Sunday, October 27, 2013

Art Notes: The First Wife

Two Girls Sunning by the Seine   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood   12 x 7 inches

Posing by the Seine   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood  8 x 12 inches

 Relaxing by the Seine   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood  12 x 7 inches

Artnotes:   The First Wife

Sometimes the first wife was the best one, a Tunisien friend tells us, when we ask her how things are going there.  We are eating boeuf bourguignon at our table.  She laughs.

As I walked through the halls of the Palace of Fontainebleau this week, I couldn’t help but think along those lines:  different leaders, philosophies, governments, tastes shaped this building over 600 years.  From Francois I to Napoleon III, I can see each mark, and I laugh.

We had guests this week who wanted to take trips outside the city.  They’d never been out to Fontainebleau and frankly, I hadn’t been for years and wanted to see it again.  It is overwhelming, staggering, to walk through so many pages of history at once.      Louis VII started coming here in the mid 12th century,  Louis XIV hunted on these grounds, Napoleon said goodbye to his troops here; the Louisiana purchase was sold by Spain to France before it was sold to the US,  right here:   all inside these walls which could house the entire town I born in.     Western civilization was formed here.

I can feel  how sad Napoleon must have been:  he so loved his country (not to mention the throne room in this palace).  I can’t relate to how Louis must have felt at the revolution – there was somebody out of touch with his constituency  – save your skin, these guys are mad.  Imagine bringing Pope Pius VII here on his way to crown Napoleon in Paris!   One could spend years here, each day understanding what went on in THIS room.

It was the most beautiful time to be there:  hunting season, amidst trees in fall splendor.  We went to Barbizon for lunch, where our food was grilled at a fireplace in front of us (as Harika looked on).

We also visited the Chateau Malmaison:  Josephine’s house, just 15 kilometers from Paris.   It is a house one could live in:  large, but wonderfully furnished in a neat, clean, Empire style.   Couches upholstered in red, with black satin trim set against a deep green wall;  yellow chairs with a running dog piping in a blue/grey sitting room make for a “home”.  It is a tenth the size of Fontainebleau, but  important, too, in shaping history.

We ended our week at the Rodin museum, in Paris, where Rodin and his artistic friends squatted in the early 1900s.  It is a juxtaposition to the other two, but equally important in the formation of art.  Rodin, Rilke, Renoir, Monet , Matisse, all passed through this edifice.   I felt lucky to get there before it is totally renovated, and breathe their dust.

The first wife might have been the best one, but life goes on.

 Fall Trees   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood  7 x 9.5 inches
 Fall on a Wine Box   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood 7 x 9.5 inches
Yellow Tree   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood 7 x 9.5 inches
Tall Tree   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood 12 x 7 inches
Orange Tree in the Distance   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood 7 x 9 inches

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