Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pauline Bordeaux






I first encountered Pauline Bordeaux about a year or so ago at the flea markets in Vanves. She was tucked in between two larger vendors and I heard her telling off another vendor about something or another. I have no idea what she was saying but I was struck by this tiny, maybe 4'7", 70 (at least) year old woman in her soon to be familiar fur hat, holding her own against the younger, arrogant men. I went in for a closer inspection and saw that she was selling her own paintings. She turned on the charm as I walked up, becoming experienced saleswomen she clearly was. Using small 4 x 6" pieces of cardboard, she paints small landscapes of countryside scenes, perhaps with a disproportionately sized cow or horse floating in the background, or scenes of children playing on a beach (but wearing the sailor type uniforms and bow ties reminiscent of the early 20th century), or sometimes just close-ups of animals or flowers. The colors are usually muted due to the cardboard support which sucks all the shine, but they are sweet and folky and I was smitten. For 10 Euros I took home the first of my now four Pauline Bordeaux paintings, for after that, any brocante or antiques fair, whether it was 5 degrees or 20 degrees (Celsius), there she was, working away, on her feet for probably 6-9 hours. I couldn't help but build up fantasitc ideas about her: maybe she lived in some grand hotel particulieur in the 8th, maybe she had numerous lovers including de Gaulle, but in reality I imagine she lives a pretty hard life as an artist, considering her dedication to her craft. Recently I worked up the courage to talk with her and at the last brocante around the Parc de Batignolles I had M take some great photos. So keep an eye out for her on your next flea market or antiques fair and spend that extra 10 euros--you never know she could be the next great thing.

5 comments:

Emilie said...

i love this blaire!

Starman said...

I'm surprised some enterprising entrepreneur hasn't already signed her to a contract.

amelie said...

I love making up stories about people like that. She seems very sweet... and like she'll probably be snatched up as a character by the next person writing a "quaint" movie about France.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. m Robinson said...

I discovered Pauline at the Porte de Vanves flea market also. I bought 1 or 2 paintings from her. Then every time I went with my dear friend Peter, I would look for her. I kept buying paintings whenever I saw her there. Then I didn't see her for a few years. I wondered what had happened . Did she pass away? Then one day I just happened upon her at the corner rue Bonaparte and Blvd St Germain des Pres near the church.
I was so glad to see her. I don't think she recognized me . But I bought 2 more paintings and snapped a photo of her thinking it may be my last one. I found a train ticket with her name and telephone number that she had given to me. It's stamped 2006.
I hope to see her again someday��