Monday, April 4, 2011

Can't Get Enough of Guimard

For all the downsides of having house guests (the laundry, the cooking, the extra people in your space), I do enjoy sharing with visitors, even those who have been to Paris many times, some of the lesser known but nonetheless interesting sites. And while there's truth to the old saying that guests, like fish, stink after three days, I was truly saddened recently that I couldn't share some of the Guimard buildings in the lower 16th with an architect friend whose family stay went by in a blink of an eye.   So to my friends in New Haven, consider this an extension of your visit!

First, you need to go back in time to August 2009 when I visited the Castel Beranger in my post Going Gaga for Guimard.  This week, I returned to that neck of the woods to get a closer look at another Guimard apartment building at 10, rue Agar.  Now I know that agar is that stuff you put in petri dishes to grow cultures, but it also turns out that Agar was an actor who lived in the quartier some 30 years before Guimard designed the building in 1911.  (Actually Agar was the stage name of Marie Léonide Charvin.  It's the French version of Hagar, which you may recognize from the Old Testament as Abraham's second wife.

In some respects, this building is less extravagant than you might have imagined.  It conforms in many ways to the more traditional Haussmanian structures around it.

But it's the little details that give it away.  The swooping lines above the doors:

The graceful ironwork:

And of course, like all great works of art, the master's signature.

If you want to take a look, take line 9 to Michel Ange Auteuil or the 52 bus to Leopold II.


Starman said...

Great photo captures. They really bring out the details.

Peter said...

Yes, this building must be observed in its details. Did you check the bistrot on the corner? It has unchanged decoration since the building was constructed. Maybe a future post?

(By the way, are you the Anne who kindly corrected a mistake or two on some of my posts? Anyhow, that was nice and useful!) :-)

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