The “Bohèmes” Exhibition… at the Grand Palais…

"Rêverie" by Charles Amable Lenoir...

Agypsy

Atheart

Having lived… like a nomad…

In many… varied exotic lands…

I immediately identified… with the exhibition at the…

Grand Palais

Bohèmesde Léonard de Vinci à Picasso“…

The stairway of the Grand Palais...Sur la routedes Bohèmes“…

Les populations… flottantes“…

Tsiganes… Bohemians… Gypsies… Rom…

Since the 15th century…

Paris was the epicentre… the cradle of Bohemian artistry…

With the literary artistic ambience of Parisian cafés… restaurants… brasseries…

The “spectacle“… the intensity of “La vie culturelle Parisienne“… was unrivalled in Europe.

Paris became a must… for all artists in search of the heady cultural atmosphere of “Le Quartier Latin“… and “Montmartre”…

Toulouse-Lautrec… Van Gogh… Satie… Picasso… who created in abundance in their ateliers… had heated… intense discussions in their cafés…

What… were these legendary figures searching for…?

The ultimate… freedom…?

The life of… “Bohemians”…?

Because the Gypsies… the Gitanes… were the living incarnation of… “La liberté“…

Since their arrival in the West in the 15th century… the myth that is “Bohemia”… Christian migrants from the Byzantine Empire at the end of the crusades… they integrated in Western societies where they were welcomed for their knowledge of the divine… their love of spectacle… dancing… and their innate love of freedom.

"La Gitane aux seins nus"... by Henri Regnault...

As a famous Rom proverb goes…

Tu est heureux car tu es libre…”

“You are happy because you are free…”

“Bohemia”… is an ideology of a people thriving in songs…opera… such as in Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème“…  films such as “Esmeralda”… the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel “Notre-Dame de Paris“… poems… Honoré de Balzac’s “Un Prince de la Bohème“… Paul Verlaine’s “Laeti et Errabundi“… Henry Murger’s “Scènes de la Vie de Bohème“… Aristide Bruant’s “Le Chat Noir“… 

Poetic…

The Bohemian identity first appeared in the mid 19th century between Romantisicm and Realism at a time when a talented artist… romantic… mysterious… impoverished… discarded… did not seek the usual protection of a prince… became a solitary genius… a rebellious unconventional figure… often an idle womaniser or at worse a drunkard who scraped a meagre living…

Fired the imagination of poets (Baudelaire… Rimbaud… Verlaine)… painters (Courbet, Van Gogh, Satie, Picasso) not forgetting musicians who became fascinated by the courage… the so called seekers of glory…

Who risked oblivion… and even death.

The phenomena… that is “Bohèmes“… has been reactivated over the last twenty years by research in the historical background of marginal groups… migrants… nomads and the relationship between European peoples and the Romani. 

The Bohemian personality…

Has become heroic for novelists like Cervantès… as well as myriad artists like Callot… Vouet… Georges de la Tour…

Les Bohèmes...The Gypsies… have always conjured a fascination with their mysterious origins… their undeciferable language… closeness to nature and most fanstastic… their fortune-telling skills which have turned them into… characters of legend.

Their ambiguous appearances and sudden vanishing… encouraged the fantasy of their exciting… intense sensuality… and magical lifestyle… which had no boundaries… no barriers…

The ultimate… in freedom.

Not surprising for the “Bohemian” artist… to have a lot in common with this amazing breed and their Romani culture…

Free spirits… wanderors… social outcasts… elusive and shrewd… secretive misfits…

They fascinated and provoked…

Yet… enchanted…

Thrillingly… exciting…

Face-à-face“…

With the amazing paintings… at this incredibly beautiful exhibition… which includes 180 works… encompassing four centuries and fifteen themes… “Bohèmes“… testifies to the phenomenon which bridges the history of art from Leonardo da Vinci… to Picasso… and still flourishes today.

In particular… the haunting painting “Rêverie” (1893) by Charles Amable Lenoir…

And the painting of the dark haired beauty…”La Gitane aux seins nus” (1869) by Henri Regnault…

As well as the intriguing painting of the fortune teller… “Le Voeu” (1840) by Theodor von Holst…

La diseuse de bonne aventure” attributed to the school of François Boucher (1703-1770)… 

Jeune bohémian serbe” (1872) by Charles Landelle… and “Art et Liberté” (1849) by Louis Gallait…

Pour… moi“…

The paintings… were…

Enigmatic…

"Chaussures" by Van Gogh...Hypnotic…

Mesmeric…

Les belles gitanes“…

May… they…

Forever…

Fascinate…

a.

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