Hidden Figures

Posted on by David Gelber

Suffering from rheumatic fever and wounded in the backside by a sniper’s bullet, Joseph Gray, the author’s great-grandfather, was invalided out of the army in 1916. A private in the 4th (Dundee) Battalion of the Black Watch, he returned to Dundee, where – after art school in South Shields – he had worked as an […]

Not a Straight Line in Sight

Posted on by David Gelber

Clients who visited the Mayfair studio of society photographer Hugh Cecil in the 1930s found themselves in a curiously exotic room. The walls were silver and the ceiling was black. Where the fireplace had once been, there was an alcove of black marble and glass. It held a statuette of a Pierrot in black and […]

Mixed Impressions

Posted on by David Gelber

Pierre-Auguste Renoir lived long enough to see himself canonised. In 1911, he was the first Impressionist artist to be accorded a full monograph study, penned by Julius Meier-Graefe. In 1915 he was filmed at home in Cagnes-sur-Mer by Sacha Guitry for the series The Great Ones Among Us, in which the 74-year-old artist appears heroically applying paint to canvas

Plenty of Sex & Nowhere to Sit

Posted on by David Gelber

For a book that is crammed with adulteries, alcoholism, betrayals, broken friendships, deportations, deprivation, drug addiction, executions, humiliation, illicit abortions, imprisonment, murder, Nazi atrocities, starvation, torture chambers (on the avenue Hoche, passers-by could hear the screams coming up from the cellars’ air vents), treason and worse, Agnès Poirier’s Left Bank is a remarkably exhilarating read. Above all, it has a terrific cast, with, as leading players, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Ponty

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