Tag Archives: Ossip Zadkine

Paris Wanderlust: Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

I know I’ve walked in the rain through Jardin du Luxembourg, but I can’t remember.

The octagonal pond

I never tire of watching children push their rented sailboats into the wind with a stick. They follow the journey of their boats as they sail across the octagonal pond, and then rush over to wherever it lands to give it another strategic shove. Fortunately, the children never tire of their sport.

Below, a boy’s sailboat bears Spain’s country abbreviation and flag colours.

Nothing digital or battery-operated for rent here:

The ogre of the Medici Fountain

The quiet, shady grotto of the Medici Fountain invites relaxation with a bag of macrons.

I like to know something of the history of a place. However, digging into the Medici Fountain’s complicated chronology of construction, ruin, and layers of renovations, doesn’t offer as many rewards as pulling the thread of the insanely jealous cyclops clad in bronze patina at the far end of the grotto.

The giant green cyclops looms jealously over Galatea (the river nymph whom he loves) and Acis (her mortal lover). The two lovers are rendered sensually in a white marble embrace.

Auguste Ottin, Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea (1886)

Briefly: Galatea spurns the cyclops, who in a rage hurls a chunk of mountain at the fleeing Acis, killing him. But Acis gets the last laugh: Galatea transforms him into an immortal river god, who proceeds to split the colossal rock that killed him and to flow forth eternally as a mountain spring.

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this cyclops is a complicated monster. He boasts to Galatea that he owns herds of sheep whose mothers nurture their “well-warmed lambs” with “bulging udders.” Yet he himself neglects to tend his animals. He claims to love Galatea, extolling her virtues to the skies. At the same time, he despises her for not returning his love and calls her every name in the book.

The Greek gods, all too human.

The storied beehives of Luxembourg Gardens

One of these days, I’ll be at the right place at the right time to buy some honey produced at the apiary of Jardin du Luxembourg.

Surprise movie filming

I was at the right place at the right time.

Sculptures of the Jardin du Luxembourg

Queens of France and Celebrated Women

Around the main gardens and the octagonal pond stand twenty statues of celebrated women (royalty, legends, muses). The statue of Marguerite de Navarre portrays the very image of thought.

Joseph Stanislas Lescorné, Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549). Completed 1848.

She and her King-of-France brother supported artists, writers, and intellectuals and conducted a salon called “The New Parnassus.” Marguerite de Navarre herself was a writer of remarkable poetry and fiction.

In short, she was a key player in ushering in the French Renaissance.

Eugène Delacroix

Fountain and cenotaph for Delacroix. Three allegorical figures — Time, Glory, and Artistic Genius — swoop up to a bust of Delacroix.

Jules Dalou, cenotaph for Eugène Delacroix (bronze and marble)

Monument to Paul Verlaine

Auguste de Niederhausern-Rodo, Paul Verlaine (1911)

Charles Baudelaire

Baudelaire, memorialized in stone etched with one of his poems:

Pierre Fix-Masseau, Charles Baudelaire

George Sand

George Sand (a.k.a. Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) wearing her fem attire:

François-Léon Sicard, George Sand (1904) (marble)

The Poet

Ossip Zadkine, Le Poète / Hommage à Paul Éluard (1954)

Leconte de Lisle

Leconte de Lisle, a French poet born on the island of Réunion, receives a prominent cenotaph in the form of an angel carrying a bust of the leader of the Parnassian school of poetry.

Denys Puech, Leconte de Lisle

Gabriel Vicaire (a.k.a. “Adoré Floupette”)

Under the campy pseudonym “Adoré Floupette,” Gabriel Vicaire collaborated with a fellow poet to publish Les Déliquescences (1885), literary satires of the excesses of symbolist and decadent poetry.

Jean-Antoine Injalbert, Gabriel Vicaire

Aside: Sixty-odd years later, these two rapscallions inspired the Australian hoaxers who conjured up the fictitious life and works of Ern Malley.

Liberty Enlightening the World

Smaller models of New York Harbor’s Statue of Liberty keep popping up in Paris. I’ve seen three, but there must be more. This one is a copy of the bronze model that Auguste Bartholdi created while he was constructing the colossal statue.

Broken link of slavery: Le cri, l’écrit

Bronze sculpture commemorating the abolition of slave trade and slavery:

Fabrice Hybert, Le cri, l’écrit (2007)

The Effort

Pierre Roche, L’Effort or Hercules Diverting the Alpheus River through the Rocks (1898), sculpted in a lead alloy

Le Triomphe de Silène

Below, the boisterous tangle of arms and legs culminates in the flabby, naked, and sloshed Silène, foster father of Dionysus. Silène seems to be the only one carousing — the others struggle unsuccessfully to keep his chaotic limbs astride his donkey, and get trampled in the process. Even babies are dangerously underfoot in this ludicrous orgy.

Sculptor: Jules Dalou

Note the smart kid feeding the donkey an apple:

The Mouth of Truth

According to an ancient Roman legend, the mouth of Truth will snap shut on the hand of a liar.

Jules Blanchard, La Bocca della Verita (marble)

The Mask Vendor

At the base of the bronze statue are masks of illustrious French creative types: Corot, Dumas, Berlioz, Carpeaux, Faure, Delacroix, Balzac, and Barbey d’Aurevilly. In his left hand, the seller advertises a mask of Victor Hugo.

Zacharie Astruc, Le Marchand des Masques (1883)

The Greek Actor

A young Greek actor rehearses his role, script in hand, mask cavalierly pushed up so he can read his lines.

Arthur Bourgeois, L’Acteur Grec (1868)

The blue bike

The impeccably manicured gardens

View from Tour Montparnasse:

Next: From Horse Slaughterhouse to Parc Georges-Brassens

Camille Martin

Paris Wanderlust: Sculptures — Fantasies & Hybrids

Sculptures — Fantasies & Hybrids

The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls

In Montmartre, a man is caught in the act of passing through a stone wall.

Jean-Bernard Métais, Le Passe-Muraille (2006), Rue Norvins (16e)

This unsettling sculpture is based on “Le Passe-Muraille,” a 1943 short story by Marcel Aymé. The main character, M. Dutilleul, is a Walter Mitty type, bland and old-fashioned, a middle-aged creature of habit. Suddenly and accidentally endowed with the magical ability to pass through walls, he secretly embarks on a series of escapades such as burglaries, while still holding his job as a low-level bureaucrat oppressed by his boss.

In the end, he accidentally ingests medication that puts an end to his superpowers at a most inopportune time: exactly at the moment he’s passing through a garden wall, returning home from a passionate tryst with a married woman.

The sculptor portrays Dutilleul as stuck, mid-stride, unable to escape the wall that forever after holds him prisoner.

The story imagines freedom, not only from confining walls but also from oppressive bosses and prison wardens. Written during the Nazi Occupation of Paris, such a fantasy — even though it ends badly for the protagonist — must have inspired in French readers a vision of liberation.

Lunar Bird Square

Communing with the moonbird . . .

Joan Miró, L’Oiseau Lunaire (1966), Rue Blomet (15e)

I can’t imagine a better playground for children than this little park that culminates in the large totemic Lunar Bird by Joan Miró. The rounded bronze solidity of the bird may have rendered it flightless, yet it practically levitates. Its head tilts skyward, and its little protuberances — wings, horns, beak — reach into the air on high alert.

Vestigial wings suit this monumental hummingbird.

The children seem to be inspired.

The Centaur

Garden tools jut out behind The Centaur, who seems to be created entirely from scrap metal.

Yet the mythical beast also radiates dignity and poise.

César Baldaccini, Le centaur (1985), Place Michel Debré (6e)

More about this distinguished centaur in my upcoming post on Cimetière du Montparnasse.

Bulgarian-French cross pollination

I happened upon a sidewalk exhibit by Bulgarian-French sculptor Jivko, whose work echoes archetypes of the ancient world and fairy tales of Eastern Europe.

Mairie (town hall) of the 6e arrondissement, 78 Rue Bonaparte

The dragon of the water facility

At a water control plant, a steel-and-plastic dragon slithers through pavement like a sci-fi hallucination.

Chinese-French artist Chen Zhen, La Danse de la Fontaine Emergente (2008), Rue Paul Klee (13e)

The work perhaps dips into the dragon iconography of the sculptor’s Chinese heritage. It also wryly references the urban myth of creatures that grow in sanitation culverts, like the alligators that supposedly live in the sewers of New York City.

The dragon’s ribbed tubular shape (resembling a vacuum cleaner hose) and ridge of dorsal plates give it a tongue-in-cheek rather than scary appearance. At night, its colourful neon lights enthrall clubbers spilling onto Place Augusta-Holmes.

A sculpture garden for Nelson Mandela

A balloon sculpture and “grassy” fence in Jardin Nelson Mandela offer a colourful contrast to the somber Gothic backdrop of Église St-Eustache.

Jardin Nelson Mandela, Les Halles (1er)

The exploding canoes of Diderot University

Dozens of aluminum canoes and boats explode next to a student walkway on the campus of Diderot University.

Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Paris (2013) (13e)

Nancy Rubins, creator of Monochrome for Paris, brushes aside literal notions about her work that don’t necessarily deepen one’s experience of it. The number of boats used, or the sculpture’s placement near the Seine River, are not as relevant as the use of the boats to create something new. She likens the work to the growth of molecules into crystals.

Detail

A canary yellow Wallace Fountain with a background of crystallizing canoes:

Mystery at Place Nationale

Le Mystère reaches its full potential at Place Nationale.

Leonardo Delfino, Le Mystère (1990), Place Nationale (13e)

Les Colonnes de Buren

The black-and-white striped columns in the courtyard of Palais Royal were created by Daniel Buren way back in 1986. Even so, to this day the controversy following their installation haunts descriptions of them, similar to Pei’s still-notorious glass pyramid at the Louvre.

Children, however, don’t seem to find anything controversial about the columns. They’re more concerned with inventing games to play around them.

Daniel Buren, Les Deux Plateaux (a.k.a. Les Colonnes de Buren) (1986), Le Palais Royal (1er)

Below — as I understood the game — the girls were safe from the marauding boys as long as they occupied a column.

Homage to Rimbaud

Below, L’Homme aux Semelles Devant (The Man with Soles in Front) pays homage to poet Arthur Rimbaud.

The sculpture puns on Paul Verlaine’s nickname for Rimbaud, “l’homme aux semelles de vent” (the man with soles of wind). If I disregard the sculpture’s pun, I like the work’s edginess.

Photographed in the Marais, but since moved to Jardin Tino-Rossi.
Ipoustéguy, L’Homme aux Semelles Devant (1985)

Two sculptures by Ossip Zadkine

Le Prométhée (Prometheus)
Ossip Zadkine, Le Prométhée (1956), Place St-Germain-des-Prés (6e)
La Naissance des formes (The Birth of Forms)
Ossip Zadkine, La Naissance des formes (1958), Boulevard Edgar Quinet (14e)

Bas-relief of antler-man, somewhere on Rue Falguière

Next: Sculptures — Three Greats

Camille Martin