A Journey Along Tracks

I started my journey along railroad tracks a while back, as a way to discover and understand, and sometimes connect. Over the years, I painted railroad tracks, up North along the Hudson River, and South on the High Line; I even painted along the JR Line in Tokyo. My most recent Hudson Yards paintings came as a natural extension of the Grand Central Station and High Line projects.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, the first school of American landscape painters explored the dramatic wilderness of the Hudson River Valley. They lived in New York City, and traveled up North by train. I decided to follow in their footsteps and, in the summer of 2007, boarded a train at Grand Central Station on the Hudson River Line. I got off at every single stop, working my way up North, and painted every station along the way. I made a point of keeping train station and river in sight whenever possible. It took me two summers to complete the 30 stations.

Grand Central Station

Breakneck Ridge

In 2009, I travelled to Japan for work, and spent three months there. The Tokyo JR line became my next track project. Based on watercolors I painted on site, I executed 17 oil paint kakemonos featuring 17 views of the JR line.

JR Line Tokyo Station

Back in New York, a new development provided the inspiration for another systematic track exploration: the High Line. Dating back to the early 20th Century, this elevated railroad track snaked from warehouses and industrial buildings, through the meatpacking district and cheap housing for the waterfront workers, to the undeveloped railroad yards of Pennsylvania Station. The tracks eventually shut down. In the beginning of the 21st Century, the abandoned tracks were landscaped and turned into a park. For this series, I focused on the Steps to the High Linepainting all staircase accesses to the park.

High Line at Gansevoort

In the past two or three years, the scale of the Hudson Yards development reminded me of the excavation work that was done a century earlier to build Pennsylvania Station. I then decided to set up my easel in the same area from where George Bellows executed a series of four oil paintings: Pennsylvania Station Excavation (1907-1909).  Like Bellows, I wanted to celebrate this project. The Vessel, Heatherwicks’ centerpiece, is the focus of several paintings.

Hudson Yards Rising in the Fall, 2016

 

Pauline in Galerie Vivienne

La Belle Pauline @ Vivienne Art Galerie

Message 3, the original
Vivienne Art Galerie, Galerie Vivienne, Paris

At the origin of the 10 copies of “La Belle Pauline” is a work in wood pasted with canvas, painted with oil, 19″ x 15″. It has been invited by Pierre Guimbard and Paul Boulittreau to participate to the collective exhibition “Face to Faces” from May 07 to May 21 in Galerie Vivienne.

I had the honor to present in person, at the opening, the act of my Grandfather Robert Lère and his beautiful assistant, “La Belle Pauline”, my Grandmother.

10 copies have been made in paper of “La Belle Pauline”. Copy 01 of 10 arrived from Tucson, Arizona in the same time that the original in Paris and was trusted to a new Freevolous Messenger, just north of Paris, in Pantin. It’s a long journey…

To know more about her, please visit Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show.

Pauline’s 4 minutes of fame

Message 3, Artist Proof 01
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA

Shaking up the gloom of winter, La Belle Pauline went to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg.

Pauline shares Andy's coach in the Andy Warhol Museum Café

Pauline shares Andy’s couch in the Andy Warhol Museum Café

Pauline at the museum parking lot

Pauline at the museum parking lot

warhol2

Pauline stands on top of donation box at the exit of museum

Pauline got her 4 minutes of fame with a screen test shot in the museum: 
http://warholscreentest.com/v/AWM/Frederic_s_Screen_Test-63561756892493

It’s in black & white, without sound and lasts 4 minutes 41 seconds.

Artist Proof 01 is an extra copy of the 10 copies in paper that have been made from La Belle Pauline. To know more about her, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show.

Hidden Face of the Moon

Message 3, copy 2 of 10
Moon, Earth Natural satellite

Pauline explored it.
She confirms the H. G. Wells discovery: the Selenite civilisation lives well and prospers.
Pauline's bottle landed on the far side of the moon. Photo by Karen Tompkins

Pauline’s bottle landed on the far side of the moon. Photo by Karen Tompkins

Thanks to Karen Tompkins for helping Pauline in her extraordinary journey and bringing her back safely to Rhode Island!
Copy 2 of 10 went first to New Jersey.
10 copies in paper have been made from La Belle Pauline. To know more about her, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show. To know more about Karen Tompkins art, please visit her website.

 

To the Moon

Message 3, copy 2 of 10
Karen Tompkins studio, Manhattan

Copy 2 of la Belle Pauline went across the river, to New Jersey. Got homesick and came back to my studio. Karen, my neighbour, adopted her to send her to the moon, far, far away from New Jersey:

In Karen Tompkins studio, no telescope, but a microscope

In Karen Tompkins studio, no telescope, but a microscope

Karen’s comment:

Dear Frederic,

Pauline enjoyed her trip to the moon. I have sent her to Providence, RI. to my sister in law. Hope you are well and busy making more incredible art!
Cheers,
Karen

Karen’s moons are so amazing that we want Pauline to enjoy totally her trip and send us more pictures!

Copy 2 of 10 went first to New Jersey.
10 copies in paper have been made from La Belle Pauline. To know more about her, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show. To know more about Karen Tompkins art, please visit her website.

 

Tragedy at Sea

Message 3, copy 3 of 10
Letter “L“, AtLantic Ocean

L like Lost… During her crossing from Kingston, Jamaica to Brussels, Belgium, we learn that the Copy 3 of 10 of La Belle Pauline got lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. May she fall in good and caring hands.

Did La Belle Pauline got rescued?

Did La Belle Pauline get rescued?

Her sorry Freevolous Messenger add this somber note:

“Bonjour de Bishkek! L’ami de Bruxelles à qui j’avais envoyé la belle Pauline me dit qu’elle n’est jamais arrivée. Plus récemment, une lettre importante envoyée en recommandé de New York à Bangkok n’est pas plus arrivée. Quelqu’un d’autre a eu la même déconvenue, et j’en retiens qu’il ne faut surtout pas se fier à la poste américaine pour envoyer quelque chose à l’étranger. J’espère que la belle Pauline parviendra à faire du chemin malgré les obstacles…
Amitiés à tous les deux (trois si je compte la BP),
Pierre”
Copy 3 of La Belle Pauline visited first Kingston, Jamaica in this blog
To know more about her, please visit Messages in a Bottle and  FKL Show 

 

Les Vacances de Madame Pauline

Message 3, copy AP 2 from 10
Mackinaw City, Mi

After their escapade to the city of lights, la Belle Pauline and her Freevolous Messenger, Stuart Krasna, bid farewell on the shores of Lake Michigan…

sunset on Lake Michigan

Sunset on Lake Michigan

Take the A train to the Island?

She visited the famous fudge shops

Here is La Belle Pauline looking at the  Mackinaw Bridge, the longest bridge in North America

Here is La Belle Pauline looking at the Mackinaw Bridge, the longest bridge in North America

She also climbed to the top of Arch Rock in Mackinac Island

She also climbed to the top of Arch Rock in Mackinac Island

Grass for Pauline and a few rabbits

Giving Grass to Pauline and a few rabbits on Mackinac Island

“La Belle Pauline has returned to the states and is currently enjoying a relaxing vacation along the shores of Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City, Michigan… This island which doesn’t allow car traffic allows bicycles to be the main mode of transportation. One can also opt for horse and carriage.
And now this freevolous messenger has entrusted the next freevolous messenger with La Belle Pauline’s continued jouney. Everything was clearly explained, and the new carrier is quite enthusiastic. I look forward to seeing her appearance here on this blog soon. Good bye La Belle Pauline, and please stay in touch.

As a note, “Mackinac” and “Mackinaw” are the two possible correct spellings of the word and it’s spelled differently depending on whether you are referring to the city or the island.

Stuart”

To know more about La Belle Pauline, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show. Visit Paris with her in this blog. Visit her first sighting  in Ballet Class.
.

La Belle Pauline en Voyage

Message 3, copy AP 2 of 10
Paris, France

Six months after making an appearance in a ballet class, la Belle Pauline went back to her Parisian roots. An astounding come back:

So big, it has to be the real one.

So big, it has to be the real one.

My apologies, this Freevolous Messenger did not do well in picking the right person who would ensure La Belle Pauline an exciting and wonderful journey. This has now been corrected. I have repossession of La Belle Pauline who is now enjoying a fabulous trip in Paris and also the rolling hill beautiful country side of France. I will keep her for a while so she can recover. She will return to the states in a few days and then hopefully be assigned a wonderful Freevolous Messenger who will continue the journey in good faith. Photo attached
Stuart Krasna
To know more about La Belle Pauline, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show. Visit her first sighting in this blog in Message 3, copy AP 2 of 10.

 

Pauline and lots of Rabbits + one

Message 3, copy 1 of 10
Tucson, AZ

Pauline just arrived in Arizona. She is in good company! I have never been able to count how many rabbits were in my Grandfather hat. We have to add one.

The last hat trick by Grandpère Lère: a big rabbit playing saxo

The last hat trick by Grandpère Lère: a big rabbit

Comments by Lois and Yvonne, her new Freevolous Messenger:
“-Hope she does not get sun burned. Lois
“-Too cute. Yvonne”

To know more about La Belle Pauline, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show.

 

 

 

Pauline by Night

Message 3, copy 1 of 10
Jazz Standard, New York, NY

The first copy of Pauline was given to my friend Lois. She is married to Sy Johnson, the Jazz musician. What a better place than the Jazz Standard to take Pauline out? Lois and Sy are regulars there, where the Charlie Mingus Big Band plays every Monday Sy’s arrangements.

Pauline, back in a night club, as she used to be, long ago. in France

Pauline, back in a night club, as she used to be, long ago, in France

Lois added this comment:
She is finally on her way to Tucson, perhaps to get a tan.
She spent her last night in NY at the Jazz Standard listening to good music. I hope her travels will take her where ever she wants to go.”

To know more about La Belle Pauline, please visit  Messages in a Bottle and the FKL Show.