Thursday, September 13, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 56

 Saint Pierre Cathedral, Montpellier, France

Postcards are wonderful snapshots of history so I was delighted and surprised to get this one.  It was found in a flea market in Montpellier, France and sent to me together with a little information.  There are some interesting things about the card beginning with the photographer, Pierre Yves Petit (1886-1969) who went by the name Yvon professionally.  His signature mark is in the lower right corner of the card.  He was one of the first to publish postcards with artistic photographs not just standard tourist shots.

Yvon would walk the streets of Paris and other places with his camera waiting for the right light, clouds and shadows, the right combination of people, scenic views and buildings, to take his photos.  After I received the card I looked for other photographs he had taken finding a book “Yvon Paris” by Robert Stevens that contains a collection of some of his pictures.  Yvon was called a flânuer, I think that means a wanderer or loiterer.  It also suggested to me that he must have spent literally hours waiting for those perfect moments to take his photos.  Most of his pictures were taken during the years between WWI and WWII.  His photographs are beautiful works of art requiring much patience and skill to achieve.

Most of his pictures were black & white prints used for postcards.  Yvon got his first camera at the age of 12.  By 1919 his postcard company was established.  This card is interesting because it is printed in sepia tones not black & white.  The sepia coloration makes it seem like it was an early postcard while in fact it could have been printed as late as the 1960s.  It is one of an Yvon art series called “La Douce France,” or Sweet France.

My friend pointed out that it is possible to judge the size of the cathedral by the height of the tiny, tiny people walking at the lower right side of the card (I almost didn’t see them) just above the signature mark of Yvon.  Cathedrale Saint-Pierre is huge—93.5 feet high by 336 feet long!  Below are a couple of links including a 10-minute video that shows the exterior and interior of the cathedral during an organ concert with the Bach Prelude & Fugue played by Othar Chedlivili that suits the majesty of the architecture.

The cathedral was built in the 14th century.  The two towers shown on the card are very similar to the towers found on the Papal Palace in Avignon and some other buildings of about the same age. 
Interesting trivia fact:  Cathedrale Saint-Pierre is located in Montpellier, France next to the oldest faculty of pharmacy in the world founded in the 13th century.

Merci for sending it to me, my friend.

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