The Beaux Arts Alliance

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photo of singer building

Photo above: The Singer Building, Broadway at Liberty Street, New York, NY, shows Ernest Flagg working in an exuberant French Renaissance style. Constructed in stages between 1897 and 1908, it was, at 612 feet, for a time the tallest building in the world. When it was demolished in the late 1960s, it was the tallest building ever torn down.

 

FRANCE -- the very word conjures up a thousand alluring images: the wondrous towers of Chartres and the rich taste of Burgundy, the wit of Moliere and the lingering scent of vetiver, Empire furniture and the elegant boulevards of Paris. The Beaux Arts Alliance is dedicated to all of these things and more, dedicated to celebrating them, interpreting them, and when necessary, to defending them.

The Alliance's field of interest is in French civilization in all its manifestations. And what magnificent manifestations there are, for, as Edith Wharton wrote: "The deep civilization of a country may to a great extent be measured by the care she gives her flower-gardens -- the corner of her life where the supposedly 'useless' arts and graces flouish. In the cultivation of that garden France has supassed all modern nations ..." But The Beaux Arts Alliance does not confine its interest to France itself. Indeed the Alliance focuses its attention especially on the architectural style flowing from Paris's great Ecole des Beaux-Arts and its masterly American practitioners such as Richard Morris Hunt, Charles McKim, and Stanford White. It also interests itself in the cultural cross-currents set in motion by American writers like Henry James, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway in whose lives and works France had a special place. The Alliance, in addition, concerns itself with American expressions of French art movements, including Impressionism; with the delights of French cuisine, with the achievement of the Huguenots; and with French influence in Louisiana.

But the Alliance is not all seriousness, for it has a special affection for wine, women, and song, in the form of the produce of the vineyard, fashion, and music from Lully to Piaf. The Alliance celebrates the many cultural links between the United States and France. It sponsors lectures, walking tours, trips and exhibitions, and is also involved in historic preservation.