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. Above the arched entry a neon sign says 'Bar Cocktail' and only a lower awning has 'Cour Damoye' on it.

This 'cour' was transformed into a commercial passage about a year ago. It is especially harmonious because it was developed as a unit by its unique owner, and now is fully occupied by small shops featuring glass, ceramics, engravings,photo: herve millot, grand monde poster a tea shop, a wine bar at the Rue Daval end - and Hervé Millot's 'Grand Monde' poster shop.

There are other card and poster shops in Paris, but these offer only reproductions. In contrast Hervé Millot offers a small selection of contemporary posters. Like the 'Posters of the Week' featured in Metropole, they are industrial productions - and once used for their purposes, usually disappear.

Hervé Millot sits for a minute in front of a rock concert poster.

Hervé Millot is a lot more selective than me. I find whatever is on the street in a particular week, but he looks for artistic quality. Several of times a year, he puts a thematic exhibition together. The current one features music-events posters, and it will continue until September. Cinema posters will follow.

Hervé Millot has done what I have not been able to do. His posters begin with a commercial life, and he manages to save a few before they land in the trash. And, as a collector for 30 years, he has an experienced eye for posters with above average artistic quality.

At one time, well-known artists regularly lent their talents to poster art. This practice has nearly died out. What little there is, Hervé Millot tries to get.

Although his posters are commercial productions, they are rare because the numbers available are small. The contradiction is that he cannot charge much for them.

Posters in the 40x60 cm format sell for 50 francs and the 120x160 cm ones go for 200 francs. Having them optionaly mounted on fabric costs another 500 francs, but greatly increases their stability for hanging.

Hervé Millot also restores old engravings. For posters mounted on fabric, he will remove the fold-lines, by hand - by retouching the printed dots one-by-one so they match the rest of the poster.

The Grand Monde, Cour Damoye, at 12. Place de la Bastille, Paris 11. InfoTel/Fax.: 01 48 05 51 30.

Café Metropole Club's 41th Session

I got the numbers wrong here last week - the last club meeting with the server-lady Linda Thalman handling the secretary's functions was the 40th. Last Thursday's meeting with the regular club secretary present, was number 41.

The numbers actually make little difference. Thursday was a fine day in Paris. If any club members werephoto: pavillon de l'arsenal in the city they decided to enjoy whatever it was they were doing - leaving the club secretary to compete with the club's waiter, Monsieur Ferrat, in yawning.

This resulted in an absence of exciting club 'news.' I sincerely hope you can attend the coming club meeting next Thursday, 27. July. If it looks like the weather will be fine again, I will attend with an exciting book to read. One yawning contest was enough.

While in the Bastille area, the Pavillon de l'Arsenal is worth a visit.

However, a new reader and as yet non-member, claims the 'meeting news' is not boring in this week's 'club news,' which would be boring without his email contribution.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.30 - 26. July 1999 - The week's Café Metropole column was headlined 'Hello To All This,' as Metropole resumed after its move to Paris. The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Does 'Au Bistro' Have a Future?' All these doubts! This issue had three features, titled 'Paris Looks Good - The 'Move' In Three Parts,' 'Strolling With Ernie' and 'My First Sunday Croissants.' The 'Scene' columnphoto: rue des lions saint-paul had 'Haring's Doodles' and a few other items. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'A New Joe In Town.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.30 - 27. July 1998 - The Café Metropole column hinted at fun in paradise with the title of: 'The Escargot Races.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, 'Tour fe France Bikers Go On Strike.' This issue had two features, titled 'An Unstructured Flash-Visit To the Marais' and 'Ups and Downs of Paris Nannydom' by Tracy Turner. The World Cup generated some Emails too. There four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Metro's Tour de France Entry' which was silly but free of wierd substances.

Metropole Paris' Nearly Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Although this countdown is regaining importance in France as more officials are referring more often to the beginning of the 'Third Millennium' on Monday, I. January 2001 - I cannot add more at this time because France is closed for the holidays. Effectively this means we are in the nowhere month of mid-summer; but having left the 20th century last December but not yet arrived in the 21st, something should turn up within a month. If this idea gathers momentum, start getting ready for a repeat of last year's New Year's Eve, with all the trimmings.

There are only about 160 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really fussy readers, this figure is correct. On account of this section being revived due to a perk up of interest, 206 days have gone since New Year's 2000.
signature, regards, ric

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