Two Tours In One Day

photo: terrace cafe tabac le week end

The interior terrace of the Café Le Week End,
near Bastille.

Is Your Real Utrillo Really Real?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 24. July 2000:- Last year I almost saw the Tour de France pass while I was temporarily lodged at the Cadillac Ranch. The Tour went through nearby Saint-Remy, and this came up nicely on TV, with video-films shot from a helicopter.

This year I was in a dither about 'what to do?' In the end I discarded the idea of trying to cover the whole Tour on its last stage roundy-roundy on the Champs-Elysées.

The problem was solved by unexpectedly being 'sleepless in Paris,' which I took advantage of to scoot over to the Tour Eiffel, to capture the beginning of the Tour-sponsored 'randonnée for 10,000 bicyclists - which turned out to be 12,000.

Paris isn't the scene of frenzied activity before eight on a Sunday morning in summer, so it was strange to feel the excitement caused by seeing ever more zippy bicyclistsphoto: bibliotheque forney as I got closer to the starting point.

On the avenues near the tower, bike fans impatiently waited in holding areas by the thousands - in still-asleep Sunday morning streets, with only handfuls of spectators and dog-walkers.

For poster research, the Bibliothèque Forney should be a first stop.

On the button of 8:30 this vast horde launched itself across the Pont d'Iéna, with almost every rider wearing one of the Tour's different colored official Tour shirts.

The official Tour had 180 competitors - but these 12,000 non-competitors, had former multiple winners Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain in the vanguard.

The 28.5 kilometre course followed by the horde on wheels was identical to, but slightly shorter than the route that was this year's Tour de France final stage. Yesterday, Paris was the world's bike capital. Twice.

See photos on 'Au Bistro' page.

Is Your Real Utrillo Really Real?

From time to time readers contact me because they have found or bought a painting, lithograph or poster, thought to be by one of France's most famous artists, Maurice Utrillo.

I am usually asked how these works can be authenticated. Since I can do nothing in this line - especially not by email - my reply usually consists of suggesting that the reader do a little research.

In most cases, I hear no more about the matter. The major exception has recently been reader Shirley Lindsay. She acquired a SNCF poster, illustrated with a painting by Utrillo. The poster was printed in the mid-'50's, about the time of Utrillo's death in December 1955.

Not content to merely have a poster 'by Utrillo,' Shirley Lindsay has been trying to track down the whereabouts of the original painting as well as its history. In the course of doing this she has formulated some advice for others who would like to know more about their 'Utrillos.'

Shirley Lindsay's 'Utrillo' Tips:

1. Go to an art gallery or call art galleries to see if they have any postimpressionist paintings by Utrillo or books about him.

2. Check the Yellow Pages for art appraisers or contact Sotheby's in Chicago or New York City if the work involves a potential 'original' canvas, watercolor or drawing on paper.

3. The Library of The Art Institute ofphoto: entry cour damoye Chicago has considerable information. Plus, the library of any university with an art school and the dean or faculty of any university school of art - are possible sources of information.

4. Magazines to read are 'Art News,' 'Apollo,' 'L'Oeil' and 'Connaissance des Arts.'

5. The most informative bibliography is 'Enfant Terrible - The Life and World of Maurice Utrillo, V.' by Peter De Polnay, published by Morrow and Company in 1969.

The obscure entry to the Cour Damoye at Bastille.

6. If you can read French, there is the incredible book titled 'Folie?' by Jean Fabris, published in Paris in 1992 by Galerie Petrides and SPADEM.

7. Also see the 'official' Web site - in French - which has an English version 'under construction.'

Doing all of the above won't get your 'Utrillo' authenticated of course; but it should give you an idea of how to begin to go about it.

If you are in Paris, a visit to the Musée du Vieux Montmartre at 12. Rue du Cortot is necessary if you want to feel close to Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo. Auguste Renoir also used the same location as an atelier.

The exhibition 'La Vie de Bohème' is currently on view at the Musée Utrillo-Valadon until 14. February 2001, in Sannois in the Val d'Oise. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 17:00, and on Fridays until 18:30. Infotel.: 01 39 98 21 44.

'Original' Posters

On Friday I was poking around the Bastille looking for some color for photos when I noticed an entry to a 'cour' I'd never seen before. The entry to the Cour Damoye isn't easy to spot because it is wedged between two big cafés.

This is on the side of Bastille between the Boulevard Richard Lenoir and the Rue de la Roquette. Aove the arched entry a neon sign says 'Bar Cocktail' and only a lower awning has 'Cour Damoye' on it.

Continued on page 2...
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