The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1767)
good morning from bright and unusually cheery, sunny london. it’s been the kind of weather that forces one outside for hours and hours, strolling until you look at your watch and say, wow, it’s been 7 hours, where did the day go? it was that kind of day yesterday. with my travel companion under the weather i set out to get to know the city street by street and explore as much as possible. it was a magical day as always happens when you’re traveling, open to adventure and just and letting the universe guide you. it was filled with meeting shopkeepers, designers in their stores, gourmet noshes and stumbling on the most exquisite museum. it’s time to head out again so this will once again be short and sweet with just a quick share of the highlight of my day.
i stumbled on ‘The Wallace Collection’ in Hertford House at Manchester Square in the center of London by accident when wandering aimlessly. the stately home had a welcoming sign on the east side of the building that beckoned me forward with an inviting finger pointing ahead with the words, “Free Admission” on a flag with Fragonard’s famous painting, ‘The Swing’ on it. how could i resist?
it’s a beautiful old mansion that now houses the wallace family’s collection of art that moved from paris to london many years ago. the museum is magnificent, each room a vibrant color from emerald to colbat, ruby and eggplant. the collection of art is extensive from armor to rembrant to one of my obessions, artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard a wonderful french artist from the 1700s.
i’ve been obsessed with ‘the swing’ for years and even used it in my book, The Paris Apartment, and on my website. we cut just a piece of it for the site though…the part that embodies what i hoped my company could aspire to…the classical french fantasy of a beautiful, delicate and playful life. i found all of this captured in the moment the woman frolicking on the swing kicks off her shoe in mid-air while between two suitors, laughing while wearing the most beautiful pink dress on a perfect day.
as i approached the image in real life i was surprised by its somewhat petite size, seen here in the center of the two larger images.
but to be in her presence was incroyable! i took detail shots and observed all the movement, color and joie de vivre that had captivated me for so long.
the strangest thing though, was that what was framed was not the entire image. (look at the first image in this post and compare it to the one i shot on the wall). it’s a mystery i want to delve into but it will have to wait till i have a little more time to do some research.
apparently it’s inspired a lot of artists, designers and film makers as well over the years. google image search even revealed one of miss piggy!
there are hundreds of interpretations like this one made from chain, located in paris, found here
Artist Philip Bradshaw
and this one in sculpture: monster.net/2009/07/08/shonibare
the two ladies in the video below have a wonderful conversation and lots of insight about the painting and french life, but since i’m in such a rush (everyone’s feeling better to day and raring to go)! didn’t get to watch all of it. hope you enjoy it and if you’re in london be sure to visit this beautfiul collection!
bonjour! coming to you today from the beautiful and now fully enjoyed and only semi explored jewel of a town, biarritz, france. this is a place i’d never been but fell madly in love with and could actually consider living in one day. magical, transformative, chic, serene, inspiring, healing, infinte in its own right and in all that surrounds it… it’s actually travel day and i’m pressed for time and apologize for having to rush through yet another post. this one is a little image heavy because once again i got sucked into what what supposed to be a quick inspection of vintage photos of beach fashion in biarritz. well, opening that door led me to a magnificent (and time consuming) world of beauty with an introduction to photographers, artists and muses. pleasurephotoroom-biarritz-beach-suit-by-schiaparelli i could talk about who’s who and what’s what but instead tried to add the links where i found the photos. they’re wonderful links and collections of fashion, lifestyle, creativity and the joie de vivre. they’re as interesting as some of the photos and i hope you click their links to enjoy an even deeper look into this chapter of the past.
i’d been obsessed with an overview of the town since i heard we were coming. a history buff, i always wonder how it began, who put the first stake in the ground, how that could have happened with no real tools but pencil and paper, hard work and vision. the deeper i dug today the more i learned about people, perseverance, beauty, photography and style and life. first of all, such a little can tell so much in a photograph
Chanel sports ensemble, ca. 1928 Design by Coco Chanel second of all, style is transcendent, whether city or beach, the following photos show how it’s done. i wish i could repack my bag and start over. i overpacked and have a new perspective on what i’ll bring traveling next time! missmoss-the-seeberger-brothers everyday-i-show.livejournal.com retronaut.com
thirdly, there’s the master, Jacques Henri Lartigue – Casino de Biarritz 1918 i knew of him but have a new appreciaton for his attention to detail and simplicity.
i was just eager to get them posted cause my egg timer is running out and so is the juice on my laptop. so from here i’ll just say i hope you enjoy this slice of life on the beach, my own camera was lost on the first day here so i really haven’t taken any photos. in a way i don’t mind cause these have really struck me. i’ll definitely look at shooting my own images in a new way once i get another real camera in my hands.
vintag.es-amazing-photographs-of-everyday-life pinterest.com/breton0489/jacques-henri-lartigue thelicentiate.com-the-seeberger-brothers-and-real-street-style boumbang.com/jacques-henri-lartigue Elegance: The Seeberger Brothers and the Birth of Fashion Photography messynessychic.com-birth-of-street-style everyday-i-show.livejournal.com linedrybrand.wordpress.com/category/fashion-photography
Lili Damita – 1933 – Biarritz, France – Photo by the Seeberger Brothers beautifulsymmetry.wordpress.com/tag/seeberger-brothers ritournelleblog.com-when-women-dressed-to-impress-on-the-beach-1930s vintag.es-rare-and-stunning-color-portraits pinterest.com/haugaard012/jacques-henri-lartigue et alors, the time has come to go…our trip is on its last leg and we’re heading to london today. i hope to post from there but it’s been a whirwind and hard to sit down and fully focus on writing. i hope your summer is going well and that these photos were inspiring if you’re a photography buff. my wish is that all of our photos with friends and family are ones to remember! bonne journée!
allo toute le monde! it’s travel day and we’re leaving paris in just a few minutes. it was supposed to be a surprise for my 50th birthday but i couldn’t help asking my dear old friend where we were heading next. when she told me the name of the hotel of course i had to google it and she’s about to kill me for falling down the rabbit hole digging into the history of our incredible next destination.
i’m rushing through this post to quickly publish before a). she throws me off the balcony and b). i see the hotel for myself. as a lover of history i can’t help but imagine what we’re about to see when it was just a concept, to think of the men and women who conceived of it and created it out of thin air. the place we’re heading is now a palace, has been called a villa, a hotel, a casino and home. so much fascinating history! i’m having to skim it and apologize for probably not documenting it properly but please enjoy a little history on the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz.
The former imperial villa became an example of neo-Louis XIII-style palace. Towards 1854, the imperial couple bought acres of dunes he did develop the Dagueret engineer to create a domain with park, woods, meadows, vegetable garden, pond, outbuildings and summer residence. The work of the villa began in 1854, led by the architect Louis-Auguste and Bertrand Couvrechef inspector. On the death of Couvrechef in 1857, they continued under the direction of architect Ancelet and Inspector Oscar Tisnès. The villa had a long main building with three perpendicular wings, the last shorter than the others who formed a court of honor. In 1867, the villa was haussée one floor and transformed. On the death of the Emperor, the Empress Eugenie sold the estate in 1880 to the Bank of the Parisian Union. The villa was turned into a casino hotel. In 1903 a fire destroyed the building. The architect Edouard Niermans raised the hotel from its ruins. The program included the preservation of the exterior walls, creating three hundred rooms, apartments, lounges and a dining room. The ground floor has a large hall, a party room and a winter garden rotunda. Construction introduced the use of reinforced concrete and chaining between the preserved parts and the news.
1854: Construction of Villa Eugenie, summer home for the French Emperor Napoleon III and Emperess Eugenie. The architect is Hippolyte Durand, followed by Louis-Auguste Couvrechef.
The last French Empress, Eugenie, loved Biarritz vacationing as a child. After her marriage to Napoleon III in 1853, the couple spent the summer in Biarritz and in 1854 built a palace to house their court: The Villa Eugenie.
1855: Grand opening of the Villa – Napoleon III gives many hi profile receptions.
1873: Empress Eugenie inherits the Villa on the death of Napoleon III.
1893: The Palace is renamed Hôtel du Palais and opens as a Palace Hotel.
Queen Victoria and Empress Siss of Austria are among the guests.
1903: February 1, A fire destroys the Hotel.
1903-1905: Reconstruction of the Hotel. The architect is Édouard-Jean Niermans.
The former walls of the Villa Eugenie are repaced by a Louis XIII style.
The salon imperial and the Retonde are added.
1915: Coco Chanel opens a Couture Salon on 2 avenue Edouard VII not far from the Hotel du Palais.
1962: January 1, Foundation of Socomix, a company in charge of the Management of the Hotel,
partly owned by the city of Biarritz.
1991: Hotel du Palais decides to open all year.
Jean Louis Leimbacher becomes the director of the Hotel.
Didier Borota from the city of Biarritz pushes investments
to attract clients to come all year round.
1993: August 21, Ira von Fuerstenberg organizes the Windsor Ball.
The are more photographers than guests.
1993: December 24, Hotel du Palais gets listed as a Historic Monument.
1999: Duchess Rixa von Oldenburg organizes the very spectecular Bal de l’été.
2006: Opening of a 3000m2 Spa (the largest Spa in France)
2011: Mai 5, Hotel du Palais receives the new official Label « Palace ***** »
given by the French Ministy of Tourism to describe a new elite categorie of 5 Star Hotels in France.
Unlike Hotel du Palais not every French « Palace » is part of « Palace Hotels of the World.com« ,
2013: January, Hotel du Palais becomes part of Orient Express with a special status of beeing the very first Orient-Express Associate Hotels (a Hotel which is not owned by Orient Express).
2014: March 10, The « Orient Express » Hotels brand is rebaptised « Belmond ».
ok gotta go, it’s become an obsession and i’m about to miss our train…here are a couple more links if you’re interested!