Gdansk – 15

Interesting to see the detail about this major European city.

Julian Worker Travel Writing

The Old Town was 90% destroyed by these armies and by the Russian forces seeking to wrest Gdansk away from Nazi Germany. My understanding is that the sensitive restoration of the city after 1945 did reduce some of the Prussian influences in the architecture, but that most of the buildings looked exactly as they did before 1939. 

Drawings, paintings, and old plans were used to reconstruct whole neighbourhoods, as was the case with most Polish cities after WWII, and as I walked along each street, strolled through the parks, and admired every church I gave thanks to the restorers for making such great efforts to reproduce their city of the pre-war years. It would have been easier to build Stalinist blocks, but the planners wanted their city back as it was in early 1939. It took over 30 years to complete, but the Old Town is now old again. 

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Die Pinguine lassen mich nicht los – Zeichnung von Susanne Haun

Lovely penguins- really sweet!!

Susanne Haun

Es hört sich an als ob der nächste Salon am 29. Oktober 2019, 18 Uhr (Klick) in meinem Atelier noch in weiter Ferne scheint, jedoch weiss ich, wie schenll die Zeit vergeht und zeichne weiter an meine Afrika Impressionen.

Die Pinguine lassen mich nicht los. Die Beobachtung der Pinguine gehört zu meinen schönsten Erinnerungen an die Afrika Reise vor nun schon fast zwei Jahren. Hier ist der Link (Klick), der zum Blogbeitrag führt, in dem ich über diesen besonderen Tag berichte.

Afrika, Pinguin, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019Afrika, Pinguin, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Ich zeichne für die kleinen Arbeiten immernoch in der Größe 15 x 15 cm. Da ich meine Blätter immer voll ausnutze, muss ich mir tatsächlich einen Bleistiftrahmen dieser Größe zeichnen, damit ich innerhalb meines Passepartoutausschnitts bleibe. Das amüsiert mich etwas, vor dem Rahmen wird der Ausschnitt wieder ausradiert.

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The Liberation of Paris, 19-29 August 1944: “Images de notre délivrance” by Georges Duhamel and Claude Lepape

Inspiring time- worth recalling just now!

1On the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, we would like to talk about Images de notre délivrance (Liberation.a.7), published in December 1944 by the Editions du Pavois (the publisher in 1946 of L’Univers concentrationnaire by David Rousset, which was awarded the Renaudot prize, Liberation.c.119 and Liberation.c.918). The book, clearly of a bibliophile nature, is presented by the editor as a documentary, the result of an accidental collaboration between a writer, Georges Duhamel (1884-1966), and an artist, Claude Lepape (1913-1994), both reacting to a unique historical event:

Ce livre est un document. Il est né de la rencontre fortuite de deux sensibilités. L’Ecrivain et le Dessinateur ne se sont pas concertés, mais leurs réactions, si diverses et en même temps si proches, constituent l’un des documents les plus émouvants sur les glorieuses journées de la libération.

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Our Lady of the Nile, by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Melanie L. Mauthner

Looks very interesting!

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

This is a heart-breaking book. Our Lady of the Nile is a prelude to the Rwandan Genocide against the Tsuti, depicting in fiction the divisions in Rwandan society in the microcosm of an elite girls’ school. Scholastique Mukasonga is a Rwandan refugee now living in France, and I have previously read her searing memoir Cockroaches (2006, translated into English in 2016).  This novel (Notre Dame du Nil) followed in 2012 and was translated in 2014.

Our Lady of the Nile draws on the author’s own experience at the Lycée Notre-Dame-de-Citeaux, which she attended as one of the Tutsi quota. It was because she had fled to Burundi after being attacked by Hutu students at that school, that she did not witness the genocide, and escaped the slaughter of her family.

Like the elusive source of the Nile, the causes of ethnic hatred in Rwanda are hard…

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Felix Valliton

From the Latin American Expo at Photographer’s Gallery, the above photograph in the context of Latin American history brings up all the associations with the colour red. Melons with a knife implies the violence of the troubled history of South America. It also recalled the painting by Valliton which he painted upon the outbreak of the First World War- also a bloody image with another fruit/vegetable. I had seen this just a few hours before at the R.A. I ask myself what it is about these images that was so affecting. Perhaps it was that I was about to visit the Stanley Kubrick exhibition, perhaps also that they are reminders of how easily, in the current situation politically matters could go wrong.

Here are some further images of the Valliton from the R.A. I found his work dramatic and affecting on so many levels. A true modernist with a thoughtful face according to his self-portrait.

Valliton 1914
Gertrude Stein by V
Gertrude Stein by Valliton

Jeanne Mammen at the Berlinische Gallerie

An Englishman in Berlin

Jeanne Mammen, BerlinJeanne Mammen (1890-1976) was a Berlin-based artist, most famous for chronicling life in the city during the 1920s.

Born in Berlin, she studied art in Paris and Rome and lived in France until the outbreak of World War One forced her to move. While her family relocated to Amsterdam, she chose to return to Berlin.

At first, Mammen struggled to support herself as an artist, and she took any work she could, creating artwork for movie posters, satirical magazines, books, and fashion plates.

Particularly striking are her sketches and watercolours that depict people from all walks of life with a sympathetic yet unsentimental eye. Much of her focus was on women. Some her works, which capture swinging, glittering 1920s Berlin could be mistaken for contemporary party scenes.

Jeanne Mammen 3But in addition to these more well-known works, the retrospective at the Berlinische Gallerie also shows how the artist’s work developed over decades, with 170…

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thirty-five: Sean O’Brien, The Drowned Book

fifty-two poets

I have to confess I hadn’t heard of Sean O’Brien until recently, when I found out he’d won last year’s Forward prize for poetry. So it seemed appropriate to start with his prize-winning collection, The Drowned Book.

The blurb says that much of this collection ‘takes [its] emotional tenor and imaginative cue from [Sean O’Brien’s] acclaimed translation of Dante’s Inferno‘. Unfortunately I haven’t actually read the Inferno, so I felt like I was on a bit of a back foot from the start. That said, the opening poems – all about water, rivers, the sea – are undeniably compelling, drawing you into their dark, subterranean world. Water seems to be a place of memory, haunted by the dead – perhaps the borderlands between this world and another… I loved the dark, knowing, and, in places, comic tone of these poems.

There’s satire, too, on Britain’s current…

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Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History