Thursday, 29 March 2007

Paris: Le parc de Montholon

Quatre jolies parisiennes dans le parc de Montholon.
The inscription on the base of this statue reads 'La Sainte Catherine - à l'ouvrière Parisienne' (to the Parisian working woman) and is signed by J. Lorieux.
L'oeuvre évoque la tradition qui consiste, pour les jeunes filles célibataires de plus de 25 ans, à porter un chapeau le jour de la sainte Catherine.
I hope my translation is correct here: The work represents the tradition for young unmarried women of over 25 years to wear a hat on St. Catherine's day.
All I have been able to find is the artist's name Julien Lorieux (French, 1876-1915) and the only other piece of work I can find attributed to him is Délassement - if anybody has any further information I would be pleased to hear from them.
I haven't given up - I have found details of another Sculpture (but no image) "BOY WITH GOAT" which was a French work of bronze art from the 1900's This significantly large Bronze sculpture of a semi-nude adolescent boy wearing an animal skin loincloth and leaning against a rock formation is holding in one outstretched hand a plate with a miniature seated goat, while the other hand holds a knife. His face, hands, torso and feet are well defined and proportioned. Very rich dark and light brown patina. Casting done just prior to LORIEUX' untimely death at the age of 39.
LORIEUX (1876 -1915) Paris, France A student of Falguière and of Merciè at the Beaux-Arts, Julien Lorieux won two grand prizes in Rome (one for Metal Engraving and another for Sculpture) before his premature death at the time of the First World War. In addition to a selection of bronze busts and medals, in 1913 he exhibited his master work at the Salon, a group in marble entitled La Sainte-Catherine. The Museum of the Petit Palais in Paris possesses a number of Lorieux bronzes. Much of Lorieux' work, both in bronze and marble are in museums and private collections in Europe and seldom seem to come to auction in the United States.
Thanks to listpic
Saint Catherine's Day is known as la fête des vielles filles (old maids), for ladies over 25 and still unmarried. Apparently, there was a girl by the name of Catherine who was executed around the year 307 because she refused to marry a Roman emperor. That began a tradition where girls who hadn't found a husband by the age of 25 were called Catherines
On St. Catherine's Day, it is customary for unmarried women to pray for husbands, and to honour women who've reached 25 years of age but haven't married -- called "Catherinettes" in France. Catherinettes send postcards to each other, and friends of the Catherinettes make hats for them -- traditionally using the colors yellow (faith) and green (wisdom), often outrageous -- and crown them for the day. Pilgrimage is made to St. Catherine's statue, and she is asked to intercede in finding husbands for the unmarried lest they "don St. Catherine's bonnet" and become spinsters. The Catherinettes are supposed to wear the hat all day long, and they are usually feted with a meal among friends. Because of this hat-wearing custom, French milliners have big parades to show off their wares on this day.
The French say that before a girl reaches 25, she prays: "Donnez-moi, Seigneur, un mari de bon lieu! Qu'il soit doux, opulent, libéral et agréable!" (Lord, give me a well-situated husband. Let him be gentle, rich, generous, and pleasant!") After 25, she prays: "Seigneur, un qui soit supportable, ou qui, parmi le monde, au moins puisse passer!" (Lord, one who's bearable, or who can at least pass as bearable in the world!") And when she's pushing 30: "Un tel qu'il te plaira Seigneur, je m'en contente!" ("Send whatever you want, Lord; I'll take it!").
An English version goes,
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid
And grant that I never may die an old maid.
And there is this, a fervent French prayer:
Sainte Catherine, soyez bonne
Nous n'avons plus d'espoir qu'en vous
Vous êtes notre patronne
Ayez pitié de nous
Nous vous implorons à genoux
Aidez-nous à nous marier
Pitié, donnez-nous un époux
Car nous brûlons d'aimer
Daignez écouter la prière
De nos cœurs fortement épris
Oh, vous qui êtes notre mère
Donnez-nous un mari

Saint Catherine be good
We have no hope but you
You are our protector
Have pity on us
We implore you on our knees
Help us to get married
For pity's sake, give us a husband
For we're burning with love
Deign to hear the prayer
Which comes from our overburdened hearts
Oh you who are our mother
Give us a husband

... which is summed up more quickly in this, an English prayer:
A husband, St. Catherine
A handsome one, St. Catherine
A rich one, St. Catherine
A nice one, St. Catherine
And soon, St. Catherine