I don’t even eat McDonald’s in America, and yet something about the French menu is pretty intriguing. How much fun is it to say “Le Croque McDo”?? I know it’s probably sacrilege to go to Paris and eat at McDonald’s, but if I don’t tell anyone, will it count? McBAGUETTE.
For a slim $2.5 million, this 870 sq. ft. apartment in Saint-Germain could be yours. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and gets tons of sunlight from its 13 windows with three different exposures. I love the pale wood floors and the tiny bedroom with ceiling beams. The gray, cream, and lavender color palate is pretty fantastic. One day.
This is by far one of the less flashier art heists I’ve covered; there was no brazen, caught-on-camera theft, no suave criminals dressed as security guards smashing display cases. But it was by far the biggest haul I’ve read about: over 400 (FOUR HUNDRED) drawings, sketches, and watercolors were stolen from the home of Picasso’s step-daughter, Catherine Hutin-Blay, over a two year period between 2005 and 2007. She is the only child of Picasso’s second wife, and inherited her mother and step-father’s house in Vauvenargues, France upon their deaths, along with an unbelievable collection of Picasso’s works. She only became aware of the theft in 2011, when a gallery in Paris contacted for authentication before a sale of one of the pieces. “I went to the filing cabinet to check that the artworks were still there and they were no longer there,” Ms Hutin-Blay told the French newspaper Le Parisien. “That is what triggered everything.”
‘Everything’ now includes a full investigation of the theft, with focus on Freddy Munchenbach, a handyman she hired during the time the pieces are thought to have gone missing. A neighbor, Sylvie Baltazart-Eon (the daughter of Picasso’s late art dealer, apparently everyone who knew Picasso lives in the same town), noticed some pieces of her own collection were missing, too. The women were able to deduce the thing they had in common: the handyman.
Now, I’m sorry, maybe I’m not as worldly or related-to-Picasso, but isn’t a stash of irreplaceable art something you’d check on more frequently than every few years? I know I’m anxious in general, but I sometimes have panic attacks at work about where I stashed a specific scarf at home. I’m not victim-blaming here, but if a gallery in a different city has to alert you to a theft that occurred in your own home more than four years previous, maybe you’re not being careful enough?
All 400 pieces are only valued at 1 to 2 million euro total, a weirdly low sum (that’s only €5,000 per piece as compared to the millions his works usually bring in at auction). To date, 22 of the 400 pieces have been recovered.
I vacillate pretty regularly between wanting a stark, sleek all-white modern home, and something that looks like this. My dad’s apartment was stuffed with books and paintings (though it resembled the middle picture more than the other two) and while I know they’re a magnet for dust and a fire hazard and a total pain to move in heavy boxes, nothing is more attractive to me than thousands of books stacked against one wall (or three, or four). I don’t think I could live without having the overwhelming urge to dust everything, but right about now I want to curl into the top photo and stay there for a while.
What do these four paintings have in common? They were all painted between 1850 and 1900, were all made by Europeans, and are all oil on canvas. But that’s not what they have in common for me. All of these paintings appear in one way or another in my book. I’ve been frustratingly mum with details, so let me give you this: 14 paintings are stolen from Sotheby’s Paris, and the search to recover them leads our heroine into some interesting situations. I told you I had a thing for art heists. That she works in a gallery, for the wife of an artist who has connections to the thief, means she gets caught up in the mystery (and a potential romance, of course) fairly quickly. The magic for me has been writing the story of how each painting came to Sotheby’s in the first place, who brought them, how they came to acquire them, what each painting looked like. Early versions of these were among the missing paintings, save for the Modigliani; the first time Mirette meets Sylvie she likens her to the woman in the painting: alabaster skin and dark hair, her high, haughty cheekbones, and shrewd stare.
E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Did I know this was going to be the major plot line of the novel when I started? Absolutely not. Am I beyond thrilled this was waiting for me around the bend? Absolutely, yes.
I came across this quote in an essay by Stacy Schiff in, you guessed it, “Paris Was Ours” and laughed out loud. Every sort of creative understands the guilt associated with not spending your entire day producing something or working towards your artistic goal. I think in Paris I could forgive myself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Paris recently (when am I not), but maybe that’s because I watched “Midnight in Paris” again on Saturday, for what I’m sure has to be the 150th time. Oh, that movie. Oh, that city! The soundtrack is particularly magical, too, and I think Jamal and I have decided to have everyone walk down the aisle to this song (ourselves included, since we are escorting each other down as a symbol of unity), “Parlez-moi d’Amour”:
I’d prefer it if someone could just play the entire soundtrack during the ceremony and cocktail hour, back to back with the “Amélie” soundtrack. Maybe I just need to hire an accordion player? If I could hire an accordion player to follow me around everywhere, that would be great.
Chicago-based photographer Clarissa Bonet’s “City Space” project blew me away. From her website: “City Space is an ongoing photographic exploration of the urban environment and my perception of it.” Makes me want to go to Chicago (can you believe I’ve never been?) or pick up my own camera again. Another year, another abandoned 365 project. Womp womp.
Thanks to the lovely Mills at Heron + Hibou, I came across these aerial photos of Paris taken on Bastille Day. If you don’t think I wept hysterically, well, then, you don’t know me at all. The shot of the Île Saint-Louis makes my heart leap; it’s the tiniest island in the middle of the Seine when you’re standing on it, and yet it looks so jam packed and incredible from the sky. Oh Paris, mon cœur.
I’m excited to announce the winner of the Shabby Apple Giveaway is….
Maurin! Congrats, girl! Thanks to everyone who entered!
Have you guys heard of Kate Spade’s new brand Saturday? That’s where both the mug and skirt came from for this set. They have some of the cutest, funkiest stuff over there. Scarves, notebooks, customizable weekend bags. Patterns galore, which aren’t necessarily my cup of tea (or multi-colored striped mug, in this case), but still totally works for the purposes of this Two of a Kind. See more here.
PS. Have you entered the Shabby Apple giveaway yet?? You only have until midnight tonight to leave a comment on THIS POST to be eligible to win a $50 gift certificate!