French Chic & Slim
5 o'Clock Tea with Anne Barone
A tranquil spot, a cup of tea, a book, and something to nibble. Afternoon tea is my favorite time of day. Please join me for Thé de 5 Heures.
A Grandfather's Gallery Tea — Part 2
à lire / to read
You can read A Grandfather's Gallery Tea Part I
My Grandfather’s Gallery: A Family Memoir of Art and War by Anne Sinclair.
Anne Sinclair ends the epilogue to My Grandfather’s Gallery:
In May 2011, under painful circumstance, I found myself forced once more to live in New York, a prisoner, to some extent, of America. The city of New York itself, which seemed enchanted to me in my childhood, had now become, for both me and my family, a place synonymous with violence and injustice. I had trouble regaining the pleasure of wandering along its streets.
I went back, of course, to Fifty-seventh Street, to the stretch of pavement once occupied by the first Galerie Rosenberg, where the luxury boutiques now extend, between Fifth and Madison. I walked along seventy-ninth Street, in front of the last of the family galleries, on the Upper East Side, which now strikes me as prodigiously ordinary.
In midtown, I sauntered through the Museum of Modern Art, where, in the room reserved for the impressionists, so rich in dazzling works, I fix my attention on the portrait that stares pointedly at the visitors: that of van Gogh’s friend and model Joseph Roulin, the famous postman with the bushy beard, the word “Postes” proudly emblazoned on his cap. That painting was given to the museum by my grandparents, who were so grateful to [founding director of the Museum of Modern Art] Alfred Barr and his country for offering them asylum and the recovery of their dignity. How could I allow the chaos of my recent reality to trample cherished childhood memories? How could I resent the entire city over one grueling experience? I never expected these pages, which opened with an identity denied in France, to finish on a forced, turbulent stay in America.
But that, of course is another story. If I were a journalist, I might one day write a book about it.
With that teasing last sentence Anne Sinclair ends her family memoir of art and war.
Some background May 2011:
A few days after Anne Sinclair’s then husband Dominique Stauss-Kahn was arrested in New York in May 2011 on charges of assaulting a hotel maid, The New York Times had published an article about Anne Sinclair titled Backing Her Man With Impressive Resources in which they wrote:
She was the driving force behind Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s political ambitions, and her wealth, inherited from her grandfather, the art dealer Paul Rosenberg, enabled the couple to live lavishly and independently, with two extraordinary apartments in Paris, a $4 million house in Georgetown and a riad in Marrakesh.
She also helped finance a group of political advisers, press aides and Internet sites that were preparing the ground for what was soon supposed to be a triumphant return to France for Mr. Strauss-Kahn, to begin a race for the presidency many thought he would win.
“She always wanted to prove that, 75 years after Léon Blum, the French were capable of electing a Jew,” a friend told Le Monde. “In her eyes, that would be a formidable revenge on history.”
Anne Sinclair and Dominique Stauss-Kahn were still together in January 2012 when Le Huffington Post, the French incarnation of The Huffington Post made its debut with Anne Sinclair as its editorial director.
Then, on 7 March the original French 21 rue La Boétie was published. New prestigious job, new book published to good reviews. Good things in Anne Sinclair's life. But by this time, a new, nightmarish element had been introduced. The French police in Lille, France, had questioned her husband DSK about suspected participation in a prostitution ring. The media responded with tawdry headlines. He was charged with “aggravated pimping.”
In June, Anne Sinclair and her husband threatened to sue Closer magazine for invasion of privacy over allegations that they had separated. Apparently, they had separted. They just objected to Closer publishing the fact. And on 31 August 2012, Anne Sinclair told a newspaper interviewer that she and Dominique Strauss-Kahn had, in fact, separated.
Sometime before end of 2012 Pierre Nora (now 84) began living with Anne Sinclair. Pierre Nora is a noted French historian, academic, and editor of important French historical works on the importance of history to the French. They are reportedly still together. Anne Sinclair and DSK divorced March 2013. She continues as the editorial director of Le Huffington Post. Early 2016 Anne Sinclair introduced a new video segment to the publication named Huff Play.
Not Very French
The UK edition of My Grandfather’s Gallery was released in September 2014 — with a different subtitle than the English USA edition. In the UK, it was: A Legendary Art Dealer’s Escape from Vichy France. Puzzling choice because, as I remember, the escape was covered in about half a chapter of the 16 chapter book.
In any case, at the time of the UK publication The Guardian published an interview that journalist Elizabeth Day conducted with Anne Sinclair. This 2014 interview demonstrates well what about Anne Sinclair I sensed four years previously as I did my research for Chic & Slim Toujours and found her “not very French.”
Elizabeth Day writes:
Despite her intelligence, her success and her looks, she is one of the most self-critical people I have ever interviewed.
When she is being photographed, she says again and again that she looks terrible in pictures, that she’s “too stiff” or “too fat”. All through those years of doing live weekly interviews, she never once watched herself on screen: “I would always think ‘I should have said that’,” she says. “Or: ‘That’s not a good answer. There, you should have done this!’”
Does she think she is beautiful?
. . . . I always feel myself that I’m fat, my hair is no good, I don’t have a nice complexion. All the time. I do myself down.”
Oh, dear! Doesn’t sound very French, does she?
You can read the entire 2014 Guardian interview with Anne Sinclair.
thé du jour / today’s tea
Buddha Peak Ceylon. Peet’s described this tea as having a “bright, malty flavor.” One usually associates “malty” with Assam teas, and anyway, I would describe the taste more as citrus with a touch of bitter chocolate. Definitely a good afternoon tea. Nice with milk. The last I checked Peet’s no longer offers Buddha Peak Ceylon. That is okay with me because I enjoyed it, but it did not become a favorite. Besides it was an expensive tea to brew: it took almost 2 teaspoons for one cup water to produce any acceptable taste. But the tea was organic. And I thought Buddha Peak was a neat name for a tea.
le casse-croûte / the snack
Madeleines. Because Anne Sinclair's grandfather Paul Rosenberg’s Paris gallery was known for its elegant interior as well as for its incomparable modern art, the elegant sponge cake-like French cookies made in shell-shaped molds seems the proper pastry for this tea.
la musique / the music
Igor Stravinsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. This concerto was composed in 1931, about the time much of the modern art Paul Rosenberg represented by such artists as Picasso, Braque and Matisse was being created.
image: My Grandfather's Galley back cover print version, front cover audiobook and Buddha Peak Ceylon cannister and tea
Other 5 o'Clock Teas with Anne Barone