Friday, July 25, 2008

Not so "square" Roland!


Things are pretty rough at the moment on my side so I went back to Montmartre for a walk around the vineyards (it's the green part, in the background) and I came across this little square, named after Roland Dorgelès, a French journalist and writer who became famous after a hoax: he attached a brush to the tail of a donkey, made it paint "something", called the painting "Sunset over the Adriatic" signed it by the donkey's name anagram Boronali (first name Joachim-Raphaël!) and managed to exhibit the "masterpiece" at an art show in 1910! It sold for 400 francs (1 400 of today's euros) apparently.

57 comments:

  1. And I wonder what this masterpiece would be worth today! Very clever.

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  2. No, seriously -- it says Eric posted this at 12:01, and yet I managed to be GF at 12:27? Waaay too easy.

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  3. Hey! I've been refreshing since the top of the hour! What gives?

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  4. Was the hoax part that the donkey never slapped the paint on the canvas? Or that the donkey did it, but it was attributed to a mystery human?

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  5. Both, I think. (or, rather, I think the donkey actually did "paint" the canvas, but without giving it a whole lot of thought -- he was just swatting flies.)

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  6. And did Roland say "The donkey did it" or "I did it", knowing that his tail slapping donkey did it?

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  7. That is a good story Eric...
    I bet it looked better than the works by Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin!

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  8. That is way cool. I just love this story. The painting is actually pretty good I think. And the donkey has such a cute name. 400 francs was a good price for a "first" painting in 1910.

    Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime "The Red Vineyard". This painting sold in Brussels for 400 Francs only a few months before his death. They say that Van Gogh painted approximately 1600 paintings during his life.

    And they of course, there are cats that paint. BTW Lynnie, have you seen your kitty stalker lately?

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  9. Paintings done by elephants have been sold at the elite auction houses such as Christie's and shown in museums and galleries around the world. Now the rising stars in the elephant art world have their own dedicated art gallery on the Internet, at www.novica.com. Elephant paintings at this site sell for around $300. I like the one titled Peaceful Flower.

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  10. Man, I can't even understand what I was trying to say -- maybe it was "And, of course, there are cats that paint."

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  11. Merz! Or is it Merde! I'm sure Reine Guille could explain that art movement. (Although, the donkey splash is not bad.)

    I do believe that the Lapin Agile cabaret is across the intersection. Above this sign for Square Roland Dorgeles is a sidewalk, elevated above the street. The hill is very steep there and the sidewalk is somewhat level, going around the corner. In the movie "Paris Blues", there is a scene where Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are walking up the hill in front of Lapin Agile, and above this sign, Sidney Portier and Dianne Carol are standing standing on the sidewalk watching them.

    I am sorry things are rough, mon ami. Je comprends, quelquefois la vie est un ours affamè. Let it growl. Stay away from its teeth and claws. I think Montmartre is a good place to hide.

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  12. I love hearing this story, Eric. And Jeff, thank you so much for giving us a visual of that scene in Paris Blues. Now I have a new film to look for in which Paris shares a starring role.
    All the best to you, Eric. I'm glad you got out for a walk, and in such a lovely, steep part of town!

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  13. I don't know what Eric's work entails, or any of his other concerns for that matter, but I hope this blog isn't just another yoke around his neck. Three years of unfailing publication, 7 days a week, is monumental.

    How about a sort of "vacation"? Permission to post a week of, say, doorknobs, with one line of text attributing it to a neighborhood, and done?

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  14. uselaine -- I think you are a very unselfish person. And I think Eric should consider your offer, if he wants to. I agree w/you -- what he does really is above and beyond.

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  15. The painting is quite good! Very interesting story.

    I hope you things work out soon, Eric!

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  16. What a great story! It really brightened my day.

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  17. Fun story about the donkey--I've seen an elephant paint a t-shirt, does that count?

    I'm sorry things in your life are rough right now, but I'm glad you have such a lovely place to walk and consider them. We can't thank you enough for showing us so much of Paris. Sometimes I forget that you don't lead the charmed life we see on the blog page, but that you're human like the rest of us! Forgive us if we take you for granted and we want you to know you are appreciated so very much!! (I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say that!!) :)

    Hope you have a lovely Friday!

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  18. Things are rough with me today too Eric. I am hoping tomorrow we both wake up to a better day!
    Meanwhile you were smart to take a walk and still find a way to entertain us-thanks

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  19. Eric, enjoyable commentary. So that's what it takes to get a square named after you. Good for Roland D! I think with your blog dedication a square in your name is in order, too. Get well soon.

    Lois...thanks for the art lesson. As I've mentioned to you, one day I'd like to take up the brush, but at present I'm still at the "chalk on the sidewalk" phase. Plus, it's not too motivating to be outpainted by a donkey's art end...so to speak.

    Alexa...you do look good in the GF crown! I want you to know I had it professionally waxed and buffed by a donkey's tail before I handed it back. It radiates rainbows now!

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  20. Jeff...you painted the movie scene splendidly. Bravo! I've strolled with friends in this area and it is historically cool. At the time, I hadn't known about "Paris Blues." I'm interested in checking it out now. Merci! I bet you're getting jazzed about the Chicken on the Car and the Car won't Go Jazz Festival! Lucky you. My green with envy paint is running.

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  21. The Phoenix, Arizona zoo had an elephant named Ruby who the set up to do painting after painting, which she apparently loved to do.

    Ironic that both donkeys and elephants do paintings, as in the USA, the donkey is the symbol of the Democratic party and the elephant is the symbol of the Republican party. My guess is that would make the elephant paintings cost a lot more, but the donkey paintings would have more appeal to the masses of working people.

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  22. Myself along with many of the above would like to thank Eric and wish him all the best regarding his present travails. And to express how impressed I am with Jeff's prodigious perspicacity placing Parisian perambulations.

    As to Roland Dorgelès I'd say he was quite a guy and I am looking forward to reading someday his book "Wooden Crosses," but having looked at "Sunset over the Adriatic" it is obvious that the hoax was a bit of a hoax itself. Let's just say that Boronali may have put the finishing touches on a painting. Did a twitching and swaying donkey tail fill in solid blocks of blue and yellow separated by a perfectly level horizon line? Of course it did! That's what Roland Dorgelès said, isn't it?

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  23. Coltrane:
    "...I had it professionally waxed and buffed by a donkey's tail before I handed it back..."
    I'm in stitches!!!
    Are you going to charge the GFs (aka Alexa, Uselaine and Cali) 400 something to let them wear it?

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  24. Now, now. We just have a time zone advantage. Don't hate us because we're awake (sneaking a mid-afternoon work break in my case).

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  25. Do you think this is where "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" comes from?? Ohhhh. nevah mynd...it's pin the paintbrush on the donkey! Have been so busy, but love the Paris Plage photo of 22 juillet!! Sooooper!!

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  26. he he good on Roland! What a scam.

    So sorry to hear that things are rough, Eric. I walk in beautiful places too when i need to think; it helps. I send you a special Lynn kiss. x

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  27. Eric, I am sending happy thoughts & wishes your way! ;) Take care, sweetie!

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  28. Eric

    I look at your site every day and am amazed at how dedicated you are to keeping us all entertained. I'm sure that nobody would complain if you needed to take a few days off to re-charge. I daresay that you've got many brilliant stock photos that people can appreciate.

    All the best

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  29. Rose...let's let the donkey decide on the GF crown cleaning charges. I will say that he does work cheaper than the Karate Kid.
    ;-)

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  30. Wow -- now there's a shiny crown! Thanks Coltrane. I am proud to wear it. And perhaps the whole "donkey factor" will keep la petite Reine Guille from feeling the need to claim it every day. ;~>

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  31. I think the donkey does pretty good work....for a donkey.
    Eric, I am making the crew wait for me as I found an internet cafe here in Bellagio, Italy. Does that show my dedication? My addiction? Hope this shows you one more person WHO CAN'T live without these photos and special places you find.

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  32. Eric, Elaine's right: you don't have to post something fabulous every day. A Parisian doorknob would make me very happy. And Christie's right: we're all so grateful. Although Christie, I'm not sure you're right that Eric's human like the rest of us, because I can't imagine how he does this. Except he does have Paris.

    It is nice to think that after living in Paris--how long have you lived there, Eric?--you can still discover something new, as it seems maybe Square Roland Dorgeles was to you this day.

    Eric, Katie (of Berkeley, Katiefornia) is in Pasadena today, visiting because she enjoyed my blog, which I started because of you. There are hundreds like us. We're having lunch with Pont Girl and Carrie and maybe Tall Gary today, because of you. We'll send you all the good vibes we can muster!

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  33. Hi Eric, guess where I am???? I have a contract job in Silicon Valley for the next three or four months. Remember Silicon Valley? I don't know my way around here. I am taking the Stanford shuttle from the CalTrain. A women came up to me while I was waiting for the shuttle, and asked me directions. She said she was new here, and that she was from France. hahahahaha Talk about the blind leading the blind. We wondered down the street -- I tried to point her in the right direction -- I hope she made it. I told her I was new here too; however, I am learning. Have a wonderful weekend Eric. Catch up on your zzzzzzzz! bisous

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  34. That's the best painting by an ass I've seen so far!

    Your rough week is over. Hope your weekend is much better.

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  35. Sorry to hear that, Eric. Hang in there!

    As to the donkey story, I love it! It's a great story, and a gentle nudge to all the people and artists who take themselves too seriously. ;)

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  36. but I hope this blog isn't just another yoke around his neck. Three years of unfailing publication, 7 days a week, is monumental. How about a sort of "vacation"? Permission to post a week of, say, doorknobs, with one line of text attributing it to a neighborhood, and done?

    You know, I have to agree with Elaine, here. Personally, I think you should put this blog on a week-vacation, never mind the door knobs, just turn off the computer a while and get some sleep!

    I realize that this may be an unpopular comment, and I'm sorry about that, but let's face it, guys, 3 years of non-stop daily posting, I mean come on!!! Everybody deserves a few days off!! We'll all be here when you get back, you know. Think about it, Eric.

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  37. Coltrane
    Let me be in charge of the crown polishing charges. You give me a commission -lets say 60% - and I will take of all...
    By the way...have you got a donkey? If not, I have one for sale 400 Euros...

    Alexa
    It is lovely to know that other people love PDP "almost" as much as me ;)! lol

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  38. Christie, yes, you do speak for me too! :)

    "in the USA, the donkey is the symbol of the Democratic party and the elephant is the symbol of the Republican party. My guess is that would make the elephant paintings cost a lot more, but the donkey paintings would have more appeal to the masses of working people."
    LOL, David, good one!! :)

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  39. Tall Gary: "And to express how impressed I am with Jeff's prodigious perspicacity placing Parisian perambulations."

    Merci beudeugeudeu!

    Coltrane: The whatchit wizzit chicken? Maybe I need to read the news...?

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  40. Here's some fun I had in the local newspaper:

    http://www.startribune.com/opinion/letters/25875149.html?location_refer=Letters:highlightModules:2

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  41. USElaine. Well more that the donkey did it, but it was attributed to a mystery human, I guess.


    Rose. "I bet it looked better than the works by Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin!" LOL!

    Lois "That is way cool. I just love this story. " I knew you would ;)

    David "Now the rising stars in the elephant art world have their own dedicated art gallery on the Internet, at www.novica.com. Elephant paintings at this site sell for around $300." Thanks for the link. Why not actually? What makes the value of a painting? that it was painted by somebody famous or that it's beautiful?

    Jeff "Je comprends, quelquefois la vie est un ours affamé." I did not know the expression but I love it! Thanks for the best wishes;)

    Kim. Thank you ;)

    USElaine. "I hope this blog isn't just another yoke around his neck." At this very moment it is. But failing to post would make make more miserable! I don't know what prevents me from taking a break. My upbringing probably. "What is worth doing is worth doing well!" or "Don't start something you cannot finish"!!


    Alexa. "And I think Eric should consider your offer" You're all so sweet. I swear I will if I have to.

    Suzy. Thanks.

    Christie. "Sometimes I forget that you don't lead the charmed life we see on the blog page, but that you're human like the rest of us! " LOL. That is so true. Thank you for your consideration, I appreciate.

    Sorry to hear that Lily. The weekend is coming up, how about going away for a quick break?!


    "Grand" Gray "Myself along with many of the above would like to thank Eric and wish him all the best regarding his present travails." Thank you ;)

    Merci Lynn. Nothing serious. I'm just overwhelmed with things at the moment. I simply find it hard to get up in the morning ;) It will change, I promise!

    Misplaced Parisian. Thank you. You'll all very sweet.

    RichPainter. "I'm sure that nobody would complain if you needed to take a few days off to re-charge." You're probably right, but I can't help it. I feel like I am in the hatch in the TV series Lost and I have to punch these numbers otherwise the cave is going to collapse!

    PHX-CDG "Eric, I am making the crew wait for me as I found an internet cafe here in Bellagio, Italy. Does that show my dedication?" You're so funny;)

    Petrea"Although Christie, I'm not sure you're right that Eric's human like the rest of us, because I can't imagine how he does this. " LOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Call me Mr Spock!

    Petrea (2) "Eric, Katie (of Berkeley, Katiefornia) is in Pasadena today, visiting because she enjoyed my blog, which I started because of you. There are hundreds like us. We're having lunch with Pont Girl and Carrie and maybe Tall Gary today, because of you. We'll send you all the good vibes we can muster!" Super cool! I wish I were with you in California, right now ;)

    Lois. "I have a contract job in Silicon Valley for the next three or four months." Excellent! Where about in SV? I'm not surprised you came across a French lady, there are many, many French people in Silicon Valley.

    Thanks Cali

    Tomate. "Everybody deserves a few days off!! You must be French! LOL!!!!! Thank you, you're sweet.

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  42. Doorknobs, handles, push plates, latches - they are a fascinating universe unto themselves. So many hands, so little time. And French ones! Ooo-lala!

    Here's a thought. As you go through your day tomorrow, photograph each one as you come to it in the course of your ordinary activities - just once per door will be fine. Then load them into the Blogger scheduler in the order you encountered them. So it might go: My Bathroom Knob; My Front Door Knob; Elevator Button; My Street Door Handle; My Garden Gate Latch; My Car Handle; My Office Building Push Plate; Porky's Restaurant Push Plate; Men's Room Push Plate; ... you get the idea. The more knobs you can photograph in one day, the more days you can pre-load for! Then sit back and relax while we scramble to our screens each day to fall in love with you more and more!

    May you sleep the sleep of the innocent, dear man.

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  43. uselaine hears nothing but the sound of crickets chirping...

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  44. Eric, "Where about in SV?" 1400 Page Mill Road, I'm in a Stanford building. I can see the Stanford campus landmark building straight ahead. "...there are many, many French people in Silicon Valley." So I've noticed. Sitting in front of me on the CalTrain the other day was a Frenchmen talking on his phone (in French) while working on his laptop (multi-tasking). Hey! It's a French invasion ;-) A man who sits in the cube next to me in the office said yesterday, "I feel overwhelmed". Hmmmm, gee, that sounds familiar. I told him that he wasn't alone. He really looked beat.

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  45. Eric, just load this into your template for a day or two and get some sleep!

    Doing something well doesn't mean being obsessed! ;) We love you anyway, get some sleep! :)

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  46. I think Tomate's got the right idea. Get some rest, Eric.

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  47. Ah, there it is. So many options, so much love. If only we could do for you what you have done for us.

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  48. tomate farcie -- too funny!

    Eric, I concur with everyone. Your efforts are so appreciated by us all. But we appreciate you more!

    I'm sending good thoughts and blessings your way.

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  49. USElaine, I love your knob idea. If Eric doesn't do it, I'd be up for the USElaine Willits Knob of the Day series.

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  50. Petrea, when I'm ready to travel down to Pasadena to personally deliver "The P Files" pilot episode script, I'll pre-load a set. How's that?

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  51. Many days your blog lifts me out of my own problems and lets me relive moments spent in your wonderful city. But the others are right--take a break, recharge. We'll wait! Best wishes and happy weekend.

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