One of the joys of Paris is its cosmopolitan nature. There are ways in which it seems to live apart from the flow of everyday life, a fairytale quality, if you will. New York City has some of this, but NYC is a modern story, a bit grim and dystopian, a 20th and 21st century creation. Paris is an older story, not too old, but given a Victorian-era gloss by those of us – everyone now – who is too young to remember the real Victorian era. Some places should exist out of time, and Paris does this in certain aspects; these places provide a steady source of inspiration.

In the aftermath of the Paris shootings, I thought I would post two works of French art, which, like all good art, is not limited solely to works created by people born in France. First, a native Frenchman, Claude Monet:

Rue Saint-Denis in Paris, Celebration of 30 June 1878 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen

Rue Saint-Denis in Paris, Celebration of 30 June 1878
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen

Next, an immigrant, Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky was born in Russia, came to artistic prominence in Germany, went back to Russia briefly then, disenchanted by the Soviet experiment, returned to Germany, to teach at the Bauhaus until the Nazis shut it down. The final years of his life and work came in France. Paris is still home to many artists, as it was when Picasso and Gertrude Stein lived there; it is also home to a great deal of art, from public statuary to the massive collections of The Louvre. Cities rise and fall like the tide, and while Paris is no longer the capital of the art world, it is still important, still vital, and brings with it all the joys and dangers importance and vitality can offer.

Composition X, 1939

Composition X, 1939, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

I felt the need to say something about Paris – something simple, as a lot of over-thinking is taking place. At times like these people re-examine the meaning of things, seeking explanations or safety. Cities, nations, civilizations might come and go, but art remains. It is the bow of the ship cresting each wave, and the wake left behind. It is my inspiration and my solace. Peace to you at last, Paris. Peace to us all.


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