Thursday, September 3, 2015

Walking the "Lost Generation" Art Deco

Me with Martha’s daughter-in-law Rebecca
There's more than just writers on my "Lost Generation" Montparnasse literary walking tour, and one of my recent walkers shows us why.  She is Martha Bardach, a retired photo editor, whose eye for the significant architectural detail is as sharp as ever.  This we shall see in Le Select, La Coupole, the former Dingo, and the Closerie des Lilas, haunts of Hemingway, and many other writers in the Art Deco days of the 1920s. And, oh yes, there's a glimpse of me in action!

No less than four scenes are set in the cafe Le Select in Ernest Hemingway's first novel The Sun Also Rises, published in 1926, just a year after the cafe opened.

The massive cafe and restaurant La Coupole opened on December 27th, 1927, and has been popular with writers and everyone else ever since. Josephine Baker used to parade among the tables with her pet cheetah Chiquita in a diamond leash and collar.

A Pillar Fresco
Local Montparnasse artists volunteered to paint frescos on the pillars in exchange for meals.

In May 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald first met Ernest Hemingway at this literary relic, the old wooden bar at the then-Dingo American Bar, now the Auberge de Venise.  Hem writes about their encounter (not very kindly) in A Moveable Feast.

Right: The Closerie des Lilas, Hemingway's writing headquarters when he lived down the street from 1924 to 1926.

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