The End of Everything Part 3:
November 24 (Lundi)
7am. It’s raining. There’s thunder.
We’ve been lucky. Everyday has been sunny but today it’s raining.
7.45. The Duomo’s bells are ringing, a cascading, tumbling, joyful sound..
It’s raining more heavily. The weather is closing in. The mountains beyond the airport faint now. Approaching Zurich we fly through a cloud of steam coming from what looks like a nuclear reactor. It’s raining in Paris. People dressed for the cold are darting like a sky full of swallows in out of the traffic of Gare Du Nord. I’m too buggered to take out a camera. We’re hungry. We eat at Hippopotamus.
Mardi, November 25
Galerie Laurent Strouk – 8 bis, rue Jacques Callot
Exhibition: William Klein Contacts
William Klein’s retreatment of his funky, carnival-esque, genre defining, 1950s street shots, and later work is surprising. He’s made contact prints of some of his most well known pictures and then painted aggressively with bold, thick colour, around and over the images. Why? The young gallery assistant asks if we know his work. He is very important. She tells us that William Klein lives in Paris near the Jardin de Luxembourg. Klein must be 80 I guess. I give the young gallery assistant my website address. I wonder if she will look?
Gallerie Aittoures2 – rue des Beaux Arts
For sale are vintage prints by Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau. There are also photos of the Beatles, Rodin, Cezanne and Marilyn Monroe as a young, unrecognisable brunette.
Galerie Camera Obscura – 268 Boulevarde Raspail
Exhibition: Sarah Moon 12345
Sarah Moon’s smudged, New York Photo Secession styled vamps and prints are evocative but lack the emotional darkness and melancholy of Stieglitz’s fin de siecle Camera Work. Moon pictures an elephant in a frame of deep black. The photograph is very moving. It does look like a 19th century photo. The elephant is lost in Galerie Camera Obscura.
Foundation H-C-B (Henri Cartier-Bresson) – 2 Impasse Lebois
Exhibition: Henri Cartier-Bresson Walker Evans Photographier L’Amerique 1929 – 1947
Walking to the H-C-B Foundation, we follow the wall of Cimetiere du Montparnasse. When Jean Paul Sartre died; Simone De Beauvoir leased an apartment opposite the cemetery, so as to be near him. There’s the plaque. She lived there. Simone and Jean Paul’s grave is just behind the wall.
Walker Evans’ style is gothic, flat and front on. His photographs of America’s joyless 1930s, pictured places and people, not dissimilar to the Western Australia where I grew up in the 1950s. Some of Walker’s best pictures are in this exhibition. A young Walker Evans travels to Paris to become a writer. Writing doesn’t work out so he stays with photography. If it had not been for the challenge of the work of Walker Evans I don’t think I would have remained a photographer. Wrote Cartier-Bresson. H.C.B.’s American photos are like Walker Evans’ pictures.
Mercredi, November 26
Galeries nationale du Grand Palais
Exhibition: Emil Nolde 1867 – 1956
With cubes of colour and brushes and boxes of pencils, students make studies of Emil Nolde. I’m aware of Nolde’s work and the importance of the period, but I don’t know his art that well. Nolde’s mid 1890s paintings of fantastic mountain giants would be apt illustrations for the imaginative worlds of children’s books. His early paintings are in the styles of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Lautrec. The beautiful Couple sur la plage (1903), is reminiscent of Seurat. Then from the 1912, Enfant et grand oiseau, the work is the expressionist style for which Nolde is known. The 9 panelled, over 5 metres wide, La Vie du Christ, occupies one room. Nolde used green underpainting for human skin just as the Medieval and early Renaissance painters. A movie is screened in the museum. Joseph Goebbels enters the 1937, Degenerate Art Exhibition in Munich. The exhibition purposed to ridicule Modernism. Nolde was forbidden to paint by the Nazis. Friend, Paul Klee said, Nolde was a daemon. The creature floating in the sky of Nolde’s Avant le lever du soleil (Before the sunrise), really is a daemon.
We spend the afternoon amongst Monet’s water lilies and haystacks at Musee Marmottan Monet. Monet’s palette;
cobalt light purple
extra fine outremer
lots of yellow de cadmium ( light, dark, citron)
outremer jaune citron
Joelle buys a book on Impressionist Berthe Morisot. We enjoy the last of the daylight on Rue Rivoli.