Simon-Auguste was a twentieth-century French painter who secured a position in the art world, in utter lack of deference to the trends of the post-war period, thanks to a sure graphic sense and a restrained, intimate sensibility.
With this year’s Heritage Days fast upon us, here is a post on one of the buildings I visited during last year’s event: the Franciscan chapel in Arcueil designed by Auguste Perret.
Hidden away and, in all appearance, a humble structure, this is a building that reveals itself on closer examination to be a marvel of simplicity and elegant logic, a true architectural lesson.
A beautiful August day was the chance for a visit to the Villa Savoye, to which I hadn’t been in years. A few weeks after my visit of the Le Corbusier show at MOMA, it was a real pleasure to connect with Corbu’s work in flesh and blood, as it were.
Paris’s identity is deeply rooted in the fact that it is a literary city. Since the days of Villon and Du Beslay, the art of the word has had a special place in this city.
The craft of writing benefits from a special aura here, a spirit that has fostered the development of generations of French talent and attracted wave after wave of foreigners.
This in turn has led the city to be particularly frequently and fondly treated in the world of letters, which has helped to forge the extraordinarily unique and powerful collective unconscious of what Paris represents, to further the myth of this Parnassus on the Seine.
After a period of spurning our cities, we are again becoming an urban nation.
For years, investments in highways, malls, and residential developments were focused on the suburbs. The infrastructure of America’s great historical cities, so often mired in fiscal difficulty, was left to decay.
Today we are seeing a resurgence of the urban spirit. We have woken again to the social benefits of city life. We appreciate the exchange and innovation, the cultural vibrancy, and the economic and environmental benefits of compact living. Large-scale development projects are underway in the city centers and city governments are again spending on urban infrastructure.