August                  2008
VOL. 12                 NO. 3
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

  A Franco-American Portrait

A Franco-American Portrait
  ~ Sculptor Alfred Janniot

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là

Gastronomy & France's Loire
  by Corina Clemence

The Brame in Sologne
  by Kristi Anderson

Maison de France, NY - Courtesy of the Association des Amis d'Alfred Auguste Janniot
Maison de France, New York City

FEATURING Poitou-Charentes

A Visit to Senlis
  ~ A Great Place to Get Bogged Down
  by Arthur Gillette

The Bookshelf: 
  ~ The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook:
             Danyel Couet's Guide to the City's  
             Ethnic Cuisines

      Sculptor Alfred Janniot - A Trans-Atlantic Art Déco Giant

                                                                                  by Arthur Gillette 

Alfred Auguste Janniot was born in 1889 to a modest Montmartre family. His father was a barber/hairdresser, and some of his manual shape-modeling ability may well have rubbed off on the youngster who, from the age of eight, enjoyed crafting little plaster figurines. 

Admitted to the Paris Beaux Arts School at age 18, Janniot had to interrupt his studies for front-line military service during World War I.  But once demobilized, he entered and tied for the prestigious Prix de Rome competition that enabled him to spend several years at the renowned Villa Médicis in Rome, where ~ lodged and boarded ~ he was able to study at leisure classical and Renaissance works with which the Italian capital overflows. It was then and there that he acquired a taste for the classical tradition of joining architecture and sculpture with a monumental flair, a link that was to become his trademark.

One requirement of Prix de Rome laureates was annual submission of a work created by them. One of Janniot’s (1922) was a decidedly Greco-Roman, neo-classical and chubby Eros, which gained him a certain notoriety.

Janniot returned to France in 1924, having been awarded a commission for the stunning Monument aux Morts (Monument to the War Dead) in Nice, and just in time to take part in the 1925 Paris International Decorative Arts Exhibition, which gave the angular Art Déco style decisive visibility and popularity.

A first trans-Atlantic and decidedly modern dimension entered his work in 1927 when he was entrusted with part of the interior decoration of the luxury ocean liner, Ile de France, which specialized in whisking thousands of passengers to and fro between New York and Le Havre. Eight years later, he executed a massive gilt fresco for the banquet hall of that other trans-Atlantic jewel, the Normandie. Gracing the liner's banquet hall, it represented the province of Normandy along the Seine Valley between Paris and the Channel.

        Janniot at work on the Normandie fresco 

Art Déco's heyday, the 1930s, saw evermore commissions for Janniot. In Paris alone, for example, he created (1) bas-reliefs for the 1,200 square meter façade ~ the largest frieze in Europe ~ of the National Museum of African and South Sea Arts (1931, later renamed Colonial Museum, and recently re-inaugurated as the City of Immigration History), (2) mural bas-reliefs to enliven the rather austere Tokyo Palace (1937, Paris Museum of Modern Art) and, the same year, (3) worked at the Palais de Chaillot. The 1934 Sun Fountain in Nice was perhaps his major provincial creation.
                                                                                                                            continued on page 2

Look inside

  to read about the annual autumn event that takes place in the Sologne forest of France -  the Brame.


>  to take an historic tour of the charming ancient city of Senlis just to the northeast of Paris.


> and enjoy exploring the sunny Poitou-Charentes region of France with us in this edition's regional feature.


> to learn more about the Gastronomy of the Loire with château owner Corina Clemence.


> and wander around the City of Light as we review the visually and literally outstanding Paris Neighborhood Cookbook!


  PARIS ENIGMAS . . . A Quiz on Your Knowledge of Historic Paris
                                                                                                         by Arthur Gillette

Question from the last issue:  What and where is the oldest tavern existing in Paris?

Answer:  Certainly not Le Procope, near l'Odéon, despite its wall plaque that claims it's the oldest in the world. A much more likely candidate is La Réserve de Quasimodo, located on rue de la Colombe practically in the shadow of Notre-Dame Cathedral - owned not all that long ago by the Austrian-born but naturalized American Madeline childrens book series author Ludwig Bemelmans - which saw the light of day as La Taverne de St-Nicolas in...1240.

Our new question:   Who asked "Is Paris burning?" and why?

Contact Arthur Gillette,  and take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
 by enjoying one or more of his Paris Through the Ages

[See the answer to this edition's question
revealed in our November 2008 issue.]


Montpellier Tourism

Montpellier is one of France's metropolitan jewels. We have just discovered
  a web site specializing in Montpellier and the Languedoc of southern France.
 Click on the above banner to read about events taking place and to find accommodations and 
low cost airlines flying in from elsewhere in Europe.  The site has something for everyone!

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