Morris column (Colonne Morris) advertising the next Maurice Chevalier show, the flaneurs, the street signs. My parents acquired it, I think, during a trip through Europe in 1959 or 1960. Hmm. Is it real or mythologized Paris of that era?
When I moved to my first apartment after college, my father gave me this painting to hang in the living room. It was an instant inspiration. I loved the frame, which is a distinctly French style that I can only liken to a mansard roof perhaps seen in some Madeline books?): the edges curve up toward the center. I loved the bustling street life of Paris. The Modiste, the Cinema, the Société Générale, everything.
By the time I moved to Paris for three years, I had carefully placed the painting in storage. It wasn't until after my return that I studied it anew. Wow. Some revelations.
1. First, it really is a kind of “Where’s Waldo?” (Ou est Charlie?) of Paris café/street life in the late 1950s. So many details to discover.
|French sailor with red pompom hat|
3. I have figured out (I think) that this was painted from under the canopy at the famous Wepler. It certainly had a café and billiards at the time. Any thoughts?
4. The cocher (coachman) and horse were about to become extinct. The last horse-drawn carriage in Paris (from the original fiacres) was in 1965. There have been some attempts at tourist-y revivals since then.
5. The man in sunglasses reading a newspaper entitled La Bourse Parisienne may have indeed been reading about the stock market, but there was no such newspaper, so maybe he was using that as a cover? On the other hand, the guy hawking Le Rire is valid; it was a satirical journal published in Paris through the late 1950s.
But some things never change. I love this lady feeding her dog at the table.
I think I might make this the new banner for Polly-Vous Francais? Just because. What do you think?