A quick update on the case of the written-off Princess, but I’m afraid there is not much news. As regular readers of my blog will know, I was knocked off said Princess (my Pashley Princess Sovereign) as I cycled round a roundabout, the Princess was written off, and the driver of the car that did the damage drove off without stopping. This was in November, and I have not heard from the Police since they (eventually) took my statement in March. But last week I received a letter from the solicitors, informing me that they have served a court order on the third-party’s insurers. Hopefully this means the ball is now firmly rolling on my behalf, but I fear it will still be a long time before my claim is resolved, and I can buy another Princess.
In my last post on the subject, I said I feared it would be summer before I had replacement Princess, now I think it is more likely to be winter, or autumn at the earliest. In the meantime, I still cycle, and fondly remember my lovely Princess in her prime! Awh :(
Exciting news last week as I was picked as the final member of the Fusion Taste Team – a group of fellow bloggers and social media users, trying out recipe challenges set by World Foods using their products.
This tantalising hamper of goodies arrived last week, containing everything needed to get started on the challenges. In no time at all I had donned the World Foods Fusion of Flavours apron and was happily (or crazily?) brandishing that lethal looking cleaver and making “Hi-Yaaah” sounds.
As I am the last in the team, I am playing catch-up with the challenges, but watch this space for the first one – Pad Thai.
Last Wednesday, I popped into a charity shop I had not been in before, and was very glad I did, as I found this week’s Magpie Monday purchase (it doesn’t matter that I bought it on a Wednesday does it?)
I was delighted with this large, beautifully-framed print of Auguste Rodin’s Danseuse cambodgienne de face, 1906. I love all of Rodin’s drawings of Cambodian dancers, and even have a box of writing paper with one on (see below left)!
The framed print cost £8 in the charity shop, and looks like it came from the Musée Rodin, Paris, judging by the stamp (see above, centre). I bought a print from the Musée Rodin in the past, which I think was about £20 and that was over fifteen years ago, and was unframed, so if you add the cost of framing on top, I think you will agree this is a great bargain at £8!
Rodin’s drawings interest me in many ways, not least because of the artist’s connections with Vienna. Rodin was a corresponding member of the Vienna Secession, and was a regular contributor to the group’s annual exhibitions from 1898. In the 9th Secession exhibition of 1901, Rodin had several major sculptures on show in the central room, including his Burghers of Calais, Balzac, and Eve.
Rodin was very influential in Vienna’s artistic circles – you can definitely see some similarities between his drawings and those of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele – and perhaps was influenced himself by Klimt. I love the story, reported by the journalist Berta Zuckerkandl, of Rodin’s visit in 1902 to Vienna’s amusement park, the Prater, in the company of Klimt. As the pair listened to an orchestra playing Schubert (at Klimt’s request), surrounded by attractive women:
‘Rodin leaned over to Klimt and said: “I have never before experienced such an atmosphere – your tragic and magnificent Beethoven fresco; your unforgettable, temple-like exhibition, and now this garden, these women, this music [...] and round it all this gay, childlike happiness [...]. What is the reason for it all?” And Klimt slowly nodded his beautiful head and answered only one word, “Austria”.’
(cited in Tag Gronberg, Vienna, City of Modernity, 1890-1914, (2007) p.81)
Another reason that I am interested in Rodin’s Cambodian dancers drawings, is that one of the topics that fascinates me is the relationship between modernist art and non-Western culture, particularly in the age of colonialism and imperialism. Rodin first saw the Cambodian dancers in Paris in July 1906, where they visited as part of the first state visit by King Sisowath of Cambodia (Cambodia had been a French colony since 1887). The dancers had been performing at the Colonial Exhibition in Marseille, and Rodin followed them back there, where he spent less than a week producing around 150 drawings and watercolours.
The drawings are so delicate yet full of life, and it seems strange to me that such things of beauty are connected with the perhaps not so beautiful practice of displaying non-Western peoples, especially from the colonies, as ‘live exhibits’ in colonial exhibitions, and other large-scale international exhibitions, across Europe. Austria, despite having no colonial holdings abroad, was no stranger to this phenomenon. Between 1872 and 1910, 48 such ‘people shows’ (‘Völkerschauen‘) took place in Vienna, mostly in the Prater. Some of my older magpie finds are postcards from the Ethiopian Village at Vienna’s First International Hunting Exhibition of 1910.
Apologies for the history lesson, but I thought I would explain why I like my Magpie Monday find so much! Plus it looks great on the wall of my study :) Please pop over to Missie Lizzie’s blog to see the rest of today’s pickings.