Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Truly Fascinating Find




For those who have not yet read the November issue of World of Interiors, I have to share a most interesting story that appears in the magazine.

A Dutchwoman who recently purchased an apartment in Paris called the magazine to alert them to an unusual find in her new home. The walls of the sitting room were painted with beautiful panoramic scenes similar in style to those of Zuber. What is amazing, though, is that the walls were painted by the former homeowner, a designer by the name of "J. d'Ars". In fact, he signed his creation with "J. d'Ars, décorateur, 1955".

Now here's the really interesting part. After some sleuthing, the new homeowner was able to piece together the story of J. d'Ars. As a young man, d'Ars had been a waiter at a Russian restaurant in Paris. One evening he was serving a young American couple who was celebrating their honeymoon. The waiter and the groom fell in love that night! The American man eventually set d'Ars up in an apartment and in an interior design business. And every year for about fifty years, the American man, unbeknownst to his wife, would come to Paris to spend a few weeks with his love. They especially enjoyed visiting France's glorious châteaux, which in turned inspired d'Ars to paint the walls with scenes of these châteaux.

Now, if I had been the lucky new homeowner, I would have kept the walls intact. How can you alter something with such beauty (not to mention such history)? Unfortunately, the Dutchwoman did not agree and she removed the paintings (d'Ars had painted the scenes on paper backed with card). She has preserved these paintings and plans on using them in her own château, which I suppose may be a very appropriate place for these marvelous paintings.







Even the ceiling was painted!

(All images courtesy of World of Interiors; photographed by René Stoeltie)

23 comments:

  1. Now this is an interesting design story! So romantic and intriguing. the paintings are just lovely.

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  2. Oh what a romantic story and what romantic paintings. They reminds me of Sweden, my home country...

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  3. Courtney and Jeanette- I agree. The story should be made into a book!

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  4. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Romantic paintings, yes; romantic story, well, I wonder what the wife thought or if she knew.

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  5. Anonymous11:11 AM

    It's like the plotline of an opera, or (less dramatically) a Chekhov story. I wonder how it all turned out...

    Thanks for unearthing this.

    pt

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  6. Anon- I wondered that too. I wish we knew more of the story. Perhaps she just turned a blind eye.

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  7. PT- Yes, you're quite right!

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  8. Jennifer - I agree with you - I would have left them. Maybe we'll get to see them in their new home someday. (I can never find World of Interiors here - the entire city either gets 4 copies or there is a mad dash when they arrive. Can I possible add another subscription to the list?)

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  9. www.projectblancoyd.typepad.com11:44 AM

    The ceiling is the best part

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  10. Wow... on all counts!

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  11. What a wonderful story! I wish the painting ahd been kept intact too. I hope the story does not get lost. Thanks Peak!
    :)

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  12. Patrica- I know. I just can't possibly imagine ripping it out. Restoring it yes. Getting rid of it no. At least she's going to use it elsewhere! (I don't have a subscription to WOI but get your B&N to carry it!)

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  13. I'm with Fairfax...But I can see where these scenes would be better suited to the country, as they are neither grand or naive enough for a Parisian setting.

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  14. HOBAC- I believe I read in the article where the sitting room is now white!

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  15. wonderful post and wonderful story . How come this dutchwoman removed these wonderful paintings..I would have preserved this Beauty but I am not the owner

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  16. Mélanie- Have you ever heard of this designer? Curious as you live in France.

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  17. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Even if ill-suited, I would have kept them in Paris. Sometimes an "ill-suited" piece is part of the story a home is trying to tell.

    I like that the murals represented a fantasy of escape for someone who may have felt confined, most of the time, to a city where he was isolated from his true love.

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  18. Anon- Very eloquently said. Here you have something of such beauty, but there is a sense of sadness to it too.

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  19. What a lovely story. The new homeowner should be arrested for being so unsympathetic and unchic!

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  20. Wow, this is a truly amazing story! Thanks for sharing it. And I agree with you on preferring to not move the paintings...

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  21. I LOVE a good story! I think the history and stories behind old houses is why I love them so much. That show "If These Walls Could Talk" is addictive for that reason. It's very sad that they decided to move the murals though.

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  22. Interesting! Love the paintings, really beautiful!

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  23. Did you turn on moderation because of the truth I spoke about your 'love' story?

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