As you probably know by now, we love outdoor art and outdoor sculptures. So, we were delighted to find another one in the Tuileries Garden that we hadn’t seen, or noted, before.
It’s on the side of the Tuileries Garden that faces rue de Rivoli, not far from an exit that brings you out near the English bookstore, W H Smith.
The name is La Foule (the Crowd), 1963-1967. Bronze with patina, acquired in 1969, sculpted by Raymond Mason (1922-2010).
It’s an interesting piece, of many figures clustered in a tight pattern, most with indistinguishable faces, but obviously with a story to tell.
Raymond Mason was born in Birmingham, England and studied at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts. He lived and worked in Paris from 1946 after WW2, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for “services to sculpture and to Anglo-French relations” in 2002.
He is mostly known for his sculptures of tightly packed people made from clay and of teeming street scenes that evoked an animated world of ordinary people. So, this La Foule fits right into that.
We then put two and two together and realized that another piece that we’ve seen many times and really admire is also by Raymond Mason. It’s “The Departure of Fruit and Vegetables from the Heart of Paris”, completed in 1971.
This lovely colorful, realistic-looking, work is in Saint-Eustache church in the Les Halles area of central Paris. The original Les Halles Market (Paris’s central food market) was situated there until it was moved to Rungis in 1970 and many people mourned the move. Saint-Eusache had been the church of the market people, so it seems a fitting place to put this work of Mason’s, which conveys the sadness of the market move.
Mason described The Departure… as “an elegy for the demise of the central fruit and vegetable market of Les Halles“. In front of a backdrop of the doomed market buildings a procession of market traders, bearing their produce, is moving. Behind is the church of Saint-Eustache.
This piece is not bronze, but molded epoxy resin, then painted with acrylic paint.
I am told that Mason’s funeral took place in Saint-Eustache too, so this is an important place for him.
So many artistic treasures in Paris! More to discover each visit.