Dear Frenchly Readers,
Years and years ago, when I lived in Paris, I used to go to the Musée Rodin to draw. I liked to sit outside with a raspberry Linzer tart, my sketchbook and some charcoal. I have no idea where those drawings went, and I can’t really place images of them in my memory; I have just some vague recollections of studies. But I do remember the feeling of being in the museum garden, surrounded by sculptures, and how manageably small and yet largely transcendent a moment there could feel. I have always been a person with limited museum tolerance. Traipsing through the entire Louvre or Prado has never been my thing. I get fatigued by the enormity of it all. But a small dip and then going back to see a few things once more, like one of my favorite sculptures in the world, Suzanne au Bain, in the Louvre, is totally my style. I like getting in and out; that is how I best imbibe. I take in art like a hummingbird sips at my scarlet runner bean flowers in August.
Which brings me to this: Last weekend, I spent a wonderful hour walking through the Yale University Art Gallery. I saw things again I’d seen once before and loved: Barkley Hendricks’ double portrait, APB’s (Afro-Parisian Brothers); 2 tiny Dali’s; a sunny, yellow Frankenthaler; two pulsating Rothkos. And then things I never saw before: a Magritte of green apples levitating from a bowl on a black background, called “The Principle of Archimedes;” a Mondrian of a sunset over the ocean; a Jean-Michel Basquiat diptych of ankle anatomy, body parts, a dog and other Basquiat-ey chaos; a lush golden tapestry made by a Ghanaian artist out of bottle caps and pieces of soda cans; a hairy man-creature with what looked like a trash can on his head made by an artist named Nick Cave (not the singer); an oil on wood by the French artist Jean Arp; two beautiful still lives by Giorgio Morandi; a Matisse sculpture. Though I could have spent hours and hours, I had only a little time. But that time was transformative; I drove home thinking about what I had seen. That is the incredible power of art.
With that in mind, I want to share a list by Catherine Rickman of 7 small Paris art museums where you can go have a wonderful, incandescent, small and not overwhelmingly museum-ey experience. And if you’re in the mood for lunch, this piece from Philip Ruskin about places to lunch in incredibly lovely museum gardens is eye candy, even if you never get off the ground in Newark. Check them both out and have a feast for your eyes and imaginations.
Cook, watch & read ce weekend (Cuisiner, regarder et lire):
Ok, you say: But get to what’s really exciting today! Yes, we have a new and long-awaited Rue du Soleil. Karen and her husband, Jerrod, got sick with Covid and she had to take October off. Now, she is back. And back en forme. In this essay, she examines her relationships with smokers, smoking and ashtrays—all through the lens of visiting the French approximation of a rummage sale.
We also have pastry classes where you can learn to make mille-feuille like a pro; instructions for a French cheese platter (did you know you never need more than 3 or 4?—folks, we’ve been way overachieving on our cheese plates); Andrea Meyer‘s interview with a young feature film director, Dina Amer, about her first film, You Resemble Me (this movie is a knock out—seriously amazing); a new book review for Bouquin by Debra Spark about a new graphic novel; and French pastry hacks for frozen croissant dough to feed a house full of holiday guests. Wow. Our cup seriously runneth over this week.
Now, I have an 8-year old’s birthday party to conjure this weekend and a chocolate cake with caramel frosting and maple candies to decorate so I am going to wrap this up. Julie Powell, the writer who wrote Julie & Julia, died, as you probably know. Very weird/scary story—she was only 49. All I can think is, was it all that butter and cream she cooked with? (Oh gosh, I need to get my cholesterol checked!)
I started watching the Magpie Murders this week on PBS Masterpiece. I love the actress, Lesley Manville, whom you might recognize from Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. Also, I started this new show, Inside Man, with David Tennant and Stanley Tucci. (Did you ever watch Around the World in 80 Days staring Tennant and based on the Jules Verne book?) Inside Man is creepy but it’s got an incredible cast and the acting and storytelling are top notch; it reminds me a bit of Breaking Bad. Guys: The Crown starts next week, on the 9th—that will surely make for some late nights and even those of us too old and busy to binge will likely….do just that.
Lastly, I tested these roast potatoes with parmesan this week—very good. I followed the comments more than the recipe, truth be told; you should, too.
Have a good start to November!
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