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The best laid plans and tables — Paris 2

Roberta's in Paris and sees some arty things at a flea market and some arty things in museums.



My find at the Marche aux puces -- a cigar band collage plate
My find at the Marche aux puces — a cigar band collage plate

Staying in the 14th arrondissement near the end of the #4 Metro line was nice. It’s not a touristy part of town and feels like a real neighborhood. Among other things we were very near the market street Rue Daguerre and a short walk away from the marche aux puces (flea market) at Porte de Vanves.

The one that got away
The hodge podge of this bin was outstanding. And I regret not buying that painted carving.It was very cold for flea marketing when we went and my guys bailed quickly into a cafe to sip hot chocolate. For me, the hunt for that certain object or objects of interest kept me moving, albeit quickly. This flea market was a mostly non-antique affair. Lots of vendors with fine discards from everyday life — wine glasses, cups, books, clothes…Heaven for me. I love rummaging through bins of stuff.I saw 3 things I had to have. One I didn’t get and regret it. Two I bought, for 7 Euros total. It might seem like trash to some but I love my purchases. The cigar band collage plate reminds me of Felipe Jesus Consalvos whose works at Fleisher-Ollman a while back had my eyes bedazzled. My piece is a workman-like affair. Not as arty as the true genius of Consalvos but I love it. And I have no clue about what it’s for. Ashtray, Steve said, but I doubt it. If so, it doesn’t show the effects of being used as such.Boutons enfant

Children’s buttons for .50 Euros! That’s like 80 cents apiece!

Trombone in a tub

Trombone and other brass in a tub caught my eye.



Everything was decorated for the holidays, even this dry cleaners. I love that they advertise “pressing” It’s like drug store, one of those English words that’s hopped over into French and is comfortable there.

Steve and Paul at Cafe Lipp
Steve and Paul at Brasserie Lipp

Of course we did a bit of eating out although having an apartment allowed us the pleasure of shopping at the markets and cooking. (I let Steve and Stella cook–they were great at it!)

Steve’s friend Paul Kleindorfer, who lives in Paris, joined us at Brasserie Lipp, one of the famous Left Bank brasseries where we had beaucoup de meat, the place being known for its choucroute garni, a mound of sauerkraut topped with sausages, ham, pork and potatoes. I watched the French diners around me and true to stereotype, many, many of them got steak tartare. Some preceded it with escargot. I just can’t get into the raw meat thing but I’m fascinated.

Max and Steve at Georges (at the Pompidou)
Max and Steve at Georges, atop the Pompidou Center

We were going to check out the Mantegna show at the Louvre with Paul but the line was too long and we bailed for the Centre Pompidou where Paul said you could avoid the museum crowds and opt instead to have tea and some “petites delices” in the 6th floor restaurant, Georges, with great views of the city.

The restaurant’s design is industrial-futuro. The place had these airplane like protruberances sticking up into the space. It gave the feel of being at an airport. We all loved the long stemmed red roses on the tables. While I didn’t get any good shots out the windows of the nice views I snapped a bunch inside. And because the world is truly a very small place I ran into a Philadelphia friend up there on the 6th floor of the Pompidou–Christine Pfister, gallerist of Old City’s Pentimenti Gallery. She had been on holiday to see her family in Switzerland and was in Paris for a few days. I’m used to running into people in New York but this was a first.

Max at Georges at the Pompidou Center
Droopy long-stemmed red roses on the tables at Georges.  They went very well with the futuro-aero decor.

The sculpture fountain by Niki De Saint Phalle and Yves Tinguely (1982-83) was a wonderful stumble-upon. You can’t see too clearly in the video but the water had iced over and the whole thing had an ice skating rink ambiance. Great public art.

Musee Des Arts Decoratifs
Having been to the flea market so recently colored my thoughts about the Musee D’arts Decoratifs. Everyone likes to collect tchotchkas–from museums to you and me. It’s all about what you can afford to buy.

Steve and Stella, Musee d'arts Decoratifs
Stella and Steve in Les Arts Decoratifs. I loved this completely ceramic table layout including ceramic food. Chandelier’s pretty nice, too.


I tried hard to get to Galerie Magda Danysz where two Philly artists, Rob Matthews and Samantha Simpson, were in a group drawing show. I made it to the gallery–which is a spiffy looking two-floor place on a tiny street in the Marais–but had to leave before I saw the show due to a family emergency. The show’s up to Jan. 17. And here’s a review with pictures in a French online art mag.

Both artists show their work at Gallery Joe. And both are bloggers and friends of artblog. Check out their blogs (Matthews, Simpson) for many images and commentary…and for links to their websites for even more work.

And finally, we had a wonderful evening with Matthew Rose, collage artist extraordinaire and all round smartie pants who’s been a friend since 2006 when I did a very nice studio visit with him. This year, the whole family got together with Matthew and we talked politics, Obama, the economy and Paris.    It was the meeting of two smartie pantses, Matthew and Steve, and we had a rollicking good time over the most delicious wine at Matthew’s place and then dinner at a fabulous little restaurant in the neighborhood (whose name I don’t remember but I’d give them 4 stars).

Matthew’s going to be included in a great-sounding book about collage art. More on that as it develops.  His surreal collages are marvelous — absolutely among the best — for their undercurrents about interpersonal relations, lust, love and family.

Matthew’s a hard-working artist and writer — and entrepreneur. His newest enterprise, Lalande Digital Art Press, is going great guns. He and his friend Robert have a digital printer and will print on demand — wonderful prints on fabulous papers. He showed me some of the prints and all I can say is digital printing has come a long way, baby. Matthew, by the way, is a friend of Max Mulhern (London), and Michael Andre (formerly New York, now Philadelphia), both of whom have been penning great stuff for artblog. It just goes to show you how global and local the internet is. And how great.

Here’s a link to Matthew’s magazine-length article on artblog about artists’ assistants in New York.  And here’s my studio visit with matthew from 2006.

Paris in the winter is a great place.  I’d go back in a flash.  Ideas about travel scholarships welcome!