Homage to Manet

A Studio at Batignolles (also called Homage to Manet), 1870

 

Les Batignolles was the district where Édouard Manet and many of the future Impressionists lived. Henri Fantin-Latour, a quiet observer of this period, has gathered around Manet, presented as the leader of the school, a number of young artists with innovative ideas: from left to right, we can recognise Otto Schölderer, a German painter who had come to France to get to know Gustave Courbet‘s followers, a sharp-faced Manet, sitting at his easel; Auguste Renoir, wearing a hat; Zacharie Astruc, a sculptor and journalist; Émile Zola, the spokesman of the new style of painting; Edmond Maître, a civil servant at the Town Hall; Frédéric Bazille, who was killed a few months later during the 1870 war, at the age of twenty-six; and lastly, Claude Monet.

Their attitudes are sober, their suits dark and their faces almost grave: Fantin-Latour wanted these young artists, who were greatly decried at the time, to be seen as serious, respectable figures. Only two accessories remind the spectator of the aesthetic choices of the new school: the statuette of Minerva bears witness to the respect due to the antique tradition; the Japanese style stoneware jar evokes the admiration of this entire generation of artists for Japanese art.

In this group portrait exhibited at the Salon of 1870, each man seems to be posing for posterity. The painting confirms the links between Fantin-Latour and the avant-garde of the time and Manet in particular. It echoes Zola’s opinion of Manet: “Around the painter so disparaged by the public has grown up a common front of painters and writers who claim him as a master”. In his diary, Edmond de Goncourt sneered at Manet, calling him “the man who bestows glory on bar room geniuses”.

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A Renowned Art Collection

 
 

Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo shared living quarters on the Left Bank of Paris at 27 rue de Fleurus from 1903 until 1914, when they dissolved their common household. Their residence, located near the Luxembourg Gardens, was a two-story building with adjacent studio. It was here they accumulated the works of art into a collection that would become renowned for its prescience and historical importance.

The joint collection of Gertrude and Leo Stein began in late 1904 when Michael Stein announced that their trust account had accumulated a balance of 8,000 francs. They spent this at Vollard’s Gallery, buying Paul Gauguin‘s Sunflowers and Three Tahitians, Paul Cézanne‘s Bathers, and two Renoirs.

Leo Stein cultivated important art world connections, enabling the Stein holdings to grow over time. Bernard Berenson hosted Gertrude and Leo in his English country house in 1902, facilitating their introduction to Paul Cézanne and Ambroise Vollard‘s art gallery.

The art collection increased and the walls at Rue de Fleurus were rearranged continually to make way for new acquisitions. In “the first half of 1905” the Steins acquired Cézanne’s Portrait of Mme Cézanne and Eugène Delacroix‘s Perseus and Andromeda. Shortly after the opening of the Salon d’Automne of 1905 (on October 18, 1905), the Steins acquired Henri Matisse‘s Woman with a Hat and Pablo Picasso‘s Young Girl with Basket of Flowers.

 
 

To watch some of the paintings mentioned in this post, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

The Gravedigger of French Cinema

François Truffaut whilst he was in military prison, circa 1951

 
 

After starting his own film club in 1948, François Truffaut met André Bazin, who would have great effect on his professional and personal life. Bazin was a critic and the head of another film society at the time. He became a personal friend of Truffaut’s and helped him out of various financial and criminal situations during his formative years.

Truffaut joined the French Army in 1950, aged 18, but spent the next two years trying to escape. Truffaut was arrested for attempting to desert the army. Bazin used his various political contacts to get Truffaut released and set him up with a job at his newly formed film magazine Cahiers du cinéma. Over the next few years, Truffaut became a critic (and later editor) at Cahiers, where he became notorious for his brutal, unforgiving reviews. He was called “The Gravedigger of French Cinema” and was the only French critic not invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 1958. He supported Andre Bazin in the development of one of the most influential theories of cinema itself, the auteur theory.

In the late 1950s, French New Wave critics, especially Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, were among the first to see and promote Alfred Hitchcock‘s films as artistic works. Hitchcock was one of the first directors to whom they applied their auteur theory, which stresses the artistic authority of the director in the film-making process.

As critics for the iconoclastic film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, Godard and Truffaut had shared a similar aesthetic. Their masters were (besides Hitchcock), Jean Renoir, Roberto Rossellini and Fritz Lang, whose films were underestimated at the time and whom they defended with the pugnacity of young prizefighters.

In an article for Cahiers du Cinéma in 1954, Truffaut posited his “auteur theory”: the idea that certain directors, regardless of whether they wrote their films, were the true authors of their work. They reserved their greatest criticism for postwar French cinema, which Truffaut dismissed as “cinéma du papa” for its tendency to churn out tired over-literary adaptations of classic novels and plays.

A Sort of Apprenticeship

François Truffaut as a kid

 

“During the war, I saw many films that made me fall in love with the cinema. I’d skip school regularly to see movies—even in the morning, in the small Parisian theaters that opened early. At first, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be a critic or a filmmaker, but I knew it would be something like that. I had thought of writing, actually, and that later on I’d be a novelist. Next I decided I’d be a film critic. Then I gradually started thinking I should make movies. And I think seeing all those films during the war was a sort of apprenticeship.

The New Wave filmmakers, you know, were often criticized for their lack of experience. This movement was made up of people with all kinds of backgrounds—including people like me who had done nothing more than write for Cahiers du cinéma and see thousands of movies. I saw some pictures fourteen or fifteen times, like Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game [1939] and The Golden Coach [1953]. There is a way to see films that can teach you more than working as an assistant director, without the viewing process becoming tedious or academic. Basically, the assistant director is a guy who wants to see how movies are made, but who is constantly prevented from doing just that because he gets sent on errands while the important stuff is taking place in front of the camera. In other words, he is always required to do things that take him away from the set. But in the movie theater, when you see a film for the tenth time or so, a film whose dialogue and music you know by heart, you start to look at how it’s made, and you learn much more than you could as an assistant director.

The first films I truly admired were French ones, like Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Raven [1943] and Marcel Carné’s The Devil’s Envoys [1942]. These are movies I quickly wanted to see more than once. This habit of multiple viewing happened by accident, because first I would see some picture on the sly, and then my parents would say, “Let’s go to the movies tonight,” so then I’d see the same movie again, since I couldn’t say I’d already seen it. But this made me want to see films again and again—so much so that three years after the Liberation, I’d seen The Raven maybe nine or ten times. But after I wound up working at Cahiers du cinéma, I turned away from French film. Friends at the magazine, like Jacques Rivette, thought it absurd that I could recite all of The Raven ’s dialogue and had seen Carné’s The Children of Paradise [1945] fourteen times.”

 

François Truffaut’s Last Interview
by Bert Cardullo

A Key Motif in Dior’s Fashions

Monsieur Christian Dior and his gardener, date unknown

 
 

The story began in 1906 in the hills above Granville in Normandy within the gardens on the property where the Dior family had recently settled. Around the villa, Christian Dior‘s mother built a lush garden from the ground up combining rare species of plants. It was young Christian who created and designed the rose garden. Throughout his life, the rose remained his favourite flower. It was key motif in his fashions (featured in prints, embroidery, brocades, etc.) and an essential note in his fragrances. Furthermore, the very name of his childhood home – les Rhumbs – is also a subtle reference to the rose: it defines the cardinal divisions of space, which in French is called ‘la rose des vents’, or windrose. Therefore, the rose, which was so vital to the life and work of the designer, has also become essential to Dior Jewellery collections such as Rose Dior Bagatelle.

Ever since, each designer at Masion Dior (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano and Raf Simons) had followed the tradition of including roses in the collections for this iconic French brand, whether in prints, accesories or even on a showstopping stage.

 
 

Rose de France afternoon dress in taffeta with colored rose print, Spring-Summer 1956 Haute Couture collection, Ligne Flèche (Arrow Line)

 
 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Roses Mousseuses influenced the rose print

 
 

Carmen Dell’Orefice wearing Dior by Yves Saint Laurent. Photo: Richard Avedon, 1957

 
 

Madrileña Dress of floating pale gray faille, Dior by Marc Bohan. Alexandre of Paris coiffure. Photo by Richard Avedon for Harper’s Bazaar, December 1960

Truman Capote Through the Looking-Glass

Truman Capote at his Black and White Ball in 1966

 
 

“…My eyes distractedly consult it – are drawn to it against my will, as they sometimes are by the senseless flickerings of an unregulated television set. It has that kind of frivolous power. Therefore, I shall overly describe it – in the manner of those “avant garde” French novelists who, having chosen to discard narrative, character, and structure, restrict themselves to page-length paragraphs detailing the contours of a single object, the mechanics of an isolated movement: a wall, a white wall with a fly meandering across it. So: the object in Madame’s drawing room is a black mirror. It is seven inches tall and six inches wide. It is framed within a worn black leather case that is shaped like a book. Indeed, the case is lying open on a table, just as though it were a deluxe edition meant to be picked up and browsed through; but there is nothing there to be read or seen – except the mystery of one’s own image projected by the black mirror’s surface before it recedes into its endless depths, its corridors of darkness.

 
 

Self-Portrait by Paul Gauguin, 1885

 
 

Young Woman at the Window (Jeune femme devantune fenêtre), Paul Gauguin, 1888

 
 

Clovis, Paul Gauguin, 1886

 
 

“It belonged,” she is explaining, “to Gauguin. You know, of course, that he lived and painted here before he settled among the Polynesians. That was his black mirror. They were a quite common artefact among artists of the last century. Van Gogh used one. As did Renoir.”

“I don’t quite understand. What did they use them for?” “To refresh their vision. Renew their reaction to colour, the tonal variations. After a spell of work, their eyes fatigued, they rested themselves by gazing into these dark mirrors. Just as gourmets at a banquet, between elaborate courses, reawaken their palates with a sorbet de citron.” She lifts the small volume containing the mirror off the table and passes it to me. “I often use it when my eyes have been stricken by too much sun. It’s soothing.”

Soothing, and also disquieting. The blackness, the longer one gazes into it, ceases to be black, but becomes a queer silver-blue, the threshold to secret visions; like Alice, I feel on the edge of a voyage through a looking-glass, one I’m hesitant to take…”

 
 

Excerpt from Music for Chameleons
Truman Capote

After Manet’s Masterpiece

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, with Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, 1865-1866

 
 

Manet’s painting inspired Picasso to a cycle of 27 paintings, 140 drawings, 3 linogravures and cardboard marquettes for sculpture carried out between 1949 and 1962

 
 

Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Picnic on the Grass), a 1959 film directed by Jean Renoir

 
 

Jim Lee’s version for Cosmopolitan, June 1974

 
 

Déjeuner sur l’herbe, a photograph by Jonathan Charles, 1974

 
 

Title, and features similar front cover art, of British bigband the New Jazz Orchestra on Verve Records,1969

 
 

See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah! City All Over, Go Ape Crazy! (1981) is the second studio album by pop rock group Bow Wow Wow. The album was the first release by the group to chart, at #192 on the Billboard 200. Posing nude is lead singer Annabella Lwin, who was fifteen at the time of the album’s release. The Andy Earl cover caused outrage that led to an investigation by Scotland Yard, instigated by Lwin’s mother and never appeared on UK and US releases.

 
 

Still from The Simpsons

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent Spring Summer 1999 ad campaign photographed by Mario Sorrenti

 
 

Untitled (after Manet’s Dejeuner sur L’Herbe), Julie Rrap, 2002

 
 

Star Wars Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, after Manet, by Philip Bond, 2009

 
 

Babar the Elephant after Manet, possibly by the fictional character’s author, Jean de Brunnhoff

 
 

Graphic art by Stano Masar

 
 

Les Trois Femmes Noires, Mickalene Thomas, 2010

 
 

Secret Garden II: Versailles. Dior Fall-Winter 2013 ad campaign by Inez Van Lamsweerde y Vinoodh Matadin

Portrait of a Mother

Anna Mathilda McNeill in Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Whistler’s Mother) James Abbott Whistler, 1871

 
 

Shushan Adoyan by Arshile Gorky, 1936

 
 

Cornelia Nobel in Woman I by Willem De Kooning, 1952

 
 

Ginevra de’ Pozzi by Guido Reni, 1612

 
 

Marguerite Merlet by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1860

 
 

Eugénie-Desirée Fournier by Édouard Manet, 1880

 
 

Ernestine Faivre by Georges Pierre Seurat, 1883

 
 

Marie-Francoise Oberson by  Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1838

 
 

Lucy Read by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1797

 
 

Laura Catherine Bjølstad by Edvard Munch, 1899

 
 

Countess Adèle Tapié de Celeyran by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1883

 
 

Katherine Kelso Johnston by Mary Cassat, 1878

 
 

Sophie Maurice by Franz Marc, 1902

 
 

Marie Soukupová by Egon Schiele, 1911

 
 

Anna Cornelia Carbentus by Vincent van Gogh, 1888

 
 

Alina Maria Chazal by Paul Gauguin, 1890

 
 

Anne Elisabeth Honorine Aubert by Paul Cézanne, 1866-67

 
 

Barbara Holper by Albrecht Dürer, 1490-93

 
 

Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck by Rembrandt, 1630

 
 

Gemma Cervetto by Giorgio De Chirico, 1911

 
 

Elizabeth Griffiths Smith by Edward Hopper, 1916-20

 
 

Anne Mary Hill was the inspiration and model for Mother Tucking Children Into Bed by Norman Rockwell, 1921

 
 

María Picasso y López by Pablo Picasso, 1896

 
 

Laura in Mum by David Hockney, 1985

 
 

Lucie Brasch by Lucian Freud, 1983

 
 

María del Pilar Barrientos by Diego Rivera, circa 1904

 
 

Flora Angulo by Fernando Botero, 1990

 
 

Felipa Domenech Ferrés by Salvador Dalí, 1920

 
 

Julia by Andy Warhol, 1974

Anything but Boring

Thanks to The Perfumed Dandy for inciting my curiosity about this theme:
 

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, who was considered the female embodiment of the Jazz Age.

 
 

“The only horrible thing in the world is ennui, Dorian. That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness”, advised Lord Henry Wotton, Oscar Wilde’s alter ego from The Portrait of Dorian Gray. “Intelligent people never get bored,” said a character from Ifigenia, the novel by the French-Venezuelan writer Teresa de la Parra. Diana Vreeland suggested “Never fear being vulgar, just boring.” For Sir Cecil Beaton boredom was the world’s second worst crime (the first is being a bore). On the other hand, Leo Tolstoy affirmed that boredom was the desire for desires. And everyone would agree the cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. But we all are constantly escaping from ennui and feelings like that.
 
Being Boring is a song composed by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe; the Pet Shop Boys. It is the opening track and second single from Behaviour (1990), an album influenced by Depeche Mode’s Violator, which was released the same year.
 
It’s been said that the title apparently materialized after someone in Japan accused the duo of being boring. The title is also derived from a Zelda Fitzgerald quotation, “she refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn’t boring”. The song is concerned with the idea of growing up and how people’s perceptions and values change as they grow older.
 
Due to various factors (for example, it being hard to sing), it wasn’t initially performed on 1991’s Performance Tour, leading many fans, Axl Rose among them, to complain about its omission. It is considered among the greatest, most beautiful Pet Shop Boys’ songs, despite the track’s moderate commercial success.
 
The Pet Shop Boys first asked photographer and film maker Bruce Weber if he would make a video with them when Domino Dancing was corning out. They met him in New York whilst recording demos with Liza Minnelli. At the time he was keen, but too busy; he was working on his second documentary film, Let’s Get Lost, (a Film about the late jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. His first film was about boxing, Broken Noses).
 
Weber hadn’t done a video before because of “time and circumstance, and I also fell that I really wanted to fall in love with a song. Because I knew I was going to have to listen to it about a million times (laughs). I got the tape and I loved it; I had an immediate reaction to it. I thought it had a lot of musicality and a lot to say, I loved the lyrics and really felt that it was something I wanted to be part of.” he said to Neil and Lowe.
 
The video is shot in black and white. In what is either a coincidence or conscious decision, two previous videos, 1989’s It’s Alright and 1990’s So Hard also lacked color. Apart from these, only 2000’s You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk and partially 1987’s Rent were also recorded in black and white.
 
The video was filmed entirely in one day at the beginning of October 1990 in a house of Long Island. Bruce Weber chose that particular setting, outside New York City, because of its association with Zelda and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Bruce Weber explained his idea of a wonderful party. He wanted to keep away from the streets after looking at MTV a lot of video clips filmed on roads. He thought it was a corny trend.
 
Weber cast people he was friends with or knew the girlfriends or boyfriends of or had photographed before, including Neneh Cherry’s half-brother, musician Eagle Eye and Drena, Robert de Niro‘s daughter.
 
Weber incorporated a dog because “in certain French films of Renoir there was always a country animal brought as a pet. Like the Bertolucci film where Dominique Sandra comes into the house on a horse.”
 
Originally, the video begun with everyone on the stairs, eyes closed and Neil speaking the Zelda Fitzgerald quote to the camera. This concept turned out to be a bit too complicated so the video eventually began with a handwritten message (written by one of Bruce Weber’s friends) based on Neil’s instructions.
 
In a way, the video is a literal projection of the first video of the song. The video begins with with a nude swimmer and a message: “I came from Newcastle in the North of England. We used to have lots of parties where everyone got dressed up and on one party invitation was the quote ‘she was never bored because she was never boring’. The song is about growing up – the ideals that you have when you’re young and how they turn out”.

 
 

D&G’s Neorealism

Dolce & Gabbana SS 2013 Collection Ad Campaign

 
 

Movie Poster

 
 

Antonio Arcidiacono as ‘Ntoni

 
 

Stills from The Earth Trembles

 
 

Styling & Photography: Domenico Dolce Stefano Gabbana

 
 

Parodying the infamous Fascist slogan quoted in Visconti’s movie, we could say “Dolce and Gabbana are always right”.

 
 

While I was preparing the previous post and looked intently at the swimsuits worn by some of the characters depicted in Scène d’Été, by Frédéric Bazille I was reminded of the stripes from Dolce & Gabbanna’s Spring Summer Collection 2013-2014.
 
The Italian duo had a very specific inspiration for the whole concept; a neorealist movie, La Terra Trema / The Earth Trembles (Luchino Visconti, 1948). Is an adaption for the screen from I Malavoglia / The House by the Medlar Tree, originally written in 1881 by Giovanni Verga. This author was one of the precursors of verismo, a literary or painting movement and opera style which were in many ways the basis for neorealism.
 
The first neorealist film is generally thought to be Ossessione (Luchino Visconti, 1943). But in Toni (1935), Jean Renoir made a notable use of non-professional actors and location shooting, two of the main characteristics of the Italian neorealism. Visconti worked in that movie as a Jean Renoir’s assistant.
 
There was a strong reason to film outdoor. During the World War II the film studios had been damaged significantly. All this movement came about in the post-war right after Benito Mussolini’s government fell.
 
Although they were filmed with nonprofessional actors, in a number of cases, well known actors were cast in leading roles. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana followed those unorthodox rules.
 
“With Taormina (Sicily) as a setting and supported by “real” people, Bianca Balti, Monica Bellucci, and Bianca Brandolini D’Adda –genuine Italian Graces, portray many of the values upheld by Dolce & Gabbana. Pomp and ceremony are juxtaposed to quaint familiar portraits of everyday life. Jovial dancing and singing complement moments shared and families brought together by love and food. Characters busy at lace making, embroidering, cross-stitching display the crafts utilized to decorate the collection. The gold embroidery and floral tapestry stand out against the colorful majolica synonymous with Sicilian pottery”, it was said about the concept.