Hopper and Christmas Markets

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Europe » France
November 22nd 2012
Published: October 1st 2017
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The day began with a long Oscar walk in the morning, through the Tuileries and along the Seine. It was much colder and grayer today, but, the good is, Carol was feeling much better.

In late morning, we decided to just window shop along Rue du Bac (or, as the Parisians say, "Lick the windows"😉. I did end up buying some small notebooks, which I couldn't resist: Christian Lacroix's Continents. Plus a small, spiral-bound notebook which I hope to share as a people-watching journal with Kyla.

In the early evening, we went to the Grand Palais to see the Edward Hoopper exhibit. Thank goodness we had tickets, because it was very crowded. I had originally been -- not skeptical -- but surprised that an artist I think of as so quintessentially American would be so popular in Paris ... but, of course, like so many artists of his generation, he spent some time studying and working in Paris, and was very influenced by the Impressionists, and is really an "international" artist, that I should not have been surprised.

We both enjoyed the exhibit. There were some annoying things: some of their entr'acte stuff -- photographers and others who influenced or were influenced by Hopper (such as Matthew Brady) -- seemed disconnected; the flow through the galleries was awkward. But, on the whole, the sense of how his career grew was clear, and there was a wide range and variety of his works. It was a chronological exhibit, but that was fine, as you could see him develop his sense of self as an illustrator then artist. They had the classics, too: Ground Swell and Nighthawks. I was struck, having just finished reading A Moveable Feast, with the similarities between Hopper and Hemingway: the simplicity and trueness of the language, but the lyricism there, too. Perhaps some of the themes are the same as well -- that sense of isolation, of introspection, of self. Even some of the subjects were the same: like bicyclists and boats.

After the Hopper, we walked along the Champs d'Elysse, through the Christmas market. It was fun and cheery, with the people and lights and smelled of mulled wine. So we bought some warm red wine (which was so warming), and enjoyed the stalls, and watching the skaters, and listening to Bing Crosby on the loudspeaker crooning about a white Christmas. The lights of Paris are stunning; they do know how to do it well in the City of Lights.

We dined at Cafe l'Empire again, since it was close, open, reasonable, good, and we could get a small salad and tartine, which was exactly what we wanted. Then back to the flat, a quick walk with Oscar (very quick; he didn't walk to walk more than a few doors down), then really just a read and bed. Good day.

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