel at times.

Vincent's own chair,  British Museum London

Vincent van Gogh, you may know, spent several years in St Rémy, some of them 1889-90 in the sanitarium of  St Paul de Mausole. The museum, which calls itself a 'center of interpretation' for the works of Van Gogh, explains that the artist must have been aware of the popular metaphor which has it that an empty chair symbolizes its owner.

The Empty Chair by Sir Samuel Fildes

It's not surprising that Vincent would have used the chairs in this way to represent himself and his friend Gauguin. Searching further, I  found  it interesting that Van Gogh was in posession of a copy of this Fildes' engraving which represents Charles Dickens. Fildes was busy working on illustrations for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, when Dickens died suddenly. Struck by aura of his study when visiting  the author's bereft family, he recorded it as a watercolor, often reproduced through engraving as here.

A stand-in.

sources: L'Ocre Bleu,Victorian Web

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Croque la vie

Dear Readers, do I dare write to you, when I've been absent for so long? Coming back to tend my garden here, I wonder if it will be overgrown and wild with weeds -- difficult to enter. Will tender plants grow here again? I always hope to write while away- why, other people do it! -- but it doesn’t seem to work out for me and my family life (with the exception of that last post - a miracle!). When will I learn?! C'est comme ça. 

A fine thing to write about style and various aesthetic concerns with brimming baskets of laundry to iron a few feet away and an invasion of Things waiting to be put away.  Straw hats and baseball caps, pretty pebbles, bunches of lavender, and other more curious dried flora nuzzle travel brochures and exhibit catalogues, piles of books and sundry souvenirs, all of it taking on an expansionist attitude as it conquers the dining room table top, sliding little by little into a teetering tower of unread mail. Should I mention the thick coat of dust that cheers up the atmosphere? Why don’t we drape the furniture with sheets any more?

Dare I write when my house is still a shambles from all the various comings and goings, packing and unpacking of the summer season's trips?
I DO! With hopes of sharing once more with some of you…

1935 Peugeot ad illustration by Girard

Some sights cleanse the mind suddenly like a whoosh of fresh air - after making it through the heavy traffic jams on that grand route leading south, that is.

It was time that I learned that 'colorado' meant red rock.

Warm tones of ocher

have a way of spilling over into everything around.

From saffron, to rust and on to violet.


Though we take a short cut and speak of ocher as one color,

 these mineral oxides form a wide, warm range of tints whose properties as a pigment are highly appreciated because unaltered by light and weather wear. Just as important, they seem steeped in sunshine and douceur de vivre. 

Pretty stucco grapes grace this façade -- click to enlarge!

Now here's some good advice: croque la vie -- take a bite out of life !
Living life to the fullest is easier said than done, but it can mean getting away from the computer
from time to time.