A Wilde Day

There was recently an exhibit about Oscar Wilde at the Petit Palais here in Paris. I decided to check it out since I am somewhat a fan of his. I read his most popular book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, years ago and it is mentioned many times here and there about someone who wants to stay eternally young even if it means a pact with the devil. I also saw his play, The Importance of Being Earnest, which I really liked. It was full of humor and in the production that I saw the main older woman character was played by a man which added to the laughter. Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland and became a well known writer of many things. He was known for his personality and humor and his support of aestheticism, a way of living a life devoted to the arts, beauty and culture. In fact, he was brought to America to speak on it and dressed the part in short pants and silk stockings, for what was supposed to be for four months but ended up staying for a year doing things like drinking whiskey with miners in Leadville, Colorado. He was wildly popular. He returned to England, married and had two children but eventually ended up in a homosexual affair with a young man, Lord Alfred Douglas, whose father was royalty, the Marquess of Queensberry. First Wilde sued the father for slander but dropped the case but the father had him brought to trial for sodomy and gross indecency. Wilde was found guilty and put in prison for two years with hard labor. The prisoners were treated horribly and Wilde, not a well man to begin with, became ill and passed out rupturing an ear drum. When he was finally released he moved to Paris and lived a live of financial ruin and drank a lot. He eventually ended up in a rather rundown hotel, now the very nice l’Hotel, of which he said “The wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go” where he died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900 at the age of 45, probably as the result of that ruptured ear drum. He is now buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

img_2366 Here is a photo of him at the exhibit. I thought it must have been hard to put this exhibit together as he was a writer and there is just so much you can look at in books, etc. I was surprised that the French found him interesting enough to put an exhibit together but he did die in Paris and had plays performed there.  It was rather small exhibit.

img_2371 Here he is in silk stockings.

img_2370 To add some color and interest, they exhibited some paintings of an art exhibit that Wilde had written about.

img_2367 They had many of his original manuscripts and I loved seeing his hand writing.

img_2372 Some of his quotes were on the walls. One of his most famous is: We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.

A few days later I went to Wilde’s tomb in Père Lachaise.

img_2638 Here it is in the late afternoon sun, an Assyrian God. They had to put a barrier around it because so many women were leaving “kisses” on it for some reason. The lipstick was destroying the tomb.

img_2639Closeup.

img_2641 A kiss on the acrylic barrier.

Petit Palais

The Petit Palais (right across the street from the Grand Palais)  was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle (universal exhibition), and now houses the City of Paris’ Museum of Fine Arts. It is a gorgeous building and you can enter for free to see the permanent exhibits. I went there to see the Oscar Wilde Exhibit which, since it was temporary, wasn’t free.

img_2385 The rather spectacular entrance.

img_2374 One of the ceilings in a round room.

img_2379 There is a lovely gallery outside in the central garden. You can eat there too.

img_2392 Another view.

img_2375 Part of the permanent exhibit. This is a painting of les Halles, the giant outdoor market which no longer exists. So much to look at in this painting.

img_2384 There is one huge room full of pieces of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. I particularly liked the statue of a woman.

A Day of Culture

I was with a friend from the States the other day and we saw not one but two cultural exhibits.

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The first was at the Hotel de Ville where an exhibit of photos were on display, from the beginning of photography to the present. All of the photographers belong(ed) to Magnum Organisation.

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I love this photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson taken just before the man splashed into the water.

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Next we headed over to the Petite Palais. They always have a permanent exhibition here. It’s a beautiful building too, as you can see.

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A pretty art nouveau vase on display. (a bit fuzzy)

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The gorgeous interior courtyard/walkway.

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The also had the original art supplies, stool, umbrella, etc. set up. I forgot to get the name of the artist but I remember that he was an impressionist.

While I Was In The Neighborhood

I had an appointment not far from the Champs Elysees and decided to take a walk around the area to see what was new.

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They are having a “drive-in movie theatre” at the Grand Palais at nights which sounds like fun.

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These orange decorations were on the outside of the Grand Palais. I assume they are removable and not painted on.

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Across the street the Petit Palais was also decorated. The cars parked in front can be rented to watch the movie from. Who comes up with these ideas?

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Heading up the Champs Elysees a bit I saw this giant sign of Tsonga playing at the French Open over, I think, the Adidas store. He’s the highest ranking Frenchmen playing right now. I just thought it was very eye-catching.

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I especially liked this close up of his foot with the red clay pouffing up around his foot. At the French Open your socks are always orange at the end of play.

le Petit Palais

I was in the area of the Petit Palais with the Grand Palais right across the street with a friend the other day and we decided to go inside for a look especially since it is a free entry. It had some very good Impressionist art and I especially liked some furniture and jewelry done by Guimard, that Art Deco genius. I couldn’t take any photos though so just had to settle for the exterior.


The front entrance. It was built in 1900 for an Industrial Fair.


This is outside in the splendid garden.


Looping garlands of gold.


And a closeup.