Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Once upon a time, there was a Sex-Shop (former café) on La Place Pigalle that was as cute as a cottage from Hansel and Gretel. I never passed it without marvelling at its unusually pointed roof and the odd shaped buildings behind it. The forms intrigued me as did the name - NARCISSE. Shabby and vain, I thought. It was there for me to paint. Pigalle is a pretty hot district.  I thought if I set my easel up across from the famous fountain that once separated Paris from La Commune de Montmartre I wouldn't be bothered. Almost immediately, I was surrounded by a group of cops who were stopping motorists randomly to check their papers. They didn't ask me for mine. At the time, I was sans papiers. The police were ravi with my tableau. I was not and decided that it could only work if it were a night scene. I finished the painting by street lighting after sundown.
Narcisse is still on my wall. This site historique had a hell of a fire. It was torn down to make way for a super sleek structure with a slight resemblance to the prior form.  The super elite restaurant the first tenant  had in mind never got off the ground. There is a penthouse with an enormous balcony facing north.No flowers. Trees. Weeping willows. I recently learned that on this very spot, the cafè, was where many  great painters and poets hung-out at the beginning of the last century including Monet, Bonnard, Appolinaire, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Degas's famous "Absinthe" was painted there when it was called Café de la Nouvelle Anthène.  I was amazed by the number of artists who have painted on this very place. The list is long. I'm on it.

2014 Presently it is a well functioning organic grocery store

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