• 26/11/2022
  • By binternet
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Chronicle: The art of posing naked, up to vaccines<

The literature is full of them. In the cinema, there was, among others, Ava Gardner in La Maja Nue, Gisèle Pascal in La femme Nue, or even, more recently, Emmanuelle Béart in La Belle Noiseuse. And then there are those of real life, the great Dora Maar and Kiki de Montparnasse, and all the others, men and women, anonymous, forgotten by history. Naked models. The first of their kind date back to 1648 when the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, ancestor of the future Academy of Fine Arts, began to teach the concepts of morphology. It was an already precarious status and it has not improved over time. Today, living models are still struggling to obtain a decent social status, a detail that the administration persists in refusing pretext that it is not a question of a trade but of a small job. Nuance and charcoal. With some 75,000 art models listed in France, including 400 in practice in Paris, their regular demonstrations, even in the simplest device, do not move many people. Before the health crisis and confinements undermined their conditions of practice and earning a living, the abolition of the cone had angered them. The cone was a tradition well anchored in the customs of public and private workshops where, at each end of the posing session, a sheet of drawing thrown on the ground was randomly picked up, rolled up into a cone and passed from student to student. student to collect an obol for the model. Quest and surprise cone. A tip, then. Which could bring each month between 200 and 400 euros to the said model. In the name of an old law prohibiting tips in the public service, a certain Christophe Girard, then Bertrand Delanoë's deputy for Culture at the Paris City Hall, seized on this odious advantage to abolish it, arguing that it was illegal in the civil service and therefore in public workshops. A shame for someone who was himself a living model during his youth at the Beaux-Arts in Angers! Revenge of a model who never picked up a penny?

Critical question: how much does a model earn per session? No bezef. Between 10 to 15 euros net per hour in the Beaux-Arts workshops, and barely more in private workshops and academies. Some pros, claimed and known, can pocket up to 20,000 euros annually, but they are rare. Here and there, qualified as various personnel or installation technicians, the living models have an interest in enjoying iron health. Already so as not to catch a cold at each session or end up crippled with cramps. Then, he tells himself, but it would be wrong, that the undressing and dressing times have been zapped. It is well known: the models arrive and leave naked from the posing sessions. That's how you recognize them on the street. The rest of the time, coco, you sit on the toaster and you don't move. The toaster is the harness on which the model poses during the session, depending on whether it is drawing, painting or sculpture. Why this name? When it's cold, we stick a space heater on it. Might as well sell my hair, the chilly lazy will object while munching on a toast…

Chronicle: The art of posing naked , to vaccines

Is making a vow of immobility, naked, without moving an eyelash, really a job? To those who consider it outdated, shady, conducive to voyeurism, those concerned retort that the living model is claimed by design, animation, video games, anamorphism. Posing naked does not/no longer consist of posing like Rodin's thinker with an apple on his head. As for touching the model to move a foot, a finger or a lock of hair, it is impious, verboten! Ditto for image rights, privacy, nudity. Nicht Instagram! In Paris, it poses naked in the most famous workshops. Thus those of the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, in the 6th arrondissement, specialized in drawing and painting from live models. A centuries-old tradition given that the so-called Academy has been practicing since 1904 at the same address on rue de la Grande Chaumière, number 14. Located at the Vavin crossroads, in the heart of mythical Montparnasse, this little path is a concentrate of the history of Parisian art. Former rue Chamon, it owes its name to the famous ball-garden of the Grande-Chaumière which was held there from 1788 to 1853 before being supplanted by the Closerie des Lilas. Nearby, on the edge of the Boulevard du Midi, not yet Montparnasse, there was also an important model market at the time. As the area was swarming with painters and sculptors, it was busy. Work for all. History has remembered that Oudinot, Mucha, Gauguin, the photographer Willy Maywald and especially Amedeo Modigliani lived there, who stayed at number 15, in a rudimentary studio where he died in 1920, watched over by his model, the artist Jeanne Hébuterne. This studio, located on the 5th floor, is now one of the rooms of the Hôtel des Académies et des Arts, a historic establishment recently bought by Hubert (the father) and Nicolas Saltiel (the son ), founders of the Adresses Hôtels group (ex-Monsieur). Advice on booking: download the film Les amants de Montparnasse with Gérard Philipe and Anouk Aimée in the role of his muse and model, just to commune with the place.

The hotel has a drawing room that can be reserved with an appointed teacher. In addition, customers can cross the street to attend a workshop session with a live model organized each day by the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière. To know that the elite of 20th century arts passed here - Miro, Riopelle, Poliakoff, Balthus, Tamara de Lempicka, Zao Wou-Ki, Bourdelle, Fernand Leger, but also of design (Noguchi, Eileen Gray, Saarinen) and even the designer of Hollywood costumes Irene Scharaff! At a rate of three hours (weekdays) and four on Saturdays, each session brings together between 10 and 45 participants, each having paid 20 euros. All masked in these coronaviral times except for the model who poses for 45 minutes, with 15-minute breaks. The model may come back several times a month. Otherwise, here, the tradition of the cornet continues. Thank you for her, thank you for him. Finally, knowing that since 1954, the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière has belonged to the Académie Charpentier, located rue Jules-Chaplain, a stone’s throw away. If the bougnat where in the 1980s we stuffed ourselves with sautéed apples and first-rate cured ham disappeared a long time ago, if the color merchant Gategno, closed in 2017, is replaced by a framing workshop, the famous color merchant Sennelier still paints on the street.

Finally, this story of posing naked reminded me of one of Mistinguett’s most famous catchphrases, vintage 1926: “He saw me naked, quite nuuuuue”. Well inspired to have gone to search on Wikipedia to know the lyrics. Visionary the Miss…

“He saw me naked, completely naked.

Without cache-trick or support-things.

I blushed until the vaccines! »

Happy New Year, happy new year.