Kiki de Montparnasse, Immortal yet Forgotten Queen—Part II

Portrait by Kees Van Dongen

Last week I introduced readers to the larger-than-life Kiki de Montparnasse. Kiki was a flamboyant artist’s model and muse of many notable painters, sculptors, and photographers living in Paris during les années folles, or 1920s. Born into poverty and abandoned by her parents, Kiki found herself alone on the streets…

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Kiki de Montparnasse, Muse of A Thousand Faces — Part I

Photo of Kiki by Pablo Gargallo

There are many reasons why I love my public library and high on the list is its world language section. Over the years, regularly browsing the French stacks, I’ve often noticed the book Kiki de Montparnasse, by Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet. For whatever reason, the cover blurb never managed…

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Fanciful Visions of Notre Dame’s Reconstruction

Christophe Pinguet, Que la lumière soit

Earlier this month, and more than a year after a disastrous blaze nearly caused Notre Dame’s total collapse, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the ancient cathedral’s spire will be reconstructed in its previous form. This declaration may seem a bit overdue. However, much has transpired since flames engulfed, then toppled,…

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Recent News from the World of Wine Forgery

Old wine bottles

Last summer I wrote a post about Rudy Kurniawan, perhaps the world’s greatest wine forger. His story is told in both a Netflix documentary, Sour Grapes, and an award-winning book, In Vino Duplicitas. Kurniawan, a young and charismatic wine collector who scammed wealthy wine collectors out of millions, makes a…

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Two Very Different but Excellent Podcasts

The Dying Gaul

The summer months have me outside on most days, working to restore my garden after years of my son’s punishing soccer drills. As I water, weed, trim, and thin, I like to listen to podcasts. I recently discovered two of the historical variety that I thoroughly enjoyed. In each recording,…

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