Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Picasso at the Lapin Agile – coincidence strikes again


This morning I saw the new Woody Allen film, Magic in the Moonlight, which, incidentally is well worth seeing. The main character, played by imgres-3Colin Firth, is described as a man of reason who has no time for there being a supreme mind which decides what happens to us and explain how strange things happen, it’s just coincidence, as he states at one point in the film. When reading the book my last post was about, on the rise to Prime Minister of Australia of Bob Hawke, which featured the previous Labor Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, as the start of the narrative. Whilst reading the book Mr Whitlam died.

Three years ago I played a part in the Steve Martin play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile for imgres-4the Council of Europe linked, Tagora theatre group. It is set in Paris in 1904 and wonders what might have happened had Picasso and Einstein met at a bar in Paris, the Lapin Agile, and talked Physics and Art whilst trying to bed an attractive woman. Picasso is also supposed to be stuck in his blue period and a traveller from the future (in the guise of Elvis Presley just before images-4he went into the army) visits the bar and helps Picasso see the future, more specifically . Incidentally, having reached middle age most male friends have at one time or another had a phase of copying Elvis, usually they do the later years white jumpsuit period, I got to do an Elvis copycat act, on stage and when he was still good looking!

I wrote here about being in Leeds for the summer working. One of the dangers being back in the UK holds for me is that I have ready and easy access to newspapers, more exactly, the weekend newspapers with reviews of books. I know I could access the same things over the internet from here in France, but I don’t I only read the physical product. Reading the reviews leads me to buy books I otherwise wouldn’t have bought. My interest in the period Picasso was in Paris at the start of the last century, ignited by being in the play above,  meant that when I saw a review for the book, “9781905490868In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris 1900 – 1910” I just knew I had to read it. The argument put forward by the book is that it was the first 10 years of the 20th Century where modernism developed rather than in the jazz influenced 1920’s which the book says is when modernism is traditionally claimed to have started. I have written previously about an interest in Modern Art and from what I have learnt from my trips to galleries this year, it is certainly before the first world war that Mondrian’s and Malevich’s ideas and style had been formed before the first world war.

So I’ve just started reading the book and there’s another coincidence. The Picasso museum (They’re French they put it round the other way) in Paris reopens after being shut for five years. Four years ago I visited Paris en passant to a visit to Bristol as I wrote about here. The Picasso museum was mentioned as one of the things to visit in the Marais area of Paris. But I couldn’t visit it. I could, however, visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales in November 2011, when on a visit to Australia, where there was a fantastic exhibition “Picasso masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” where I got the hideously expensive coffee table top book as programme and fridge magnet.(Incidentally I only took it out of it’s plastic shrink wrap to find out the details for this post.)

Two books, two coincidences. which might of itself be something of a coincidence. What am I going to read next and will anything coincidental happen? Watch this space.

Parisian walks


Yesterday, Monday, I returned from a weekend away.  On Friday we caught the TGV to Paris.  We had a few hours to kill before a flight to Bristol which was the destination for the weekend and at the suggestion of Mr London Street we took the Metro from Gare de l’Est to Place de la Bastille.  The famous prison is no longer there having been demolished after the revolution.  A short walk took us to the Place des Vosges a quite stunning square that the French seem to do so well with an equestrian statue of Louis XIII in the middle.  Around the square were homes built intentionally for bourgeois people that, being designed and built at the same time, had a wonderful unity and coherence.  In one corner was the house lived in by Victor Hugo and in another corner was the residence of Cardinal Richelieu before he moved to the Palais-Royal.  We left the park and walked down the main street of the Marais area, Rue des Franc Bourgeois, whose medieval name refers to the Almshouses built in the 14th century for the non tax-paying citizens or francs bourgeois.  The street is lined with 17th century mansions, most of which have been renovated and seem to be in the ownership of the Mayor of Paris, and interesting but largely expensive boutiques and restaurants.  Unfortunately the restaurant I’d been guided to was full so we ate in a restaurant in the Place des Vosges that served really nice food but was a bit expensive.  After lunch we passed some time in a cafe watching the people going by, in the Marais the beautiful, expensively turned out people before heading to the Gare du Nord to get the RER to Aeroport-Charles de Gaulle.

UPDATE:  WHilst looking through my photos and writing about our second visit to Paris I cam across this picture I took whilst we were in the Marais, which I liked when I saw it – even before taking it, and I could not understand why I had not included it here to give more idea and colour for the area so here it is.

%d bloggers like this: