Fontaine Carpeaux, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

Four broads you don't want to mess with

Postcard Friendship Friday (PFF) This week’s foray into Postcard Friendship Friday brings us to this gift from my postcard friend Eddy, who runs the excellent blog D’hier à aujourd’hui (From Yesterday to Today), which compares postcard images of the France of yesteryear with modern views of the same sites. This card, along with another turn-of-the-century French card, arrived a few days ago, but you get to see only this one today; I will save the other for Bastille Day.

This postcard, postmarked 24 August 1905, shows the top of the Fontaine Carpeaux in Paris’s 6th District.  The four maidens, created by sculptor Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, represent the “four parts of the world”: an African; an American Indian; an Asian; and a Caucasian.  They are posed as if they are turning the celestial sphere, complete with the signs of the zodiac, around the Earth.  Interestingly, the sphere was not created by Carpeaux, but by another sculptor, Pierre Legrain.  The fountain’s pool, not pictured, contains sculptures of horses emerging from the water, which were created by yet another sculptor, Emmanuel Frémiet.  But it is only Carpeaux’s name on the fountain.

The back of this card is even more fascinating:

An apology from Yvette

The card is addressed to Monsieur et Madame Poulain (ancestors of Amelie, perhaps?) at 6 Rue de la Présentation in Paris, which is looking a little worse for wear today.  The message is in an antique hand, and seems to be misspelled and ungrammatical here and there in a language that I don’t speak well, but I believe that it reads something like the following (please feel free to correct me):

All my regrets at not being here yesterday to thank you for your strong support. I charge this card with the deed and will meet both of you for dinner tomorrow night Friday without fail.  I embrace you (both). Yvette.

I guess the modern equivalent is receiving an email that closes with the word “hugs.”  There’s also a postscript in the upper left: “Alice wants(?) me to hug you for her.”  Let us hope that Yvette kept her appointment, gave hugs all around, and didn’t have to send another apology.

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13 Responses

  1. Muse Swings says:

    Wonderful card! There is a story to be told here – what ever could have delayed Yvette!

  2. Eddy says:

    Thank you Chris.
    what else, the translation of the postcard back is very good.
    And how much time for researches concerning the realization of the fountain.
    Have you lived in Paris ?

  3. Eddy says:

    Did you know that “E V” at the bottom of the adress means “En Ville” (In Town).
    Nowadays it can’t be used anymore, we use 5 numbers postal code.

  4. I was wondering about the “E V”; in the States, one used to be able to write “City” to accomplish the same thing.

    I have not been to Paris, but my French lessons included information about France in addition to the French language.

  5. Muse Swings says:

    I made an ever so slight “correction” to your comment over at Layhoon’s place.

  6. Sheila says:

    Muscular ladies, don’t you think? :) But I suppose they would have to be, with the weight of the world on their shoulders. That problem of translating French kissing is perennial as can be seen here.

  7. Judy says:

    Another interesting postcard.

  8. love the handwriting! computers destroyed people’s ability to write artistically. hehe.

    hope to see this bodacious fountain in paris someday. :)

  9. steviewren says:

    Beautiful handwriting on yet another antique card. I’ve been thinking that I need to take a handwriting class. My chicken scratched postcards won’t impress anyone in the future.

  10. Pearl says:

    Terrific card… Really enjoyed the history behind it… Thanks very much for sharing…
    ~blessings~
    Pearl

  11. Renée Morel says:

    The translation needs a correction. “… pour vous remercier de vive voix” does NOT mean “for your strong support,” but “[to thank you] in person.” Literally, “de vive voix” (like “viva voce” in Italian” means “with a live voice” as opposed to “in writing.” Thanks for the great carte postale!

  12. My high school French is showing. Thanks, Renée!

  1. 18 May 2009

    […] lieu of a specific article on the fountain. I did find this bit of info on a page that is otherwise devoted to postcards: The four maidens, created by sculptor Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, represent the “four parts of the […]

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