Sunday, December 9, 2012

Chronology and Cultural History

In 1934, a demonstration by the far-right in Place de la Concorde caused riots. The Popular Front, a left-wing party, is formed after a demonstration on July 14, 1935, on Bastille Day. The Popular Front was formed to create an alliance of centrist and leftist political parties in France that were opposed to the onset of fascism. The Popular Front wins the general election in May of 1936. Their victory was marked by spontaneous street celebrations and demonstrations. 

Both before and after the war, the Maison de Verre was an important cultural and political meeting place. La Maison de Verre was a place where artists, poets, and travelers got together for dinners and receptions. The house's guests included Louis Jouvet, Max Ernst, Pierre Levy, and Jeanne Bucher. Annie Dalsace's love for art was life-long; she bought paintings by Picasso and Braque, Lipchitz sculpted a bust of Annie, Jean Lurcat painted her portrait, and the house e hoed with concerts of chamber music. 

In 1939, World War II begins. During the occupation of France by Germany, the house was closed and emptied of all its furniture which was hidden and kept safe. The Germans wanted to requisition the Maison de Verre but they soon realized that they could neither heat nor light it. After the Liberation in 1944, the Dalsaces returned to Paris and lived in the maids’ rooms above the Maison de Verre while their house was being restored after four years of neglect. The Dalsaces were politically active, and in the 1950s the house was the setting for the foundation of the Association of Doctors Against War and Fascism. It also housed secret peace talks between the French and the Vietnamese, as well as meetings in support of peace in Algeria. The house was open to everyone. La Maison de Verre was a meeting place where avant-garde ideas, artistic concepts and the most beautiful utopian ideals were being expressed; it was open for everyone and everything, for every form of expression. It was a place of friendship.

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