Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paris Erotic Arts Gallery: Opening October, 2011

As I prepare for the Paris Paper Show the first week of February (see my post with details) I realize that I should get back to my previous trip in October and finish what I wanted to post. 

That being said one of the highlights of Paris in October was a visit to Nicole Canet's marvelous bordello-like, red velvet draped, photographs and art gallery, Au Bonheur du Jour. I visited on a quite morning and returned a few nights later for an opening of her latest show Decors de Bordels. 

As always, Mde Canet, Nicole, has on view an excellent selection of high quality photographs and art works of the nude, the erotic and in this case, documentation of Parisian maisons-close, aka whorehouses, bordellos. The opening was also to celebrate the new book published by Nicole filled with exceptional documentation of many Paris bordellos. It includes very beautiful photographs of interiors, many not previously published.

Above is an amazing, turn-of-the-century relic from a Parisian maison-close recently purchased by Nicole at auction. It is not a condom warmer, but a heater, room radiator. I was told that the under-bidder was EGF/GDF the French National Electric and Gas Company! Photographed in the window of the gallery.

I highly recommend a visit to the gallery while in Paris. Check details on the website, as with most galleries/boutiques in Paris, the hours are limited. Photos from the opening night and my gallery visit follow.

The back room, bordello-like gallery space, filled with art work, photographs and curious objects in vitrines. Nicole and her assistants have an exceptional talent for arranging and presenting the material on view.

Gallery space and some of the opening night attendees. Nicole in the center above.


Earlier in the week I had an early morning rendezvous with Nicole, which is always entertaining and interesting, sharing "war stories", comparing notes and doing business. 

 Note the Brassai photographs (two on the right and another lower left) for the Diana Slip Company.

 Nicole showing her Decors de Bordels book to a client.

 Canes and umbrellas circa 1900 with erotic decorations or stanhopes.

Vitrine with circa 1880s ~ 1900 photo albums.

 In another vitrine: very rare maison-close jeton ~ whorehouse tokens. Buy two hours with a prostitute and get the third one free!

 Entrance to the gallery. I love this place!

Two photographs by Eugene Atget. Entrances to Parisian maisons-close.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

John McWhinnie Book Seller & Art Dealer Dies at 43

This past Saturday evening I received an email linked to a story about the untimely, tragic death of John McWhinnie. My condolences to his wife Maria, his family and friends as well as his associates and colleagues at the Glenn Horowitz company. 

The first notice on the web of John's death is here at I suggest reading the comments following the story as well. There is an obituary from the 1/10/12 Sun Journal, a local Maine newspaper, here and an interview with John on Peter Sutherland's website that says so much about who he was and how he arrived in the book trade. There is also an obituary at the New York Times online.

I was very fond of John and felt a strong connection with him via our shared interests in books, photographs and periodicals and all things related to the demi-monde. He had a tremendous capacity to situate material across wide spectrums of time, style and context, making for superb presentations at book fairs, gallery exhibitions or his website. John's Cool, Cooler, NFW page helps define his approach and presentation of unusual juxtapositions.

It is an extremely sad and gut-wrenching beginning to the new year for anyone who knew John. He was indeed a very cool, uniquely gifted person who is already, seriously missed.

Update 1/17: A non-denominational memorial service will be held for John on January 19th from 10:30am to 12:30pm at the Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South (20th Street between Irving & Third). 

John at his stand, New York Art Book Fair, 2011. Photo by Olivier Zahm

John McWhinnie January 291968 ~ January 6, 2012

Next Show: Paris Paper Show February, 2012

am preparing for the Paris Paper Show (Salon Du Livre et Papiers Anciens) where I will have a stand for the first four days of this ten day show. For approximately the previous 15 years, the Vieux Papier has taken place at the Espace Champerret, at Porte Champerret near the western edge of the Parisian city limits. Now, for the February installation of the show, the promoters have chosen Halle Freyssinet180 degrees opposite from Champerret near the National Library (BNF) towers at the eastern edge of the city in the 13th arrondissement. 

The show dates are from February 2nd to February 12th. Detailed information can be found at this link for the Joel Garcia Organization, the promoters of the show. Note that I will be there for the first four days of the show only: February 2,3,4 and 5th. My stand will be in the photo ancienne section of the show. You can save the 8 euro entry fee by going to the bottom of the JGO page and follow the link to download a free ticket. Take note: this is traditionally one of the best paper shows in Europe.

If you plan to attend the show take a look at my eBay store listings. Please contact me at if there are items of interest to you. If possible I will bring them with me to the show. Similarly, if you have a want list, send it to me, I may have something available that I can show you in Paris.

Medium format, silver emulsion photograph.