Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Surprise at City Hall

Last weekend, was the annual Paris Heritage event where certain public buildings and historically significant private residences are open for public viewing. Hotel d'Ville was at the top of my list and so I lined up Saturday morning to take a peak at the salons, suites and artwork of Paris' city hall....

About six months ago, Bryan came home from a St. Louis auction with his usual stock pile of goodies, one of which was a small painting about 8 x 12 inches. A Jules Lefebvre. The pieces was signed but no date, title, nothing. The work got little attention in the ebay store or in the showroom, so it sat humbly on the bookshelf in Le Petite Salon Pressler-Laughlin (aka the dining room).

The city hall was more than fantastic. It is a glamourous black-tie, gilt, beacon of French talent and wealth. There are a series of themed rooms decked out with installed paintings on wall and ceiling, weighty sparkling crystal chandeliers, drapery and italian marble. There are grand rooms with the art embellishment dedicated to the rural peasantry joyously surrendering their hard earned crops to the personification of France, a room for the masons, one to the coronation of Kings, one to...ehem... rebellion, one to music and one to literature. In the Salon of Literature, are three Jules Lefebvre paintings. A 20 or so foot square work directly in the center of the ceiling flanked by two smaller works including this little girl posed with stylus and pad. 20 times as big as she was in the apartment in St Louis. What a thrill!

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