Friday, July 29, 2016

Fashion Forward, Jacques Callot, Paris Tomato Letter

This week I've been painting and drawing like mad. My print shop had the nerve to close for vacation last Saturday so all Paris maps and Paris letters are done and even shipped out! Hooray. In August tomatoes always catch my fancy. I tucked into the envelopes a flyer from the musee des arts decoratifs for the 'Fashion Forward' exhibit with the perfect tomato red dress on the cover.

On Wednesday I dropped into the Louvre's Department of Grafiques to gaze at miniature drawings of Jacques Callot (1592-1635). I'm a long-time fan of his fluid lines so it was pretty thrilling to see them in the flesh. I only got through about 100 drawings of the 1600 in the collection. The more I looked at them, the more they seemed like perfect fashion illustrations.

If only I'd had the appropriate costume to wear whilst viewing.

Surely one of these elaborate waistcoats would have done nicely from the exhibit at Musee des Arts Decorativs

300 pieces of men's, women's and children's wear are on display from the museum's collection. Note the mariner's blue stripes...always a French favorite.

More stripes.

The background wallpapers and tapestries in these intimate tableaux are just as stunning as the garments.

Accessories are included. You must have a fan when it gets hot in Paris. There isn't much relief from the heat other than standing in front of the yogurt case at Monoprix or a trip to the movies.

Even 19th century paper dolls are displayed.

I loved the mirrored floor reflecting the evening striped gown.

Even some Barbies have crossed over from the exhibit in the opposite space.

Just when you're thinking 17th through 19th century clothing is far more elaborate then contemporary wear.

You are led into a huge display that proves that thinking is so wrong.

Fabulous gowns

Elaborate embroidaries
Historic silhouettes.

You can wander fore and aft so no back view is missed on these creations.

At last the tomato red dress from Comme des garçons. Forever outrageous. A work of art even if she does look like a tomato.

The gift shop is always a don't-miss at musee des Arts Decoratifs. Not everything is pricey either. This drinks pitcher tempted me (17,50€). I ran off to the pool to reflect. Fortunately they have cold showers to halt impluse shopping.
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Sorollas lost and found hat and Paris Plages

First please take a look at French marché queen, Marjorie William's story on Paris Breakfast. Check out Paris Plage for beachy details. And def play DJ Teddy J's essential background beach music while you're reading.

I couldn't help noticing how Sorolla loved his summer straw hats.

He mostly lived and painted in Valencia, 30 minutes from the beach.

He uses hats (mostly straw FYI) to focus on his subject's face by losing the edges like here. Try squinting and the hat disappears. Other times he contrasts the hat's edges(known as 'found' edges in painter's 🎨 lingo).

I tried my hand at it after a sunny visit to Paris Plages along the Seine yesterday. I need to do a few hundred more before I get even close. Fortunately I've got August to work on them.

You had to squint it was so bright yesterday yet the temperatures were perfect, in the 80s.

A whole variety of seating arrangements and sun umbrellas

These girls were in a book-lending area provided by publisher Flammarion, except they were reading email..

Free sparkling and flat water provided. BYO bottles svp.

In a Sorolla sketch beach people were well-covered up.

Unlike Parisians yesterday

Sorolla in this photo is wearing a lost-and-found straw hat

Another 'lost' hat makes the red dress 'pop'. Squint and you'll see it.

If only one could take a dip. They say by 2020 the Seine will be cleaned-up enough. Hmm..🙄
Of couse one must have thes obligatory ice cream mustn't one, here provided by Pozzetto.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sorolla and the Paris years - Musee l'Impressionnismes Giverny

Last Wednesday I attended a press preview of Sorolla and the Paris years at Musee des l'Impressionnismes, Giverny. Its an absolute joy to behold. Something we all need a bit of now.

Pure light and beauty

Do  you know Joquin Sorolla's works? A masterful painter, often called the Spanish 'impressionist'. A quote from La Prensa, Buenos Aires 1923,"Sorolla's brush was a beam of solar threads that left no opaque matter on the canvas, but only pure radiations. Sorolla painted the unpaintable."

Large format paintings take up entire walls.

An exhibit of 100 paintings, many from Madrid, 4 coming from Cuba.

Sorolla (1863-1923) was a contemporary and friend of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). 

Their subject matter were often similar as was their virtuosic brushwork.

As a student Sorolla copied at least 15 works by Velazquez in Madrid. His work was a constant source of inspiration throughout his life.

His blacks

And his whites have incredible depth

Take time to look at the small details painted with such bravura.
"With all its excesses, the modern impressionistic movement has given us one discovery, the color violet. It is the only discovery of importance in the art world since Velazquez." 

Its recorded Sorolla painted quickly and directly from his subject, often completing large, complex paintings in just 4 days.
"I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly. Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.”
"As far as outdoor work is concerned, a studio is only a garage; a place in which to store pictures and repair them, never a place in which to paint them."

His home and atelier in Madrid is now a museum. I'd love to visit.

A room entirely devoted to Sorolla's small oil sketches, 50 of them.

Painted on card or wood as possible reference for future works

A Paris view painted during his student days as a struggling young artist

If you're coming to Paris do go see the Sorolla and the Paris years exhibit in Giverny, just a 45 minute train ride from Gare St. Lazare. Rizolli has translated the beautifully illustrated catalog if you can't make it.
I couldn't resist making watercolor sketches from his sketches. So much to learn.
By the way Paris Breakfasts is competing for the Best in Paris Expat blogs. Please vote for Bear! (you may need to scroll a bit).
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If you like this post please support it by buying my Paris letters and watercolors. Or pass on someone you think might enjoy it.