Paris museum refuses entry to woman in low-cut dress

Musée d’Orsay, home to some of world’s most famous nudes, apologises for barring visitor

One of Paris’s biggest museums, whose galleries feature some of the world’s most famous nudes, has been accused of discrimination and sexism after refusing entry to a woman in a low-cut dress.

In a case of life not imitating art, a zealous official told a literature student whose name was given only as Jeanne that “rules are rules” and ordered her to cover her cleavage if she wanted to be allowed into the Musée d’Orsay, a popular tourist attraction and bastion of the beaux arts.

“Arriving at the museum entrance, I didn’t even have time to get out my ticket when the sight of my breasts and low-cut dress shocked the agent in charge of checking reservations,” Jeanne wrote in an open letter on Twitter, accompanied by a picture of her wearing the dress. “She left, chanting ‘ah, no, that won’t be possible, Continue reading “Paris museum refuses entry to woman in low-cut dress”

Les Français en vacances

“The book is a refuge”: in bookstores, the surge in sales and the solidarity of customers

After two catastrophic months, the book economy experienced an unexpected rebound with deconfinement. But faced with the uncertainties to come, publishers could bet everything on safe values

Like a Christmas in the middle of summer! Here is the image which returns in the mouth of the booksellers. After two catastrophic months (according to the Bookstore Observatory, between mid-March and mid-May, sales fell by 95% compared to 2019), the book economy experienced an unexpected rebound with deconfinement: + 19.6% from May 11 to July 19 compared to 2019. “An excellent surprise”, rejoices Xavier Moni, president of the Syndicate of the French bookstore. Continue reading ““The book is a refuge”: in bookstores, the surge in sales and the solidarity of customers”

The myth and reality of the Parisian woman

The actor Arletty, seen here in the film Hôtel du Nord, was one of many working-class French stars of the era (Credit: Alamy)

There is now a whole literary genre devoted to her mysterious allure. So what is the true essence of the Parisienne – asks Paris born-and-bred Agnès Poirier – and how did she evolve?

French women – Parisiennes in particular – have no idea of the fascination they inspire in foreigners – until the day they discover in a bookshop abroad the vast amount of literature dedicated to scrutinising their every move and mood. Sometimes written by Parisian women living abroad, or by foreigners living in Paris, this literary genre and lucrative niche market aims at educating its readers in Parisianisme and its many secrets.

Among them, in just the last few years: How to be a Parisian, Wherever You Are by Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan and Anne Berest; Dress Like a Parisian by Aloïs Guinut; Parisian Chic by Inès de la Fressange and Sophie Gachet; and the recently published The New Parisienne by Lindsey Tramuta.

Tramuta’s interesting hybrid work – part coffee-table book with beautiful pictures and illustrations, part political pamphlet, and part guide book with addresses and tips – makes for an alluring proposal. The author wants to “lift the veil on the mythologised Parisian woman – white, lithe, ever fashionable, and recast the women of Paris as they truly are”. To do this she profiles forty Parisiennes who “don’t fit the mould”, from Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to cookie maker Moko Hirayama, translator Poonam Chawla and many others – including political figures, entrepreneurs, influencers, designers, artists, writers and athletes.

Continue reading “The myth and reality of the Parisian woman”

Gauguin paintings at the National Gallery and MFA Boston may be fakes. Fabrice Fourmanoir is out to prove it

Meet the Gauguin obsessive who’s trying to prove that major art museums are showing fakes.

It’s the nude that bothers Fabrice Fourmanoir.

The way she’s painted is “unsightly” and “vulgar,” quite unlike the Polynesian women of his mind’s eye. Nor does he like the way she’s artificially inserted on the canvas, part of what he calls an “uninventive assemblage” with no coherent symbolism. Yet there she stands at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, in a painting titled “The Invocation,” attributed to Paul Gauguin.

But Fourmanoir’s roving, inquisitorial eye doesn’t stop there. He’s similarly bothered by another painting, this one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, titled “Women and a White Horse.” Though it’s labeled as a Gauguin, its signature is “very weak,” he opines. And the background vegetation looks more like Tahiti than the Marquesas Islands, where Gauguin was living when he was supposed to have painted it.

Fourmanoir isn’t your average weekend art sleuth. The life and works of Gauguin have consumed him for many decades. These two paintings make him suspicious, so much so that questioning their integrity has become a personal crusade. He thinks they’re impostors, and he won’t rest until there’s a full investigation.

Born in Calais, France, Fourmanoir, 63, might once have been dismissed as a crackpot, a wannabe who would never be welcomed into the sophisticated enclave of art scholarship. But since January he’s gained some standing in this forbidding world, after playing a leading role in a blush-inducing admission by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles that a Gauguin sculpture, purchased in 2002 for a reported $3 million to $5 million, is not actually by Gauguin. Now, even as some of the most renowned art scholars continue to look with withering skepticism at Fourmanoir’s motives and credentials, he plans to make the most of his newfound status.

Continue reading “Gauguin paintings at the National Gallery and MFA Boston may be fakes. Fabrice Fourmanoir is out to prove it”

Van Gogh’s Literary Influences

“Books and reality and art are the same kind of thing for me.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh sold The Red Vineyard, a vibrant field of color abuzz with laborers, to an intimate supporter of the hungry artist for today’s equivalent of $2000. These days, a single painting by Van Gogh More

In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh sold The Red Vineyard, a vibrant field of color abuzz with laborers, to an intimate supporter of the hungry artist for today’s equivalent of $2000. These days, a single painting by Van Gogh can go for as much $66m at Sotheby’s, and Van Gogh™ is a billion dollar industry. And the topper is that The Red Vineyard, if sold today, probably would be the single most expensive painting ever bought, not because it was the most popular artist’s best, but because it’s the only one he ever sold in his lifetime. (Wow.)

Over the decades there have been a number of film accounts of Van Gogh’s work and life, from Stanley Kubrick’s Kirk Douglas-driven Technicolor slave revolt from Black-and-White, to the more recent BBC biopic, Painted with Words, starring Benedict Cumberbatch with a script derived solely from Van Gogh’s written words. Continue reading “Van Gogh’s Literary Influences”