• Short Summary

    Property developers are busy demolishing the old Paris studies that have traditionally acted as a magnet for artists seeking inspiration and a cheep place to live and work.

  • Description

    Property developers are busy demolishing the old Paris studies that have traditionally acted as a magnet for artists seeking inspiration and a cheep place to live and work.

    The French capital's role as a major art centre owes much to the garrets and basements once frequented by such masters as Renoir, Picasso and Modigliani. But now their picturesque haunts are fast disappearing, and the problem of evicted artists is viewed so seriously that Government and municipal authorities have come to the rescue with modern, publicly-subsidised studios.

    There are fears, however, that the clinical new studios, built in state-financed apartment blocks, cannot compensate for the loss of the specious old low-rent workshops and the sense of artistic community which they engendered.

    About 700 studios are estimated to have disappeared in the last ten years. Among the worst-hit areas are Montmartre and the left-bank district of Montparnasse, known and loved by generations of artists, connoisseurs and ordinary visitors.

    This film illustrating the disappearance of a way of life was shot by Visnews staff cameraman in Paris, Jean Poignonec.

    SYNOPSIS: Paris is going through a period of massive change. Office and apartment blocks are soaring in the French capital; in the older parts of the city, artists, like ordinary people, are feeling the effects. The painter-engraver Franck is one of them. For months the old building that was his studio has stood alone in a demolition zone; now the time has come for him to move out, away from his old haunts.

    The scene has been repeated many times in this international capital of the arts About 700 studios have disappeared in the last ten years.

    Other studios await a similar fate. Here in Montparnasse, in the former stables of the Paris Observatory, generations of artists have found cheap accommodation, the space and light they need for their work, and the sense of shared experience.

    Fourteen sculptors, painters and other artists work in the rambling buildings. Styles and techniques have changed, but the bohemian atmosphere of the place has survived for more than a century....Now the artists are united as never before, trying to fight a plan to knock down the studios and build an office block.

    Sculptor Paul Belmondo, father of the film star, dreads the day when he may be uprooted......
    Rodin, Gauguin and Modigliani once worked in these studios in Montparnasse. Armand Lecroix has been told he'll have to move out....
    The problem of evicted artists is not being neglected. Paris and the Ministry of Culture have come to the rescue with state-subsidised studies built into new apartment blocks. Tax incentives are now being considered for private developers who do the same.

    One artist who has taken advantage of the scheme is the painter Staslisky. He says he is reasonably happy in his ultra-modern suburb. The Metro is near enough to give him easy access to central Paris, and he's found a new source of inspiration in the school opposite his block. Nearly 500 studios have been built under the ministry scheme, but many artists have doubts about their size, cost and situation. It's too early to know how the upheaval will affect their work.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
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