Early 2015 events at La Maison Française of NYU include a roundtable discussion entitled "Circa 1914: The Parisian Avant-Gardes and the Great War " (January 29); a lively performance of Debussy's La Boîte à joujoux (The Toybox) with pianist and shadow puppeteers (February 6) ; "Perspectives on the Paris Attacks" (February 18); and an evening devoted to examination of several key moments in the history of the Louvre (March 3).

Photo: La Maison Française
La Maison Française

All events are open to the public and free of charge unless otherwise indicated. La Maison Française, located at 16 Washington Mews (at University Place) is open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The building re-opens a half-hour before evening programs. For more information, please call 212.998.8750, email maison.francaise@nyu.edu, or visit www.nyu.edu/maisonfrancaise.


Thursday, January 29, 7:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and La Maison Française

Roundtable (in English)

Circa 1914: The Parisian Avant-Gardes and the Great War

On the occasion of Ara H. Merjian’s new volume, Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City: Nietzsche, Modernism, Paris (Yale University Press, 2014), three art historians discuss the avant-gardes in Paris and the Great War, centering in particular on that lightning rod of modernist experimentation, Guillaume Apollinaire.

Romy Golan is Professor of 20th Century art at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France Between the Wars.

Gordon Hughes is a Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Rice University. He is the author of Resisting Abstraction: Robert Delaunay and Vision in the Face of Modernism and co-editor, with Philipp Blom, of Nothing But the Clouds Unchanged: Artists in World War I.

Ara H. Merjian is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at NYU, where he is an affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History.


Tuesday, February 3, 7:00 p.m.

French Department Lecture (in French)

François Noudelmann

Philosopher; critic; radio producer, France Culture; professor, Université de Paris VIII; visiting professor, NYU; author of Le Toucher des philosophes. Sartre, Nietzsche et Barthes au piano; Les Airs de famille

La musique est-elle supérieure à la littérature? Malentendus et bonheurs d'une comparaison

Friday, February 6, 7:00 p.m.

Shadow Play and Piano Performance

Claude Debussy’s La Boîte à joujoux

Caroline Borderies and Christian Barthod, shadow puppeteers

Mirna Lekic, piano

Children welcome.

Reservations: 212-998-8750 or maison.française@nyu.edu

“Toy-boxes are really like towns in which toys live like people – or maybe towns are just toy-boxes in which people live like toys” (André Hellé, La Boîte à joujoux)

La Boîte à joujoux (The Toy-box), based on a scenario by the author and illustrator, André Hellé, is the third and final ballet written by Claude Debussy. It was intended as a ballet for child dancers or marionettes, and has, due to Debussy’s own ambivalence as to the style of performance, received a variety of productions. This performance features shadow play to tell the story of a love triangle between a doll, a soldier, and the villain, Polichinelle, on a night when the toys come alive.

Monday, February 9, 6:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Institute of African American Affairs, the Institute of French Studies, and La Maison Française NYU

Lecture in French

Cécile Canut

Sociolinguist, filmmaker; professor, Sorbonne Paris Cité university; author of Une langue sans qualité and Le spectre identitaire, entre langue et pouvoir au Mali

After working for some 15 years on questions linked to sociolinguistics in Mali, Cécile Canut currently dedicates her research to the circulation of discourses about Gypsies in Bulgaria and France. Director of several documentary films, she focuses on the processes of language subjectivation embedded in power relationships.

Des « Africains » et des « Roms » en France… Instrumentalisation des discours ordinaires xenophobes

Tuesday, February 17, 7:00 p.m.

Jacque Gamblin, French actor and writer

in conversation with
Tom Bishop

Director, Center for French Civilization and Culture, NYU

In French.

Jacques Gamblin studied at the Caen Dramatic Arts Centre. On stage, he has collaborated with directors such as Pierre Debauche, Claude Yersin, Michel Dubois, Jeanne Champagne, Philippe Adrien, Alfredo Arias, Charles Tordjman, Jean-Louis Martinelli, Gildas Bourdet, and Anne Bourgeois. As a playwright, Gamblin has adapted four of his own literary works for the stage: Quincailleries (1991), Le Toucher de la hanche (1997), Entre courir et voler il n’y a qu’un pas papa (2003) and Tout est normal mon coeur scintille (2010). Jacques Gamblin has also had an extended career on screen. He worked with Claude Lelouch (Il y a des Jours … et des Lunes, Tout ça… pour ça...), Robert Guediguian (À la vie à la Mort), Laurent Benegui, (Au Petit Marguery), Gabriel Aghion (Pédale douce), Jean Becker (Les Enfants du Marais), Philippe Lioret (Tenue correcte exigée and Mademoiselle). In 2002, Jacques was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival for his part in Bertrand Tavernier’s Laissez-passer. His recent films include Le Premier Jour du reste de ta vie (dir. Rémi Bezançon), Bellamy (dir. Claude Chabrol), Le Nom des gens (dir. Michel Leclerc), and A l’aveugle (dir. Xavier Palud).

Wednesday, February 18: (Time and location to be announced)

Perspectives on the Paris Attacks


Emmanuelle Saada, Columbia
Larry Wolff, NYU
Frédéric Viguier, NYU
Zvi Ben-Dor, NYU
Edward Berenson, NYU
Thomas Philippon, NYU

Thursday, February 19, 7:00 p.m.

Lecture in English

Vincent Giroud

Born in France and educated at Oxford, Vincent Giroud is a cultural historian who has taught in French, British, and American institutions. He served for many years as curator of modern books and manuscripts at Yale University and is currently Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Franche-Comté. His recent books include Picasso and Gertrude Stein; French Opera: A Short History; and Nicolas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Nicolas Nabokov: Composer, Cosmopolite, Cultural Force

Composer, cultural diplomat, and man about town, Nicolas Nabokov (1903-78) counted among his intimate friends everyone from Igor Stravinsky to George Kennan. While today he is overshadowed by his more famous cousin Vladimir, Nicolas Nabokov was during his lifetime an outstanding and far-sighted player in international cultural exchanges during the Cold War and admired by some of the most distinguished minds of his century for his political acumen and his talents as a composer.

Monday, February 23, 7:00 p.m.

Florence Gould Event

French Literature in the Making

Mathias Enar

in conversation with

Olivier Barrot

Mathias Enard is a French writer and translator. An expert in Arabic and Persian, he lived throughout the Middle East before settling in Barcelona. In addition to Bréviaire des artificiers (Verticales, 2007) and L’alcool et la nostalgie (Editions Inculte, 2011), Enard is the author of five novels and a graphic novel published by Actes Sud. La perfection du tir (2003, Prix des Cinq Continents de la francophonie), his first book, is a narrative of a sniper during a civil war in an unspecified country based on Lebanon. Remonter l’Orénoque was published in 2005. In 2008, Actes Sud published Enard’s Zone, a novel of a single sentence of over 500 pages. The story of a French intelligence agent who previously had fought alongside Croat forces during the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s, the novel won several prizes, including the Prix Décembre, the Prix Candide, and the Prix du Livre Inter, and was published in an English translation by Charlotte Mandel. In 2010, Enard published Parle-leur de batailles, de rois et d’éléphants (Prix Goncourt des lycéens) based on a probably fictive visit of Michelangelo to Constantinople in 1506, followed by Rue des voleurs (2012) and a graphic novel, Tout sera oublié (2013).

Olivier Barrot

Writer, journalist, television producer and host, Un Livre un jour (France 3 and TV5); author of L’Ami posthume: Gérard Philippe; Je ne suis pas là; Le fils perdu; Un Livre un jour, un livre toujours

In French.

Presented with the additional support of Centre National du Livre, Sofitel, and La Compagnie.

Thursday, February 26, 7:00 p.m.

Quentin Bajac

Chief Curator of Photography, Museum of Modern Art; author of L’Image révélée, l’invention de la photographie; La Photographie: l’époque modern 1880-1960; Après la photographie: du daguerreotype au numérique

in conversation with

Shelly Rice

Professor, Department of Photography and Imaging and Department of Art History, NYU; critic; curator; author of Parisian Views; editor, Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman

In English.


Tuesday, March 3, 6:15 p.m.

Building the Louvre

From its origins as a medieval fortress depicted in medieval Books of Hours, towering over the peasants who work the fields of the agricultural land that then surrounded it, the Louvre has evolved into a tourist site and postmodern logo that has been sold to other museums around the world. The recent licensing of its name to a museum in Abu Dhabi demonstrates the Louvre’s enduring image as embodiment of cultural prestige and power. Speakers will examine several key moments in the history of the Louvre, a site where art, literature, history, and politics interact.

Patrick Bray, Ohio State University
Phillip John Usher, NYU

Markus Cruse, Arizona State University
Maggie Flynn, Ohio State University
Bettina Lerner, CUNY

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Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337