Friday, May 08, 2009
france-1969 part 4

There were so very many special things that I got to do while there in The South Of France....There were so very many interesting people that I got to meet, too. For instance, Mme. Suzanne Ramie, who ran the Madoura Gallery and Pottery Factory in Vallauris was one such fantastic person. The Madoura is where all of The Picasso Ceramics were produced and still are..... like the ashtray, above.
Picasso met the Ramie's around 1946 and he was so taken with the whole idea of ceramics that he began creating designs almost immediately. And all during Picasso's lifetime beginning back in 1946, he created many very spectacular pieces there at The Moudura. Some were made in very large amounts---some in very 'Limited Editions', which of course, ultimately made them more valuable. I remember that the first Picasso Ceramic that I ever saw was a gift to me from a wonderful world renown Art Dealer here in Beverly Hills, named Frank Perls....I met Frank in 1961 through my father. Frank was, back in those days, the foremost authority on Picasso's works here on The West Coast, and a Pioneer in bringing Modern Art to Los Angeles. He had opened his Gallery in 1939 and he introduced and showed the work of all the Great European and American Masters of Modernism...He showed all of the Artists of the 20th Century, like Matisse, Braque, Lipshitz, Picasso, etc., etc. and showed a lot of Picasso's paintings and drawings and ceramics, etc, at his very lovely Gallery.

Frank knew Picasso very well and visited him at his home in Mougins, there in The South Of France, on a regular basis throughout Picasso's lifetime.....This picture over on the right is of Frank with Jack Benny, in the early days of his Gallery....By the time I met Frank, he was quite a bit older, though not 'ancient' by any means.....He played such an important part in bringing all the great great Artists to Los Angeles---His influence cannot be minimized.....I always felt privileged to know him---And guess what? We ran into him right there in the South Of France....In many ways, the Art World is a very small world. And the Ashtray Frank gave me was very similar to the one at the top of this post.
One afternoon we went to The Madoura Gallery because there was a show of "new" Ceramics, and these were all in very limited editions. The day we went, Mme. Ramie generously gave me a poster made especially for the show, which she signed. That is her signature, above and her greeting, written in French, of course.....And the date we were there----July 18th, 1969.

And there I am above, with Mme. Ramie....She was very warm and gracious and extremely friendly....She made me feel very welcome. My experience there in The South of France was that ALL the people I met were very warm and gracious and friendly.... And it is true, most of them were in the Art World, whether Art Dealers or Artists. But the relaxed atmosphere of this part of the world, seemed to lend itself to a kind of warmth that you don't often feel in New York, for instance.
The building itself was very interesting and as with most buildings in these lovely old Hill Towns, it was old and there was a wonderful feeling about it, too....You can tell from the picture over on the left that the floor is very old....I thought about all the great great Artists that had walked on this floor and who had visited here and worked here, too...Picasso being the main one.....! There were any number of rooms and one just sort of flowed into another---they were rather small rooms, but all very interesting.....There was also a kind of stone Walkway-Balcony where people could go outside into the afternoon sun, and meet and converse. I was fascinated by the ancient 'feel' of this fabulous place, and especially knowing all of the fantastic "art" that had been created there and was still being created....And, by the way....even now, The Madoura Gallery is still producing great great Ceramics, now run by, I believe, the off-spring of The Ramie's.....
My father bought quite a few of these really charming pieces...
I don't remember how many---but he was known for having an impeccable eye and for buying the BEST things in a show. I was lucky enough to buy two of these plaques. They were very very reasonable, considering they were Picasso Originals, and there were only 100 made of each piece----This was considered a very small Limited Edition. They were all very playful in feeling, as were a lot of his Ceramics---some were faces of people, like the one over on the left....And some were faces of Birds.....In fact, one of the one's I bought is the face of an Owl..... It is just so incredibly charming, and when you really look at it closely, you see what Picasso was able to create in just a few strokes....I mean, you know it is an Owl! This was #4/100.....I liked that the two that I bought were early in each Edition....the other one, this 'face' below, is #3/100. This may sound strange, but I thought it looked kind of like Picasso, himself...Those big penetrating eyes, looking right at you.....Oh, and an interesting bit of Trivia, Picasso met his wife Jacqueline, when she was working here at the Madoura Gallery many years before.....

I adored these two pieces when I saw them there, and I still do, all these 40 years later....!The very inexpensive things, like the Ashtrays, Pitchers and Plates--none of which were "limited"----made great gifts for many people back home, and so I bought a few things right then and there, like the pitcher above and the plate below.....It is true that at some point they stopped making certain designs and if anyone has any of these objects from that period, they are certainly worth a lot more now, forty years later.....A kind of funny thing happened to me at Madoura. I had to go to the bathroom and the only so called 'bathroom' was in this big workroom---right out in the open. Talk about no privacy. Luckily, no one was working in that room that day. And it was one of those very French/European type 'toilets' where you stood up and straddled this big hole that almost looked like a Burial hole.... This picture above, is the closest thing I could find on The Net, to that "squatting" toilet---though the one at The Madoura was bigger and not as clean....And as I said, completely out in the open.....And in order for me to actually use this particular 'toilet', I had to take off the long Terry pants/overall type thingy that I had on----I mean, take it off, COMPLETELY, and then stand there pretty much naked, praying that no one would come in to this huge empty workroom....Talk about feeling Vulnerable! And yes, can we talk about the Toilet paper? The Toilet paper was incredibly harsh! That light tan paper that should never touch any part of one's body---particularly a sensitive part----Well, I had never seen or felt anything like that before, anywhere. But that's all I saw in almost all of the public places that we went to there in France (Not The Hotel Du Cap, I might add)....but Restaurants, Museums, Shops, etc....That was forty years ago so maybe it has changed by this time.....The Bathroom Tissue at Daddy's house was lovely and soft just like we had in the States...I remember thinking, if they can get good soft TP why can't everyone else? LOL! There will be more about The Madoura Gallery because we went back one more time and that was incredibly exciting........

More To Come......

Links to this post:


had this to say:

The art is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.. I dont have any in the house because my husband is more into doing huge puzzles we glue and hang on the walls.. We have a 5,000 piece puzzle of NYC before the towers were burned down.. We think it will be worth some money some day..

Friday, May 8, 2009 at 2:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

There is beauty in simplicity, and Picasso's work is a stunning example.
Thank you for continuing the story. I hope there is more.

Friday, May 8, 2009 at 4:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh my, I've missed way too much reading... I'll have to come back and catch up.

Friday, May 8, 2009 at 6:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Nothing like public and private restrooms around the world to cause a bit of culture shock, eh?

I truly will be saddened when this series ends.


Friday, May 8, 2009 at 7:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am loving this little bit of history from you! Thank you for sharing. I have heard of the "squatting" toilets from my father and my husband who both visited places in the world where those were the only ones available! Wow! I am thankful I haven't had to share that particular experience with you. LOL

Have a beautiful day.


Friday, May 8, 2009 at 9:46:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

Gorgeous pictures and fab post, Naomi!!interesting details too and I love your picture with the large sunglasses.You look classy!
France still has those toilets, dear...!

Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 12:28:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Good foggy Saturday morning to you, Naomi.

Your pictures really depict your love of art and where you were so beautifully !

My parents have a Picasso plate, and with all you describe, they would probably love to meet you and hear about your experiences too with France's artists.

France IS lovely, but I have the feeling that it is YOU who are warm - and so people warm to you :)
But yes, there are certain feelings in certain countries that do express themselves such as you are saying.

The very raspy/rough toliet paper was also used in Britain and supposed to be horrible ! (can't remember what they call it there)
The Queen Mother evidently used it throughout her life.

Can't imagine a toilet like that in the open except in a men's prison, and even then, not for uhmmm, everything you have to do !

Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 6:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a cool post. It's almost like being there. I would have loved to stroll around the place. Oh, and the bathroom! I can just imagine how mortified I would have felt. Oy!

Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 7:37:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You look so stylish!

I came across a bathroom like that in Mexico a couple years ago. It puzzled me :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 6:04:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm loving these French posts, Naomi. As for toilet paper, I remember reading somewhere that you should take your own TP to Europe, since none of theirs is fit to use!

Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 7:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:


What a life you have lead Naomi - and how wonderful it is to have you be able to share it with us who choose to read your blog.

I think I have told you before but I studied Ceramics at University. Picasso was v. talented wasn't he? he wasn't just an artist painting on canvas, he did much more than that - which you have shown us today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 9:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am so enjoying this series! I hope this is part 4 of 100. As always, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful memories and pictures.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 12:15:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'll bet your friends play
"6 degrees of Naomi" Such a life you have led and people you have met. Thanks for taking us along.

If I had only those public toilets available, I would probably just expode. We do live in a wonderful country don't we.

Hope there is a lot more to this trip.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 5:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You met the most interesting people in the South of France and so far Frank is my favorite! I would've spent every moment I could at that gallery asking all sorts of questions until they tired of me! I love Picasso's ceramic pieces and those plaques are amazing! Thanks for sharing them with us and more memories of your time in France! I hope your pictures and stories never end.

Happy Mother's Day to Sweetie's mom! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 6:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love your bathroon comments.... when I was in France as an language exchange teenager, we shared an outdoor toilet with a number of other familes, and there was NO TP!... just some squares of newspaper hanging just inside the door! Well, at least there was a door! I should be grateful for small mercies.
Love those Picasso ceramics, you are so lucky to still have them. Real treasures, in my opinion!

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 6:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

how fascinating and I love the photos of the ceramics. Very interesting as have been all these posts on a place I have only read about and a time that is past but can live on through such memoirs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 8:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The ashtray looks too pretty to use! I will so think of your restroom experience the next time I'm somewhere and feeling shy because someone is in another stall - it could be worse!

Thanks for telling your stories.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 6:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love how Mme. Ramie transcribed your name as Noemie (avec un accent!). Sounds so poetic...

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 8:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh I so enjoyed catching up on the 4 episodes of France 1969! I love Antibes (but I know what you mean about the Med - it has it's days, especially if a Grec wind is blowing) such a beautiful town - then and now. Thanks for sharing Naomi :o)

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 10:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How do you remember all of these details? Amazing. I can hardly remember what happened yesterday, but for my private diary! There you are, writing about originals of Picasso and I'm amazed by your memory. :)

Oh, thank you for the toilet talk! You know how I love toilets of another country... did you write about that just for me??? *tee hee*

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

very well described from that epoque in France - and I remember also when I first had to visit the "rest-room" with only a hole. I say no more, but I'm happy I was much younger then. LOL.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

lovely! I love that first plate.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 4:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi...such a great post! I love the art, the stories....and laughed out loud about the porcelain hole in the ground. I too remember them AND the TP, and sometimes lack thereof. It was pretty darn common throughout southern europe when i was there, even in homes we visited in Istanbul!!

I also remember the TP in the UK at the hostels we stayed at...(far from any stars!!) it felt like wax paper!! Hello? That didn't work.

Can't wait for your next installment.


Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'll only say this once and many have and will say it, but thank you for sharing all these pieces of your life with me. I certainly would never have seen such things/people/places/birds/flowers/art, any other way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 6:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Love the art you've shared, as well as the stories.

That is a gorgeous pic of you. Very hot, stylish and mod!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 8:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm a fan of nice, soft, thick TP. I don't want to use sand paper down there!! No way!!


I used on those kinds of toilets in Japan. I took a photo of it because it was so unusual to me. I'm not a fan of squatting. I much prefer to sit down properly, then have good TP to use. Ha, ha, tee, hee!!

How wonderful to have those Picasso pieces. I'm sure your dad WAS indeed an expert at choosing quality pieces and knowing how to spot the finest works.
I like the owl ceramic. Very simple and cute. It makes me happy just looking at it.


I've got to go somewhere right now, but I'll be back later to read part 5. I am really enjoying each episode of your marvelous trip!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 10:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm late getting here but enjoyed the next part in your trip to the South of France! It would have been so exciting to be at that gallery and meet so many exciting and talented people! Your life is so interesting Naomi!

I would sure have to go bad before I would use a toilet like that! Surely they have modernized by now and upgraded the toilet paper!! Let's hope!!

I'm going now to read Part 5!! This is fun reading!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 9:05:00 PM PDT 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

Those are beautiful pieces you have - they must give you such pleasure. He had so many different phases but his work - for me - was always right on the money.
Oh those squatters! I still have night mares about the one at Pere La Chaise cemetery in Paris. I didn't have your courage.
I think I have caught up now:)

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 8:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Fascinating pictures in this France series. As for the hole in the floor toilet -- a couple years ago friends were touring China. The wife slipped on unseen moisture surrounding one such hole she was using, chipped her ankle bone. Despite ultimately having to go to a local hospital, being giving a strange cast, they finally had to depart the country early and return home to the U.S.

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 11:14:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Another entertaining post, Naomi!
LOVE that photo of you....with those sun glasses, you certainly look tres chic!
The toilet paper has improved tremendously in France! But those, I believe they're called Turkish toilets, still remain in many of the sidewalk cafes. They do have a door for privacy. However, the hole in the floor is what you Having been in Paris so much, I know which cafes have an "American" toilet and which ones to

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 1:24:00 PM PDT 

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