What is a Parisian café? A Renoir painting, a passage from Hemingway, a photograph by Brassao. All help to define the romantic but elusive idea that is the Parisian cafe in the minds of people the world over. The art and literature presented in this charming volume add up to a seductive presentation of the cafe experience, capturing the ideal of grace and sophisticated leisure that is the Parisian cafe. The wide range of writing from renowned authors such as Marguerite Duras, Albert Camus, M. Somerset Maugham, and Ernest Hemingway together create a vivid impression of this icon of Western, indeed, world culture. Art in a variety of media, from painting and photography to drawings, etchings, and posters from an array of artists including Brassao, Man Ray, Kertesz, Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and van Gogh complements the writings to bring the reader a complete portrait of one of the most charming aspects of the city of light.
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Val Clark is a writer and photographer who lives in Washington, DC. She frequents cafes whenever possible throughout the United States and abroad.
This little giftbook with a big price tag looks a bit like a collection of postcards, and perhaps it's too bad that it isn't: the pictures of Parisian cafes, as rendered by Manet in oils, Robert Doisneau in black and white photographs and Ludwig Bemelmans in water colors, beg to be clipped and sent off to a fellow appreciator of smoky rooms, strong coffee and copious amounts of wine. Clark offers a brief slice of the Parisian cafe's legendary history-Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Satre "practically lived" in the Cafe de Flore; Alberto Giacometti fashioned miniature sculptures in the back of a cafe called the Dome-before offering pairings of a cafe picture with a cafe-relevant quote. Paris is "the city of waiters," writes E.V. Lucas, while Henry Miller, in a letter to Anais Nin, notes that for breakfast he has "Oranges first, and then porridge at the Coupole." Neither the quotes nor the pictures are extremely interesting, but those who long for late nights in the City of Light may find something to spark their nostalgia.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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