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!
hi guys happy sunday! i hope you had a great weekend and are about to embark on a nice long night. we’ve been busy running around all week and today was a relaxing respite. i cracked my laptop lid for the first time in what seems like an eternity just now. instead of surfing around i’m stopping on the very first bit of beauty in my inbox. i can’t keep this photographer’s work a secret since her images of paris are so bright and cheerful and getting her newsletter is completely inspiring. hope you enjoy her work too! well, i’m off to squeeze in a little more downtime, have a great night!
brrrrrrr! it’s downright bone chilling cold in paris! today was our final day trudging though the slush and snow at the markets all weekend but i can definitely say our mission was accomplished!
i was fully focused on shopping with the crew so didn’t get much but photo memories which is somehow ok, at least this way i’ll have them forever.. and as my guy always says, you can’t buy it all!
going through the shots i couldn’t help but see that this trip i was attracted to art, paintings, sculpture and architectural artifacts…
the markets are so rich and thick that it really feels like a living, breathing museum. it’s a place where you can find junk juxtaposed with truly fine art.
and it’s not what a piece is worth but the joy it brings
and who makes the decisions as to what’s valuable if not the beholder?
the way the market vendors curate their booths is much more than you’d expect at a typical flea market and this year many sellers are really stepping up their game.
all sorts of busts and statuary are displayed as if they’re uber important pieces in super simple vignettes.
of course you can always find the funky, fun stuff
and the french certainly have a sense of humor about their past!
and one piece can really set a regal mood. you’d never know these were flea finds!
i guess i do wish i could buy it all and surround myself in my own tiny museum
but for now i’ll settle for just enjoying the pics and thinking about ways to incorporate more art in my world.
as for the gang, we finished up our weekend with stephane who always brings the market to life and today he greeted us in the cold with champagne and oysters, using snow in an ice bucket and along a huge silver tray for the shells he shucked. we had a ball and everyone left happy and well overfed. i’ll clue you in when the time comes as to what we all did but for now it’s off to bed, a couple pounds heavier but i guess that’s what winter is for, n’est-ce pas? enjoy the rest of your weekend!