Friday, 21 December 2012

It's a Whitewash

We always spend time in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont while we are in Paris. The hotel we stay at is only a couple of blocks away and the park is wonderful. We rounded a corner in September and encountered this whitewashed tree in the dell overlooked by one of the restaurants in the park. The paint job was incredibly neat and thorough. No natural tree colour showed through and there was no evidence of paint or whitewash on the lawn underneath. Extra-ordinary! There was no explanation of why the tree was painted. I presumed it was a temporary work of art and that the white would wash off, maybe in the next rain. But no -- the ghostly tree was still there on 14 December when we arrived back from Australia.

On our original visit I was equally fascinated by the reaction of some small boys passing in a school group. 'Oh look at that! Isn't it pretty? And what pretty flowers too!' I cannot imagine a group of c.8 year old Australian boys having quite the same reaction (or even noticing the flowers in the nearby garden bed -- although I'm sure the tree would have at least got some attention).

UPDATE: It's art and it's whitewash -- the full explanation here (in English and French) thanks to a link provided by Canadian blog reader The Beaver.

7 comments:

Tim said...

Leave that bottle of Calvados alone!!

chm said...

Any idea why that tree was painted white. You said, 'work of art' but was it dead, or was it alive? If the paint didn't wash off, it should be dead by now, no? Any way to check?

Susan said...

Tim: the photos don't lie!

chm: I think the tree must be dead, but it still has all its leaves. There is no explanation in the gardens that I have seen.

The Beaver said...

Susan

You have the explanations here;
http://www.pariscotejardin.fr/2012/10/coup-de-blanc-sur-les-prunus-du-parc-des-buttes-chaumont-paris-19e/
http://www.labiennaledebelleville.fr/2012/09/vincent-lamouroux/

chm said...

Merci, Cousine, for the links. I didn't think of checking the Buttes-Chaumont on the Net. There is the explanation. Hope the whitewash will dissolve with the rainy season.

Susan said...

Beaver: Thanks! I searched on the interwebs when we first saw the tree, but found nothing. I think we must have seen it when it was very newly installed and before the two articles you gave the links for were posted (both excellent blogs btw). The reaction of the schoolkids suggests they had never seen it before and they walk through the park this way at least once a week. I never thought to search again for info when I finally came round to publishing this post.

Tim said...

Absolutely fascinating.... I have always liked ephemeral art... thanks Susan for sharing this with the world... and thank you T'Beaver for pointing me at yet another fascinating blog!