16 January 2014

Musée Carnavalet, 3rd arrondissement, Paris

The Musée Carnavalet is a huge building dedicated to Parisian life. I'm just including here the things that most impressed me, and as might be expected most of those things are of a literary nature, particularly the many paintings of writers. However, I was struck by other things, especially the reconstruction of Georges Fouquet's jewellery shop – opened in 1901 – which was formerly at 6 rue Royale. Fouquet had previously been impressed by the artistic work of Alfons Mucha, so he got him to create a modern shop:

Fouquet was a victim of his own modernity, which of course became old-fashioned and his shop eventually had to be dismantled. He left most of it to the musée Carnavalet in 1938: it looks superb, of course.
Émile Zola obviously intended to hang on to his fob watch.

Alphonse Daudet's glasses, with case.

The poet François Coppée (1842–1908) by Alberto Melillo (1866–1908), in his Académie française rigout: he was elected in 1884.

Colette (1873–1954) dressed à la Claudine – anonymous.
Alfred Grévin (1827–92) by Frédéric Bogino (1831–99). Grévin began with the Journal amusant, continuing from 1869 with Almanac des Parisiens, and became famous in 1882 for the wax museum that bears his name.
There are three reconstructed rooms:
Anna de Noailles (1876–1933) became famous after the publication of Le Coeur innombrable (1901), and was one of the most well-known women of her time. She lived in her appartment in rue Scheffer from 1906 to 1933 and received many visitors to her famous chambre aux cretonnes. In her bed, like her friend Marcel Proust, she did most of her writing.
The bedroom of Marcel Proust (1871–1922).
The bedroom of Paul Léautaud (1872–1956). As the plaque at the side says, his Le Petit ami and especially Journal littéraire are significant elements in 20th century French literature. He detested conformity, was very cynical, very funny, and very original. From 1912 to 1956 he lived in Fontenay-aux-Roses, where he wrote his most important works.
Now whoever does that remind me of? Oddly, Léautaud seems to have fancied himself as a bit of a queutard.
Famously, Léautaud had a large number of cats, and his grave here featured (until it was removed) a curled-up one.
Some of the following photos unavoidably attracted more light than was needed:
Roland Dorgelès (1886–1973) by Louis Marcoussis. He is the author of Croix de bois (1919) about life in the trenches. This painting is from Dorgelès's younger years, the time of Bohemian Montmartre, when for instance he carried out his famous 'Boronali' spoof of modern art actually 'created' by Lolo the donkey. My previous post on the affair is here.
René Crevel (1900–35) by Jacques-Émile Blanche. Crevel was a strong critic of bourgeois mores who was obsessed with death and in fact killed himself because, his friend Klaus Mann claimed, he was afraid of madness, in fact believed the world to be mad.
Jean Rostand (1894–1977), biologist and writer, by Léonard Foujita.
'Nathalie Clifford Barney ou l'Amazone' by Romaine Brooks. The relationship between Nathalie Barney (1876–1972) and Romaine Brooks (1874–1970) – who was in a kind of marriage of convenience with her bisexual husband John Ellington Brooks – is perhaps not as well known as that of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, although both couples were American ex-patriots who were together for a long period.
Jules Romains (1885–1972) by Paul Émile Bécat. Romains wrote plays satirising human quirks (such as Knock (1923)) , but is best known for his huge Balzacian work Les Hommes de bonne volonté (1932–47), which is in twenty-seven volumes and strives to reflect the society of the time.
'Jean Cocteau dans le jardin d'Offranville' by Jacques-Émile Blanche. Last year marked 150 years after the death of the poet, novelist, painter and film director Cocteau (1889–1963), who was born in Maisons-Laffitte, where there was a small exhibition of his life outside the town hall, and which I shall post up soon.

Paul Valéry (1871–1945) by Jean-Eugène Bersier. To my shame (as he is an important Franch writer) I know very little about Valéry, although a useful note at the side (only in French of course) summarisies things well enough. After initially being attracted by the hedonism of André Gide and Pierre Louÿs, from 1894 he was more influenced by the abstractions of Mallarmé (see my findings on Mallarmé in Vulaines-sur-Seine here). Although La Jeune Parque (1917) made Valéry's name, it's in his Cahiers where his most important thoughts can be read.
Georges Courteline (1858–1929) by Léopold Stevens. Courteline (né Moinaux or Moineau) was a playwright and novelist and inventor of the conomètre (think of 'con' as being one of the words for 'stupid' in French), which was a glass filled with alcohol designed to measure the stupidity of people, but that's another story. The note at the side here calls him a 'depicter of idiocy', and that seems accurate.
Anatole France (1844–1924) by Eugène Carrière. I've written a couple of paragraphs on Anatole France before when posting his grave up here.
Edmond de Goncourt (1822–96) by Eugène Carrière again. Noted for his realist novels along with his brother Jules, and (something not mentioned on the note at the side) it was of course Edmond's will that created the Académie Goncourt.
Alphonse Daudet (1840–97) by Louis Montegut. Daudet, most noted for his popular Lettres de mon moulin (1866) – and the mill is a glorious sight in Fontvieille, Provence – and his more humorous works on mock-heroic Tartarin.
Victorien Sardou (1831–1908) by Auguste de La Brely. A representation of the salon of the highly prolific playwright whose major successes were written with Sarah Bernhardt in mind.
François Coppée (1842–1908) by Antoine Rochegrosse. Coppée is briefly mentioned above, and there is a link to my post on his grave in the Cimetière du Montparnasse here.
Henri Rochefort (1830–1913) by Auguste Baud-Bovy. Rochefort was a journalist and politician whose writings in La Lanterne, strongly in opposition to the Empire, were banned. He was exiled in 1872 for his support for the Commune. On his return eight years later, he became a nationist and supported Boulanger.
Louise Michel (1830–1905) by Louis Tinayre. Louise Michel was another exiled supporter of the Commune, and I have an extensive post about her here.
Jules Vallès (1832–85) by Gustav Courbet. The journalist and novelist was imprisoned several times during the Second Empire, and was a member of the Commune. He is most remembered for his novels L'Enfant (1879), Le Bachelier (1885) and L'Insurgé (1886).
Félix Pyat (1810–89) by Édouard Chantalat. Pyat was the author of many plays and far left deputé in 1848. He lived in exile during the Second Empire and was a member of the Commune.
Prosper Mérimée (1803–70) by Simon Rochard. Mérimée is noted as the author of Vénus d'Ille, Colomba and Carmen. He was the first inspector of historic monuments.
Apollonie Sabatier (1822–89) by Gustave Ricard. Sabatier is perhaps best known as an inspiration behind Baudelaire, particularly behind Les Fleurs du mal.
Marie d'Agoult (1805–76) by Henri Lehman. In a previous post on Marie d'Agoult's tomb, I didn't mention, as the caption at the side of this painting does, the love affair between her and Liszt, and her being his inspiration. This link is here.
Alphonse de Lamartine ( 1790–1869) by François Gérard.
Alfred de Vigny (1797–1863) by François Kinson. He is about the age of seventeen here, in sub-lieutenant's uniform, an experience which served him for Servitude et grandeur militaireMy post on Vigny in Le Maine Giraud and Champagne-Vigny is here.

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