RACINE DE MONVILLE HOME PAGE NEWS LOG
This news log documents timely information about the Désert de Retz and topics related to the subject matter of this website for 2011, 2012 and 2013. In addition, there are updates and news about this website.
Consult the Racine de Monville Home Page News Log Archive for entries dating from June 1999 through 2010.
Please report to the webmaster any information about the Désert de Retz or Monsieur de Monville such as links to articles in the media or online or blog entries in any language that you think pertinent and would like to see posted on this news log.
Email: Ronald W. Kenyon
January 1, 2013.
Site statistics for the Racine de Monville Home Page 2005-2012. Below is a table showing the total number of pageviews and the total number of countries of the visitors to this website for the years of 2005 through 2012 as compiled by OneStat.
November 27, 2012. A blog, twicemodern~All Aspects of Design 1900-2000, reproduced an article by architect, decorator and horticulturist Jean-Charles Moreux
[1889-1956], entitled "Le Désert de M. de Monville," originally published in L'Amour de L'Art, Number 3, in April 1938, with monochrome illustrations of the Désert de Retz by photographer and historian Raymond Lécuyer
[1879-1950]. Lecuyer was the author of a 451-page volume on the history of photography published in 1945 that included three-dimensional photographs and was sold with a pair of bicolored glasses to view them.
The article in French describes the history of Monsieur de Monville and the Désert de Retz, and the photographs depict a number of the structures as they appeared in 1938. The article is accompanied by a text in English discussing Jean-Charles Moreux.
October 23, 2012. The City Council and former elected officials of the town of Chambourcy announced with regret the death of Jean-Louis Saury on Monday, October 15, 2012, at the age of 79 years.
After working for 33 years for a mulitnational corporation, Jean-Louis Saury served 10 years, first as Associate Mayor, then as Primary Associate Mayor of Chambourcy. After Chambourcy acquired full ownership of the Désert de Retz, Jean-Louis Saury founded and was elected president of a non-profit association, Le Désert de Retz Jardin des Lumières, dedicated to conducting guided tours of the park, organizing cultural events and marketing Désert de Retz merchandise.
Jean-Louis Saury was the author of an illustrated guide, Le Désert de Retz Jardin des Lumières, with a chapter on the history of the Desert de Retz, descriptions of the various follies, a discussion of Monsieur de Monville and future plans for the garden. Jean-Louis Saury's final project was a work describing the remarkable trees in the grounds of the Desert de Retz, scheduled for publication in 2013. Obituiary in French released by the town of Chambourcy.
October 20, 2012. Dominique Césari, author of Les Jardins des Lumières en Ile-de-France, deliverd a lecture in French on the subject "Les Jardins Anglo-chinois et le Désert de Retz" in the Salle Hubert Yencesse, 35, Rue de Gramont, in Chambourcy. The lecture was sponsored by Le Désert de Retz-Jardin des Lumières.
September 29, 2012. A two-page article entitled "La commune a sorti son désert de la solitude des Lumières" illustrated with four color photographs of the Désert de Retz [the Temple of Pan, the Pyramid Icehouse, the Tartar Tent and the Column House, appeared on pages 134-135 of the October 2012 issue of the French magazine Geo.
September 29, 2012. An 16-page spread of fall fashions entitled "Campagne Anglaise," by Mako Yamazaki, photographed on location at the Désert de Retz by
Michael Woolley, appeared in the October 2012, issue of the French magazine Marie-Claire.
September 17, 2012. As part of the annual European Heritage Days, the Désert de Retz was open to the public on September 15 and 16, 2012. One thousand five hundred forty-four adults--and many children--took the occasion to visit Monsieur de Monville's garden. Members of a non-profit organization, Le Désert de Retz: Jardin des Lumières, were on hand throughout both days. Some served as docents to conduct visitors on guided tours of the garden. Others sold refreshemnts and Désert de Retz merchandise including post cards, books, a new, illustrated Désert de Retz calendar for 2013-14 and Le Miel de Retz, the product of beehives located on the grounds of the garden.
View photographs of ladies of Chambourcy in 18th-century costume at the Désert de Retz on September 16, 2012.
June 10, 2012. Kevin Risk, Assistant Professor of Landsdcape Architecture at Louisiana State University has written an interesting article entitled
Garden in the Bayou or Bayou in the Garden: Design Provenance and Environmental Adaptation at Le Petit Versailles, about the picturesque garden built in St. James Paris, Louisiana, between 1842 and 1853 by a plantation owner named
Valcour Aimé, né François-Gabriel Aimé. Valcour Aimé, who lived from 1798 to 1867, was known as the "Louis the XIV of Louisiana" and was reputedly the wealthiest man in the American South.
According to Professor Risk, the garden was a "retarataire adaptation" of French gardens such as Bagatelle, Parc Monceau and the Desert de Retz, "a rare, if not unique example of the style in the United States, and a unique example in the plantation South.
Plantation Home Information describes Le Petit Versailles as the most refined and sophisticated of all the Louisiana plantations. "[It was]distinguished by elaborate gardens that seemed as well suited to the king's court in France as to a plantation on the Mississippi River. The house was a typical double-galleried building with columns, but had wings on each end that enclosed a rear courtyard. Its gardens were extensive and its hothouses filled with plants, fruits, vegetables and flowers from around the world, all grown for consumption by Aime, his family and their guests. The grounds were managed by gardeners hired away from Versailles. An informal zoo included kangaroos. One passage from "Social Life in Old New Orleans" noted a hill covered entirely in violets. Research by historian Buddy Stall indicates that after future French king Louis Philippe was lavishly entertained by Aime, the two men tossed into the river the gold plates on which they had dined."
Unfortunately, Le Petit Versailles was destrohyed by fire in 1920, and and today the only vestige of Aimé's estate is a historical marker at the side of the road. Photograph of the ruins of Le Petit Versailes taken on April 26, 2008. Sic transit gloria mundi...
April 16, 2012.
The Count and Countess Neil Collection, entitled "Une Passion Partagée," was auctioned at Christie's Paris, taking in €2,078,600, with 87% percent of lots finding a buyer. Among the items were two aquarelles from the French School of the 18th century representing views of the Désert de Retz.
The municipality of Chamboucy decided to acquire these works, and Dr. Pierre Morange, Mayor of Chambourcy, attended the auction in person to bid on each lot. The first lot was a circular view of the Chinese House, in aquarelle and pierre noire, 5.9 cm in diameter, acquired for €800. The second lot, a view of the Column House and the Temple of Pan, in pierre noire, pen and grey ink and aquarelle on paper, 6 cm in diameter, was acquired for €450.
The works will be displayed publicly from time to time.
March 31, 2012.
An article in Swedish about the Désert de Retz by Lena Höjenberg entitled "Här hittade Gustav III inspiration till Haga," accompanied by numerous color photographs by Ingalill Snitt, appeared in issue number 3.12 of the Swedish magazine Gods & Gårdar.
Koppartälten, Ekotemplet, Kinapaviljongen. Förebilderna för Hagaparkens juveler finns i Desert de Retz, utanför franska Chambourcy. Gustav III kom hit på besök 1784 och blev överförtjust. Numera kan man boka en tur bland de fascinerande och delvis raserade byggnaderna.
November 28, 2011.
The Centre de Documentation de la Musique Contemporaine [CDMC] will host its third annual encounter on the theme of "Musical Creation and Gardens " on Saturday, December 10, 2011, at the Pavillon du Lac in the Parc de Bercy. The series of lectures will start at 9:30 AM and the last is scheduled for 5:15 PM. A highlight of the encounter will be a talk in French by Dominique Césari at 10:15 on the Anglo-Chinese gardens of the late 18th century. Dominique Césari is the author of Les jardins des Lumières en Ile-de-France.
Full program and reservation information in English.
November 24, 2011.
Jane Roberts Fine Arts in Paris is currently showing works by French photographer Philippe Grunchec, including monochrome views of the Désert de Retz. The gallery is located on the fourth floor at 65, rue du Fourbourg-Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, and is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 12:30 and from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The exposition runs through December 23, 2011.
October 14, 2011. A retrospective exposition of the works of surrealist artist Claude Chanot was held from September 22 through October 8, 2011, in the Town Hall of Levallois, a suburb of Paris. The exposition included 30 works inspired by the Désert de Retz and Monsieur de Monville. View twelve works by Claude Chanot. You'll have to click on "Decor" at the botton left to see the works.
Lire Le désert de Retz et Chanot par Olivier Choppin de Janvry.
Visit Claude Chanot's bilingual website and blog to view photographs of the retrospective in Levallois along with texts by Chanot and reviews of the exposition from the French media.
September 25, 2011. Concert des Lumières at the Désert de Retz.
|Back row, left to right: Patricia Samuel, Serge Louet, Huguette Géliot, Didier Magne. Foreground: Jean-Louis Saury, President, Le Désert de Retz-Jardin des Lumières
A concert of Baroque music was held at the Désert de Retz highlighting compositions that Monsieur de Monville might have played or heard. The music was interpreted by Hugette Géliot, harp; Patricia Samuel, soprano; Serge Louet, flautist and Didier Magne, guitarist and leader.
The program included compositions by Mozart; Christophe-Wilibald Gluck, Monville's friend and his favorite composer; Vicente Martin y Soler; Mauro Giulini; Fernando Sor; Francesco Molino and Didier Magne. A composition by Francois Racine de Monville himself, a chamber cantata entitled Le Retour de Chloé, arranged by Didier Magne and featuring the ensemble, concluded the concert.
This concert was most likely the first time baroque music had been performed at the Désert de Retz in over 220 years.
September 21, 2011. As part of the annual European Heritage Days, the Désert de Retz was open to the public on September 17 and 18, 2011. An estimated 1,000 persons--including 839 adults purchasing entry tickets--took the occasion to visit Monsieur de Monville's garden. [Children were admitted free.] Members of the non-profit organization, Le Désert de Retz: Jardin des Lumières, were on hand throughout both days. Some served as docents to conduct visitors on hour-long guided tours of the garden. Others enrolled new members and sold refreshemnts and Désert de Retz merchandise including post cards, books and Le Miel de Retz, the product of four beehives located on the grounds of the garden.
September 1, 2011. The Racine de Monville Home Page donates €100.00 to the Régie du Désert de Retz as its contibution to the preservation and restoration of the Désert de Retz. This donation represents the commissions recived on the sale of books sold through
Monsieur de Monville's aStore, hosted by Amazon.com. All future commissions will also be donated to the Régie du Désert de Retz. You can help restore the Désert de Retz by purchasing Amazon.com merchandise on
Monsieur de Monville's aStore.
July 30, 2011. A new entry
on blog called Form is Void featured five Michael Kenna monochrome photos of the Desert de Retz and a short text containing hyperlinks to the Racine de Monville Home Page, the Wikipedia entry about the Desert de Retz and the essay about the Desert de Retz on Alexander Trevi's blog, Pruned.
July 23, 2011. The Paris daily Le Parisien published an article by Yves Fossey, Le désert de Retz livre ses secrets, illustrated with a photograph of a group of visitors accompanied by their guide and a sidebar with contact information and dates of forthcoming tours conducted by the tourist offices of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Poissy.
June 26, 2011. On June 24 and 25, 2011, a Sound and Light spectacle, L'Intemporel au Désert de Retz, sponsored by the town of Chambourcy and open to the public, took place on the grounds of the Desert de Retz. The program included 18th century music sung and performed on the harp, harpsichord and clarinet, dancing and an evocation of the Desert de Retz by
Monsieur de Monville, portrayed by François Cottet.
May 22, 2011.
Residents of the town of Chambourcy were invited to visit the Desert de Retz during the annual Open Door event. Two hundred eighty Camboriciens and Camboriciennes took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to visit the garden.
May 6, 2011.
Introducing Monsieur de Monville’s aStore. Today is the official launch date of the new Racine de Monville Home Page online store. It replaces Monsieur de Monville’s Boookstore.
Now you can shop for books about the Desert de Retz in English and French and browse and buy any of the hundreds of thousands of books, CD’s, DVD’s or other merchandise sold by Amazon.com.
As a member of Amazon Associates, the Racine de Monville Home Page will receive a small commission from each sale made through Monsieur de Monville’s aStore. All these commissions are deposited into a fund for the restoration and preservation of the Desert de Retz.
Don’t wait to order your next book from Monsieur de Monville’s aStore.
For anyone who’s nostalgic about Monsieur de Monville’s Bookstore, you can still access [and order Amazon.com merchandise from] the archived page.
April 19, 2011.
French blogger Alexia Guggémos, Curator of the the virtual Musée du Sourire [Museum of Smiles], posted an amusing entry in her French-language blog, Deliredel'Art recounting her unsuccessful attempt to visit the Desert de Retz, followed by an equally unsuccessful attempt to visit the house formerly occupied by the painter André Derain, also located in Chambourcy. Désert de Retz : comment j'ai trouvé portes closes.
February 20, 2011.
Toronto blogger Yesha posted some monochrome photographs and Will Viney's November 16, 2009, article about the Desert de Retz [without any attribution to Mr. Viney as the author] as "Idea Log 20022011" on her blog GOVERNMENTGIRL1943LP.
I think the post should be renamed "Plagiarized Idea Log 20022011."
February 19, 2011.
Excerpt from: The Villager, Volume 80, Number 39 | February 24 - March 2, 2011
"Galleries offer reasons to come in from cold," by Stephanie Buhmann.
Maccarone Inc.: “Corey McCorkle”
Exploring how landscape is articulated and ritualized, McCorkle works in installations, sculpture, photography and film. One focus will be the Desert de Retz, an immense 18th century garden devised by the French aristocrat Francois Racine de Monville. McCorkle’s featured work Zoetrope (2010) — a five-channel projection of still and tracking shots of these grounds — transforms the now-derelict structures into eerie protagonists. Feb. 19–Mar. 19 (630 Greenwich St. and Morton St.)
For info, 212-431-4977 or Maccarone.
February 9, 2011.
"Photos Détournées: Collages de Jacques Prévert" is the title of a new exposition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in the Marais district of Paris. Featured in the exposition is Prévert's famous collage of the Désert de Retz, combining fragments of illustrations and engravings set against a monochrome photograph by Izis.
Article about the show by Sarah Muroz. Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 5/7, rue de Fourcy, 75004, Paris. The show runs until April 10, 2011.
January 5, 2011.
Le Désert de Retz, locura romántica en Chambourcy, an article in Spanish about the Desert de Retz, ilustrated with my infrared color photograph of the Temple of Pan, was published on the Spanish blog,
Consult the Racine de Monville Home Page News Log Archive for entries dating from June 1999 through December 2010.
This page revised January 1, 2013.