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A Jewish Childhood- Musee Marmottan Monet Marie Laurencin Retrospective
Thursday, 25 July 2013 18:44

Wonder of wonders. With just two buses, I can get all the way on the edge of Paris to this wonderful museum. I take the 63 Bus to the end of the line. Everyone gets off the bus and I ask the bus driver if he knows where the museum is. He tells me in French ‘he's on his break, don't bother him’. A woman on the street hears him and offers to point me in the right direction. We cross the busy street and on our left there is a park, the Bois de Boulogne, tout droit, straight ahead and just follow the road. I do and my footsteps begin to get the rhythm on the pavement of one that has been here before, last year for the retrospective of Berthe Morisot. One foot in front of the other and at a certain point, I cross the street taking me away from the park. At the end of a long block, voila. Here is the museum 2, rue Louis Boilly, 16th arrondisement.

Originally a hunting lodge on the edge of Bois de Boulogne, it was purchased by Jules Marmottan in 1882, and converted into a museum in 1934.

When I first heard of this 92-piece retrospective of Laurencin's work, I recalled seeing some of her paintings at Musee D'Orsay and also at L'Orangerie, downstairs, Monet's water lilies above. I even bought a postcard of her work.

I enter the museum. I find out that Laurencin was born in Paris in 1883 and died June 8, 1956 at 72 of a heart attack. Letters to her by Guillaume Apollinaire placed over her heart, dressed in white holding a rose in the other hand. I remember her name appearing in THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS in the 1903-1907 Section. Gertrude Stein remembers when she first met the two of them, Apollinaire and Laurencin. In the book Stein who everyone called Gertrude Stein notes, "They were an extraordinary pair. Marie Laurencin was terribly near sighted and of course she never wore eyeglasses, no French woman and few French men did in those days. She used a lorgnette."

Marie Laurencin who everyone called Marie Laurencin told Gertrude Stein, who according to the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, that everyone called Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein, that she primarily painted portraits because she was a Clouet, a famous family of royal portrait painters. Gertrude Stein goes on to explain about the relationship between mother and daughter in Marie Laurencin's family. You will find it on P.61 of the autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Click here: Marie Laurencin Prints and Posters at

The painter married a German after her mother's death and moved to Spain where she was not at all prolific in her work.

Marie Laurencin was friendlier with writers than she was with painters. Writers who were her friends included, Paul Valery, Paul Leautaud, Andre Gide, Jean Giraudoux, Paul Morand and St.-John Perse.

Return soon to read more about this exceptional artist's impact and thank you for reading my Jewish Childhood Blog.