Thursday, May 28, 2015

Transhumance in the Vicdessos

These pictures come from the blog of Martin Castellan, taken in  the Vicdessos valley near Tarascon (Ariège). 
It portrays the transhumance, the movement of cattle and sheep to the mountain pastures in spring. 
Huge flocks, a few shepherds and a good number of enthusiasts helping to get the animals up. 
It shows perfectly well why the beret has become the headgear of choice for the Pyrenean shepherds; shielding their eyes from the sun and bright light, protecting the head and shoulders from rain. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Felix Nussbaum

Felix Nussbaum ( 1904 – 1944) was a German-Jewish surrealist painter. 
Nussbaum was born in Osnabrück, Germany, as the son of Rahel and Philipp Nussbaum. Philipp was a World War I veteran and German patriot before the rise of the Nazis. He was an amateur painter when he was younger, but was forced to pursue other means of work for financial reasons.
Nussbaum was a lifelong student, beginning his formal studies in 1920 and continuing as long as the contemporary political situation allowed him. Heavily influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Henri Rousseau, he eventually paid homage to Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà as well.
In 1933, Nussbaum was studying under a scholarship in Rome at the Berlin Academy of the Arts when the Nazis gained control of Germany. Adolf Hitler sent his Minister of Propaganda to Rome in April to explain to the artist elites how a Nazi artist was to develop, which entailed promoting heroism and the Aryan race. Nussbaum realised at this point that, as a Jew, he could not remain at the academy.
The next decade of Nussbaum's life was characterised by fear, reflected in his artwork. In 1937 he married Felka Platek during their exile in Brussels.
After Nazi Germany attacked Belgium in 1940, Nussbaum was arrested by Belgian police as a "hostile alien" German, and was subsequently taken to the Saint-Cyprien camp in France. The desperate circumstances in the camp influenced his pictures of that time. He eventually signed a request to the French camp authorities to be returned to Germany. On the train ride from Saint Cyprien to Germany, he managed to escape and rendezvous with Felka in Brussels, and they began a life in hiding. Without residency papers, Nussbaum had no way of earning an income, but friends provided him with shelter and art supplies so that he could continue his craft. The darkness of the next four years of his life can be seen in the expression of his artwork from that period.
Philipp and Rahel Nussbaum were killed at Auschwitz in February 1944. In July, Nussbaum and his wife were found hiding in an attic by German armed forces. On August 2 they arrived at Auschwitz, and a week later Felix was murdered at the age of 39.
Felix Nussbaum’s artwork affords a rare glimpse into the mind of one individual among the victims of the Holocaust. In 1998, the FelixNussbaum Haus in Osnabrück opened its doors to exhibit the artworks of Felix Nussbaum.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Un béret français, by the Prévert brothers, 1932

This beautiful clip shows the brothers Prévert, in 1932, in one of the funniest beret-films I have seen to date!
Jacques Prévert was born on February 4, 1900 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France as Jacques André Marie Prévert. He was a writer, known for The King and Mister Bird (1980), Les Enfants du Paradis (1945) and Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (1936). He was married to Janine Tricotet and Simone Dienne. He died on April 11, 1977 in Omonville-la-Petite, Manche, France.

Pierre Prévert was born on May 26, 1906 in Paris, France. He was a writer and director, known for Adieu Léonard (1943), Voyage surprise (1947) and The Man from Chicago (1963). He died on April 6, 1988 in Paris.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Yes, back from my grand trip across the world; loaded with information and all kinds of material relating to berets.
All news will be related here and on Fb soon, but let's begin with some really positive news: The Killing of Basques is Now Banned in Iceland!
The Icelandic district of Westfjords repealed a 400-year-old decree to kill any Basque caught in the area on sight. “The decision to do away with the decree was more symbolic than anything else,” said Westfjords district commissioner Jonas Gudmundsson. “We have laws, of course, and killing anyone– including Basques – is forbidden these days.”
The edict was issued in 1615 after a storm destroyed three Basque whaling vessels on an expedition in Iceland. Eighty members of the crew survived, said Gudmundsson, and were left stranded in the area. “They had nothing to eat, and there were accounts of them robbing people and farmers,” he said.
The commemorative event in Holmavik with Jónas Guðmundsson, Sherriff of the West fjords in Iceland
The brewing conflict between locals and the whalers prompted then-sheriff Ari Magnússon to draw up a decree that allowed Basques to be killed with impunity in the district. In the weeks that followed, more than 30 Basques were killed in raids led by the sheriff and local farmers. “It’s one of the darkest chapters of our history,” said Gudmundsson, noting that the incident known as the Slaying of the Spaniards ranks among the country’s bloodiest massacres.
Four centuries later, Gudmundsson decided it was time to set right the wrongs of history. Last month, at the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to the Basque whalers who were killed, he repealed the decree. “This decision was made 400 years ago and it has never formally been repealed until now.”