Shortly after our arrival in Paris, we were surprised to see a new café, La Comtesse, at the corner of Avenue de Tourville and Avenue Duquesne. I was intrigued by the décor that I could see inside, and also the name. I thought "Which Comtesse?" The Comtesse Greffulhe perhaps? We went to lunch at the café a… Continue reading La Comtesse et Le Greffulhe – What’s In a Name?
In the morning we took the number 28 bus to the boulevard Haussmann to see the Musée Jaquemart-André, a distinctive Belle Epoque building inaugurated in 1876. It was designed by Henry Parent, who had lost the competition for constructing the Opera House, to hold and develop Edouard André's collection of mostly 18th century works. In… Continue reading On the Trail of the Belle Epoque of Proust
I want to share with you an appreciation for the paintings of Marie-Therese Durand-Ruel by Renoir; Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe, by De Laszlo; and two others, Lady Richmond and Jane de Glehn, by Sargent. To me they represent an essential characteristic of the civilization they lived in: a tranquil confidence. The Renoir picture of the… Continue reading A Tranquil Confidence: Four Women of the Belle Epoque
Lately I have been re-reading Proust. Here is an example of why. In "À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs" Proust's young stand-in protagonist is visiting the studio of the fictional painter Elstir at his villa near the seaside resort of Balbec. It is about sunset, and he is about to go home. He asks… Continue reading An Observation on Regret from Proust