The post-coffee morning activity was the Foujita exhibit at the Musée Malliol. I posted a bit about Foujita last Caturday; he was an artist with a peripatetic and tumultuous life. Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968) was born in Japan and moved to France, where he fell in with a group of famous painters including Modigliani and Soutine, took the first name Léonard, and became a French citizen. Read the Wikipedia entry on him, which includes this:
.. . a Japanese–French painter and printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan, who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings. He has been called “the most important Japanese artist working in the West during the 20th century”. His Book of Cats, published in New York by Covici Friede, 1930, with 20 etched plate drawings by Foujita, is one of the top 500 (in price) rare books ever sold, and is ranked by rare book dealers as “the most popular and desirable book on cats ever published”.
Here he is; his haircut reminds me of Moe Howard of the Three Stooges:
Yes, his paintings and prints of cats are one reason I wanted to see this exhibit. It was comprehensive, with lots of his work in various styles, including traditional painted Japanese screens. But he was clearly influenced by his friend Modigliani and the other artists he hung out with. Here are a few shots I took of his work, concentrating on the cats:
The cat in the above painting:
Part of one painting:
A small part of a very large mural or painting:
Part of a Japanese-style painted and gilded screen:
He didn’t just paint cats:
My homage to Foujita:
Random photos on the walk to lunch. Bonbons in a confiseur:
Discarded rose petals in a basket outside a flower shop:
If I could live anywhere in Paris, I suppose I’d choose this penthouse apartment in the 6th on the Quai Voltaire. It’s the one at the top left with the huge single window:
Which gives onto this view of the Seine and Louvre (but from higher up):
Where the greats lived—and died—on the Quai Voltaire:
The Pont des Arts, my favorite bridge, crossed on the way to lunch:
Views from the pont:
Lunch was at Chez La Vieille, an estimable restaurant run, when I lived here in 1989-1990, by the irascible Adrienne Biassin, who would accept reservations on a whim (I had to call five or six times to secure one). After Biassin died, it closed for a long time, but then was reopened about three years ago by Daniel Rose as a bistro.
I was curious to see if it was as good as it was thirty years ago, for this had superb and copious cuisine, including the best magret de canard I’ve ever eaten. The verdict: it’s quite good, but not as good as when La Vieille actually ran it.
The restaurant (about 2 minutes from the Louvre):
The upstairs room, the only place you can reserve. It’s very small; there are only two tables not visible in the picture.
The small menu of French classics:
The wines were overpriced, but the good French cider was not:
Entrées: Green lentils with foie gras and terrine de canard with grated raw beets, pickled onions, and spicy peppers:
Main courses: Paleron de boeuf (deltoid muscle of cow, braised) served with bone marrow and a salad:
I had the classic home-cooking dish blanquette de veau (veal stew), served with carrots, apricots, and rice to mix in with the rich, creamy dish:
One dessert for two full diners: riz au lait (rice pudding) with praline and rose essence. It was excellent.
The verdict: a very good meal but not a great meal. It’s not the restaurant it was under Adrienne. But it’s better than L’Ami Jean, which still disappoints me five days after I ate there.
Sunbathing by man and beast along the Seine: