Honoring the Artist’s Eye for Beauty
Photos from Provence by Tom Regan
LAVENDER FIELDS FOREVER
Tom Regan went to Provence this past week looking for the lavender fields…and found them. Tom’s a retired American living part-time in Paris, originally from my home town, New Orleans. He took up photography a while ago, and has managed the art of the postcard perfect photo like no other photographer I know. Because he knows how much I appreciate his work, I am fortunate to be on the receiving end (as are others like me) of his occasional emails filled with his beautiful photos from his travels.
“Lavandula,” the common name for lavender, is actually part of the mint family. Provence is certainly not the only place it’s found — it’s found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, to Europe and across to North and Eastern Africa, as well as in Southwest Asia, China and India. England discovered it in the 17th-century and Queen Elizabeth enjoyed it as a jam. Still, Provence is famous for it’s rolling fields of the beautiful and aromatic herb. According to Jean-Baptiste Reboul’s “La Cuisinière Provençale,” a gathering of Provençal recipes from 1897, the lamb that grazed on lavender offered up the most tender and fragrant of meat.
I share with you here a few of Tom’s photos from his Provençal excursion where he came across lavender, sunflowers and the many essences of Provence. Thank you, Tom for sharing these with all of us.
Those letters are unmistakable: YSL. The man behind them, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, operated his haute couture house at 5 avenue Marceau in Paris from July 14th, 1974 (was he really working on Bastille Day?), until he retired in 2002 and went to live in Marrakech, a place he cherished, spent much of his time and where he designed most of his collections. He died a few years later, on June 1, 2008, leaving his life partner, Pierre Bergé, both personal and business. In 2017, Bergé opened two museums in his honor — one in Marrakech and the other in his Paris haute couture house, and then he died the same year.
Le Musée Yves Saint Laurent is not just for the aficionado of fashion. Anyone with any appreciation of creative talent will revel in his brilliant style presented in this beautiful “hôtel particulier” he called his home of fashion for almost 30 years. As a one-time student of women’s tailored wear (graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC), YSL creations rank at the top of my esteem for their beautiful lines, elegant fabrics and fine tailoring. I dreamt of wearing them and aspired to be as brilliant, but that’s a tall order. Few have even come close to his genius. The best part of all during the tour of the museum is to step into his studio where YSL personally worked and received the models wearing his creations.
Don’t miss it.
ADORING DORA MAAR
You might recognize her name as one of Picasso’s lovers and muses, but not as the photographer, painter, and poet that she was in her own right. The work of Henriette Theodora Markovitch, known to the world as Dora Maar, is on display at the Centre Pompidou as one of the largest retrospective ever devoted to her work, with more than 500 works and documents (https://www.centrepompidou.fr/), on only until July 29th, so hurry to get there.
Her father was Croatian and her mother was French. As an independent woman who chose to take a pseudonym, take courses in photography and the decorative arts, she married André Breton, French writer, poet and anti-fascist who she met at the Café de la Place Blanche in Montmartre, a meeting place for the surrealists. Picasso entered her life in 1935 and became an essential contributor to his work as photographers documenting the stages of this work, “Guernica,” and as model for many portraits.
Her entourage of illustrious artists as friends and lovers never waned and influenced her work greatly. From the photographer Brassaï, to the filmmaker, Louis Chavance, to poet and author Jacques Prévert…and the list goes on and on. Their surrealistic interests aligned with left-leaning anti-fascist politics that further fueled their creative fire.
While you’re enjoying getting to know Dora through her beautiful photos and paintings, don’t forget to stop at the top of the Centre Pompidou to take photos of Paris — one of the city’s best views. And if you’re lucky enough to live just next door, in a penthouse apartment with a terrace, like one of my American friends, then the view of the City of Light is magnificently perpetual.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. TOMORROW: Don’t miss Janet Hulstrand—one our most popular speakers at Après-Midi. Details on our Après-Midi page. You won’t want to miss it!