Festival of Ham and Secondhand Goods

GRAMOPHONE,  Oil on Canvas,   21 x 18 inches
GRAMOPHONE, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 18 inches

“I don’t know anything about music.  In my line you don’t have to.”  – Elvis Presley


Dear Friends and Family,

The Île des Impressionistes, or Île de Chatou, is an island in the Seine, about halfway between Paris and Saint Germain-en-Laye.  Here in 1881, Pierre-August Renoir painted “Luncheon of the Boating Party” or “Le déjeuner des canotiers.”  The restaurant depicted in the painting, La Maison Fournaise, is still here.

Twice a year on the island a festival is held, called the Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons, or Festival of Ham and Secondhand Goods.  I don’t know how these two ever got put together but they have, and it’s a great festival.  Here is the link to it, the French version, and the English Version.

In the center aisle of the festival are arranged the food stalls.  You can get everything from jambalaya to a full ham and veggie supper.  Our tradition is a glass of champagne (or two) and a baguette spread with foie gras.  Then we wander around the market stalls, where you will find almost anything imaginable.   I bought this gramophone from a woman who runs a stall here and a store in Saint Germain-en-Laye.  If you’ve seen the movie “Midnight in Paris” there is a scene where the character played by Owen Wilson wanders into a stall just full of these gramophones.  

I brought the machine home and made this painting.  What I especially love about the painting, aside form the reflections in the horn, is the drawing in the background.  Pictures within pictures.  The gramophone actually works, the crank winds a mechical spring which moves the turntable.




“To invent, you need a good imagination, and a pile of junk.”   -Thomas A. Edison



“One has to look out for engineers – they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb.”  – Marcel Pagnol



Here I am at the Foire, with a GI Joe doll.  I ended up buying one of the glass domes, for a future project.  Stay tuned…

Thank you,

Felice (Phil) Panagrosso

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