Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Maison de Balzac, JJ Grandville

HONORÉ DE BALZAC was known for drinking endless cups of coffee while he wrote endless novels.
  'Yesterday, I worked 19 hours and today I shall have to work 20 or 22. Copy is my master, 16 or 20 pages a day are required, and I write them and correct them.Le Constitutional has exhausted my provision, and they must have more. I've not left my desk.' Passy 75016, 30 October, 1846
On Sunday I went back to visit the Maison de Balzac .Seven years to the day give or take. 'Dernier Jours'/last days (as they love to threaten on the posters in Paris) for the JJ Grandville exhibit. I was hoping to catch the metro. No way. Instead I discovered the fabulous Bus 72 that passes a multitude of top museums (Louvre, MAD, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Guimet, MOMA, Palais de Tokyo, Galieni) and runs every 8 minutes! And stops near Maison Balzac, one of The Little(r) Museums of Paris.
A facsimile of Balzac's study.
His immense head with unruly hair inspired Rodin and other artists.
One room is filled with plaster castes of the exquisite line engravings made by engraver Charles Huard of every character from Balzac's La Comédie humaine 
1000 characters in over a hundred books.
The Grandville exhibit was downstairs and quite crowded. Renown for his anthropomorphic drawings of human figures with animal heads bearing human expressions.
I love this benign lion getting his mane combed, a lap dog sits placidly. Meanwhile on the wall an engraving of a lion snatching a small child. Not so benign.
Many of his cartoons made outrageous political commentary until government censure laws were issued in 1835.
Then he moved on to book illustration and collaborated with Balzac on a number of projects.
Early days my own drawings were deeply influenced by 19th century satirical artists; Thomas Rowlandson, George Cruikshank, Grandville, Dore.
I crosshatched with a crowquill pen point and hand-colored with watercolor 19th century style. By the way, the museum has been renovated since I last visited 7 years ago. Now they have a gift shop and a branch of Rose Bakery where you can grab a healthy lunch and their famous Carrot cake. I did. Coming home on Bus 72, the route is scenic with plenty of closeup Eiffel Tower views. Hop on just for the ride across Paris if you like 👍🏻 THANK YOU❤️ PBers for your generous contributions to WIRES❤️👏 Please share PB with a friend and consider receiving Parisbreakfast in your real mailbox 📮 as well. Cheers 🐻❤️🙏🏻


  1. *&$#@ I meant to include this JJ GRANDVILLE LINK but youtube as usual substituted another ;((


  2. Bonnie L9:09 AM

    Love Paris buses...the views out the windows...the fabulous people watching! The Balzac house looks like one of the gems of Paris’ small museums. How wonderful you got to see the Grandville exhibit. Do you think that Beatrix Potter took inspiration from Grandville? Love your early crosshatch sketch! Was that your business card? Lovely!

    1. The Balzac is a hiddn gem in Passy, a little out of the way but worth the effort. Kindly all the placards are in English too.
      I don't know if B.Potter was influenced or not by Grandville. Back in Victorian days there was a lot of anthropomorphic ilustration and cartoons - an easy way to satirize politicians.

    2. The crosshatch pensketch was a full-size sheet sent out via snailmail to editorial clients...back in the day...ahem 💌 🐌

  3. Thank you for providing the Grandville link in your Comments. His cartoons are wonderful; the fishwife, the elephant firefighter with the trunk/firehose. Superbe!

    1. They truely are wonderful, witty and biting at times.

  4. Lynne C.12:18 PM

    I loved this one. Thanks

  5. Love your Maison de Balzac visit!

  6. One of the small museums still to be visited (there's always a million reasons to return to Paris) and the 72 bus looks like a great ride.

  7. I loved reading your post, I almost feel I am on an gallery tour with you, thank you.

  8. Jane Gabin3:40 PM

    Now I have to add Balzac place to my next itinerary.
    Just when I think I’m done with Paris, you give me something else!

  9. Owls Head10:55 PM

    Wonderful! I can't wait to share with Tony and my drawing teacher, Douglas. You bring so much to me through your PB blog. I can never thank you enough! xo

  10. Thanks for taking us along for your visit to the museum. I must remember bus 72. I dream of returning to Paris again someday.


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