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Members of The Arts Society Wirral enjoy meeting socially and our expanding programme of events encourages friendships and lively conversation.  Joining one of our outings or tours or Days of Special Interest is an excellent way to explore new places or to share time with a friend.  



Day of Special Interest

Why Paris?

Lecturer: Mary Alexander

Heswall Hall

Monday 6th November 2023  

10am to 3.30pm approx

3 Lectures, morning coffee and biscuits and a Buffet Lunch

 ticket prices to follow

Please click the 'Contact Us' button to reserve a place:  

A stimulating and enjoyable Special Interest Day exploring how and why the city of Paris has acted as both a magnet and cauldron of talent for aspiring artists and designers. Discover more about the key events and personalities shaping the 'City of Light' during the first half of the twentieth century. Looking beyond  the mainstream, we will identify the creative individuals, including newly emerging female talents, who shaped the Parisian concept of 'modernity' in art, design, interiors, fashion, and photography.

Whether strolling along Haussmann's new boulevards, ascending the magnificent staircase of Garnier's Opéra House, calling into an artist's studio, cafe, nightclub, or couture fitting, we will recreate the sense of 'being there'. Literary descriptions by Zola, Stein, Cocteau, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald will accompany the sumptuous visual details photographed especially for this purpose. Comparisons between the international Paris exhibitions of 1900, 1925 and 1937 will shed light on changing social/cultural issues, rapid technological change, and the key role of couture and fashion in French identity, especially during the German  Occupation, and immediately after the Liberation.

This new Special Interest Day 'Why Paris?' has evolved by popular request from many societies who have enjoyed my 'New York New York'  SID. A similar inclusive and exploratory approach is used with location maps, using both contemporary and old photographs of the city, various art and design media, to share many of the questions which have fascinated me over the years. Whether you know the city well or not at all, there will be new and exciting discoveries for everyone.

Lecture One : La Belle Époque - city of pleasure and reinvention 1890s - 1914

Coffee and buscuits

Lecture Two: Partying into the Future 1920s and 30s

Buffet Lunch

Lecture Three: Paris Exposition 1937, Occupation and Defiance

The final lecture

I will bring a selection from my personal vintage postcard collection, advertisements, fashion plates, and historic exhibition catalogues for your enjoyment.

Mary has thirty years' experience as a lecturer, with a BA in History and History of Art and a MA with distinction in History of Art from University College London. Experience includes public lectures in museums, tutoring for the Open University, visiting lecturer at Christie's Education in London, museum curator at Platt Hall, the Gallery of Costume, Manchester. Now a freelance lecturer to various arts, heritage and antiquarian societies. She also worked in Pentagram design consultancy in London and New York, organising conferences and special events. Author of various articles on design and visual awareness issues, her background combines an unusual blend of academic and visual communications skills. Lectured for ADFAS Australia and New Zealand in 2011, 2013 and 2016. Mary is an enthusiastic member and President of The Arts Society Glaven Valley.

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