Name: Vincent Gabriel Fourcade

Date of Birth: 27 February 1934

Place of Birth: Paris, France

Vincent Gabriel Fourcade was a French interior designer and businessman. He lived from 27 February 1934 to December 1992. He was the business partner of Robert Denning. He is known for saying that his clients only wanted outrageous luxury.

Fourcade was born into a distinguished family. He grew up in a big house which had expensive Majorelle furnishings. He was influenced by the French aesthetes of the family. When he talked to Rosamond Bernier, an art historian, he said that he learned his craft by going to nice houses in France as well as Italy. He later went to study in University College London.

Fourcade was a handsome bachelor and was often invited to the US. He attempted to follow the footsteps of his father and worked a banker. Later, in 1959, he met Robert Denning.

Denning had his training under Edgar de Evia. Denning learned to develop his taste for design by being on set with de Evia. He went with de Evia who photographed different kinds of furniture and fabric. Furthermore, the two lived in the top floors of the Rhinelander Mansion, which was among the most prestigious apartments in Manhattan.

As de Evia spent more time in his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, Denning continued to entertain clients. Among them were Ogden Phipps and Lillian Bostwick Phipps.

The fraudulent practises in the handling of accounts continued, as financiers were kept as long as they received special favours and aid from the government. Fouquet soon became wealthier than Mazarin. However, Mazarin was not able to interfere since he himself was involved in similar activities. Later, Mazarin was replaced by Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Fouquet expected to become the head of government after the death of Mazarin. However, Louis XIV was suspicious of him. Louis XIV then stated that he would be the chief minister himself. Furthermore, Colbert often presented negative financial reports and deficits to the king. The king also despised Fouquet due to his extravagant lifestyle and purchase of the port of Belle-Île-en-Mer, where he intended to take refuge if things went wrong.

Fouquet also built an expensive château in Vaux-le-Vicomte, his estate. There, he gathered the famous artists in the country and opened his doors to the rich and famous. He also became a patron and collected the best pieces of art.

The king later went to Vaux and witnessed the grandeur of Fouquet’s lifestyle. In August 1661, Louis XIV was the guest of a fête, the splendour of which can be compared only to less than a handful in history. The king, however, had planned to end Fouquet’s activities but hesitated to do it in the open. Fouquet was soon persuaded to sell the position of procureur general and lost his protection.

Name: Nicolas Fouquet

Date of Birth: 27 January 1615

Place of Birth: Paris, France

Nicolas Fouquet was marquis de Belle-Île and vicomte de Melun et Vaux. He lived from 27 January 1615 to 23 March 1680. Under Louis XIV, he was the Superintendent of Finances.

He was born in Paris to a noble family. He had preliminary instruction under the Jesuits. Later, at 13 years old, he became avocat of the Parlement in Paris. As an adolescent, he held many responsibilities. At 20, he obtained the post called maître des requêtes. He later bought the post of procureur général under the Parlement after working for the army of Mazarin and the court. While Mazarin was in exile, Fouquet protected his property.

When Mazarin returned, Fouquet became the superintendent of finances. He demanded for the job which required him to decide on matter related to the allocation of funds for the state creditors and the negotiations between financiers and the king. The position was desired by those with money, and Fouquet found himself richer after his marriage to Marie de Castille, who also belonged to the noble class.

With his confidence and position as procureur general, he was able to improve the government’s credit while preventing investigations of financial transactions. Furthermore, since Fouquet was the minister of finance, Mazarin soon turned into a suppliant. Fouquet had to use his own credit at times to satisfy the demands of Mazarin and other courtiers.

Other awards she received include the Matt Cohen Prize in 2000, the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2002, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2004.

Gallant is among a few Canadian writers whose works appear regularly in The New Yorker. Several of her stories were printed in the magazine first before they were published in a collection.

While living in Paris, she reads newspapers daily in Italian, German, English and French. She has been reluctant in granting interviews; however, she appeared in two television documentaries in 2006. The first one was for Bravo! television entitled ‘Paris Stories: The Writing of Mavis Gallant’, and the other one was part of the television series ‘CONTACT, l’encyclopédie de la création’, whose host was Canadian broadcaster Stéphan Bureau.

On 1 November 2006, a tribute was given for Gallant during an event for Selected Shorts at the Symphony Space in New York City. Fellow authors Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Ondaatje, and Russell Banks honoured her by reading excerpts from her works. Gallant also made a personal appearance, which she rarely does, and read a short story she wrote.

The Prix Athanase-David was awarded to her by the government of Quebec on 8 November 2006. She is the first author who is writing in English to be given such award.

Name: Mavis Leslie Gallant

Date of Birth: 11 August 1922

Place of Birth: Montreal, Quebec

Mavis Leslie Gallant is a Canadian writer who was born on 11 August 1922 in Montreal, Quebec. She has lived in Paris, France, since the 1950s and short stays in Canada, but keeps her Canadian citizenship. She spends her life in Paris by writing stories and attending occasional gala and gallery opening exhibits.

Gallant’s father died when she was still young, and her mother married again. She was educated in 17 different convent, public and French-language schools. While in her 20s, she became a reporter for the Montreal Standard. In 1942, she married a musician from Winnipeg named John Gallant. They divorced in 1947, and in 1950, she left journalism to practise fiction writing.

Gallant has been frank about her preference for privacy and autonomy. In 1978, she said in an interview with Geoff Hancock for the Canadian Fiction magazine that her move to France was deliberate in order for her to write freely.

In 1981, her contribution to literature was recognised by her country, making her an Officer of the Order of Canada. She was also given the Governor General’s Award for literature that year for her book ‘Home Truths’, a collection of stories. She went back to Canada in 1983-1984 to be the University of Toronto’s writer-in-residence. Gallant was appointed as a Foreign Honorary Member by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1989. In 1993, she was promoted as a Companion of the Order of Canada.

As time passed by, Gainsbourg’s music became more and more eccentric. Some of his songs were regarded to be anti-drugs; more specifically his song entitled Aux Enfants de la Chance. The duet he had with his daughter, Charlotte, entitled Lemon Incest showed how much Serge Gainsbourg loved puns.

Although Serge Gainsbourg’s life was colourful, his life ended accordingly, on 2 March 1991, Gainsbourg suffered from a massive heart attack. His remains were interred at the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

Serge Gainsbourg’s popularity increased even after his death. In so doing, he was able to reach legendary status for his brilliance and success. In so doing, he was able to bring song writing to a whole new level. Through the years, many singers have given him much tribute by singing his songs accordingly.

British singer, Petula Clark, was one of the most famous interpreters of Gainsbourg’s songs. In his own way, Clark made sure that Gainsgbourg’s songs were delivered accordingly, exceeding regular sales. As her greatest tribute, she composed a song for the legendary icon, entitled La Chanson de Gainsbourg.

Another tribute was made accordingly in 2005 by Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited. The said album was released in 2005 by Virgin Records. Some of the artists included in the album include Placebo, Michael Stipe, Portishead, and Franz Ferdinand.

Name: Lucien Ginsburg

Date of Birth: 2 April 1928

Place of Birth: Paris, France

Serge Gainsbourg, or Lucien Ginsburg in real life, was born in Paris, France on 2 April 1928 to Olga Bessman and Joseph Ginsburg. His family was of Russian origin, and were considered Jewish. However, they migrated to France when the Bolshevik rose in 1917.

Growing up, Serge Gainsbourg was greatly influenced by the Nazis from Germany. Since they were Jews, Serge Gainsbourg and his family suffered much in the hands of the Germans. They were humiliated, discriminated, and treated unfairly until their family migrated to France.

By the time Serge Gainsbourg was thirty years old, he was a disenchanted painter. Despite these actions he worked his ways as a pianist for several bars in town. On 3 November 1951, he married his first wife Elisabeth Levitsky, they have a wonderful time. Six years after the marriage they were divorced. On 7 January 1964, he married Francoise-Antoinette Pancrazzi, but where divorced to years after in February of 1966. They were showered with two children, named Natacha and Paul, respectively.

During the shooting of his film, Slogan, he met and fell in love with Jane Birkin. She was an English actress and singer, whom Serge Gainsourg had a daughter with. His daughter with Jane Birkin, Charlotte Lucy Gainsbourg, turned out to be a popular personality in France.

Later, he was voted as representative to the Bonne-Nouvell district of the newly-organized Paris Commune. He also became a collaborator for ‘L’Ami des citoyens’ for a short period prior to the establishment of his paper ‘L’Orateur du Peuple’. He used Martel as his pseudonym. The paper consisted of eight pages and it came out everyday. Marcel Enfantin served as the editor of the paper.

Aside from writing his own paper, he also worked with Marat and he consented to fund and write the other part of Desmoulins paper. However, Enfantin was arrested because the authorities presumed that he was Martel.

Fréron's association with Desmoulins initiated him to the cause of the Cordeliers and influenced his participation with the attack on Tuileries palace of 1792 (popularly known as the revolution of the people of Paris against the House of Bourbon and their fight against the Swiss guards.)

He was also voted to the National Convention for the département of Seine and he also voted in favour of the execution of Louis XV. Between 1793 and 1794, he also became a Representative on Mission to Toulon, Marseilles, and Provence. He and Paul Barras were charged of setting up the Convention’ authority in the Medieterranean South after related events like the Toulon uprising. Fréron became famous because of his title as enforcer of the Reign of Terror.

Name: Louis-Marie Stanislas Fréron

Date of Birth: 08 August 1754

Place of Birth: Paris, France

Louis-Marie Stanislas Fréron is a French politician, a representative to the National Assembly, a journalist, and a representative on mission in the time of the French Revolution.

He is the son of Elie-Catherinie Fréron and he was born in Paris to a well-to-do family. His father was a known journalist and he was also a staunch opponent of the philosophe and encyclopedist. His most famous adversary is Voltaire, who widely addressed Elie as his enemy. It is also deduced that his father’s idea on the issue of state over freedom of the press heavily induced the political views of Louis Fréron. He went to Lycée Louis-le Grand for his studies. His father occupied a faculty position in this learning institution along with notable scholars like Camille Desmoulins and Maximilien Robespierre. He took over ‘L’Année littéraire’ after his father passed away, and this was maintained until 1795. It was then edited by Julien Louis Geoffroy and abbé Royou.

Because of legal obligations, he was still related with L’Année littéraire. He then studied writing and he edited his paper ‘L’Orateur du Peuple’. In this work, which was the same like those authored by Camille Desmoulins and Paul Marat, he made fundamental condemnation of counter-revolutionaries. Moreover, his initial and memorable experience of rabble-rousing happened in a collaboration with Desmoulins to stimulate the storming of the Bastille.


Luc Ferrari [2/2]


Luc Ferrari is known as a famous electronic music pioneer. From 1959 to 1960, he was the director of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales. He has also worked with Pierre Schaeffer, who introduced the term ‘musique concrète’.

Schaeffer proposes that a sound should be identified by its morphology. By this he implied that a sound should be known by the way its structure has evolved in time. His ‘Traité des Objets Musicaux’ (Treatise on Musical Objects), which was published in 1966, included an arrangement of sounds which he addressed as ‘Solfège’, a term which indicates a scale of sounds rather than musical notes. Moreover, when Ferrari worked with the Groupe de Recherche Musicale, he adopted the basic concepts and ideas of musique concrète.

His piece “Presque Rien ou le lever du Jour au Bord de la Mer” is regarded as a composition which shows the break with the practises of classical electro acoustics. Moreover, the narration is one of the main features of the Presque Rien. This piece is not in its strictest sense created to impart a story, rather it aimed to make obvious the time by insinuating that something happens in a place.

Ferrari has been for a long period of time convinced that beauty is a concept of the past, and that beauty is like a shallow and redundant attribute. However, he altered this contention and said that people should be concerned with this attribute.