Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jour 10 – A Los Angeles Childhood – Charlotte Perriand – A Wonderful Surprise
Monday, 20 June 2011 20:12

A leisurely morning and then off to Petit Palais, the museum of beaux arts. How long does it take me to get on the wrong bus, get off, lost and then found? It was about one hour and a lot of walking.

I am now inside the Petit Palais. Charlotte Perriand, de la photographie au design. Photographs, organic materials, villiagers, people who work with their hands, hone wood and make furniture, and she gives them a revolutionary sleek style to replace what they have been building for centuries. The chrome, steel, and anodized aluminum, are totally revolutionary. This is the 1920s and she is found by Le Corbusier and engaged by him at his studio on Rue Jacob. She continues designing furniture, buildings, refuges for high mountains, her version of our small cabins.

When I first enter her exhibition, her photos of the Pantheon in Athens, which line the walls are complimented by displays of early roman relics. It seems perfect in that she believed in utilization of some natural elements against metal and noted that steel and wood is to furniture as concrete is to architecture.

Perriand used small wooden manikins to devise the shapes of furniture to see how people inhabited seating and lounging. Her revolutionary chaise-longue is still being sold and reissues of designs of her furniture are distributed by Cassina.

I am now sitting in leather and metal chairs and they truly hold my body, giving comfort and support.

There are two photographs of Perriand by the copies of her furniture that can be experienced by all of us attending this exhibit. One photo is dated 1972, Tahiti and the second one Rio, 1986. In both photos she looks totally wrapped up and joyous in life. In an interview I found online she was asked what was one of her most important rules for living. She said, “Cultivate happiness.”

When asked about her friendship with Leger, she said, “We both loved life, not its representation, but what it really is to be alive. She noted that Leger was not a man of commerce but a man of conviction.

Perriand was born in Paris October 24, 1903, and died in Paris October 27, 1999. There is an autobiography entitled, UNE VIE DE CREATION. I am going to purchase this if it is available. What an amazing woman!

After living for a moment in this greatness, all I wanted to do was get back to Luxembourg Gardens, take a leisurely walk and enjoy my experience.

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