Lurking story


A few days ago, I was at Musée d’Orsay, where I went to see this stunning exhibition that has been on for quite a while. I have always been interested in masks!

Masques at Musée d'Orsay

Masques, de Carpeaux à Picasso

I can’t really show photos as they were forbidden inside the exhibition. But they have collected all sorts of masks, mortuary masks, mascarons, carnival masks and all sorts of decorative items. Really interesting.
I had the surprise of finding this particular item that I remembered and had photographed at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Taken at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, based on Le Silence

There was its original, at Musée d’Orsay, part of a sculpture by Antoine-Augustin Préault, aptly named Le silence
I went twice as I really liked the show.
The second time, I also went to the upper floors and was intending to take photos from there but realised I didn’t have the right camera with me. These days, I tend to take only a small camera along and leave my Panasonic at home.
And while I was standing there, looking down,

Musée d'Orsay

Lurking at Musée d’Orsay, a photo taken in 2006

and looking at a man who had been there for quite while, clad in a wet raincoat, looking down like me, I overheard a museum attendant explaining to what turned out to be the house detective that this particular man had been standing there for over an hour and that she found him suspicious.
He walked towards Raincoat Man and asked him if he was alright, saying that he was worried, seeing him up there for such a long time. Raincoat Man drew a card out of his pocket and explained that he was on a job, watching a couple down there. House Detective smiled, shook his hand and walked away. You could feel that they belonged to the same world.
I was sorry I hadn’t taken a photo of Raincoat Man. He was so intent on what he was doing that he wouldn’t have spotted me.

9 thoughts on “Lurking story

  1. The exhibition of masks sounds great- I might look it up on the Web- I love looking at the Tate exhibitions online. About the detectives- reminds me of a song! Incidentally- one of our acquaintances who has a part-time job in the History Dept at a university recently trained as a private detective. We were having dinner at a restaurant and she proceeded to open her wallet and show us a semen-detection kit she carried for her couple-catching activities!! How gross- do people still care enough to want this sort of evidence? I would have loved it if you had snapped a pic of the detectives!

  2. @murfomurf I would have loved that too. I was so frustrated being so slow! By the time the meaning of the scene had dawned on me, my small camera was still in my pocket and it was too late…

  3. Two years ago I went to the Mayor’s Masked Ball in Rasmgate, Kent.

    The masks were quite lovely. Mine was the only homemade one, much admired as it was quite splendid (sequins, black and red ostrich feathers. Madeby my artistic friend (now 77) who was delighted to be asked – she had never made one before – a work of art. Needless to say it has been passed around and been to grander balls than I have. C’est las vie.

  4. I love that mask (silence) and I really wish you could have shown some of the others! Raincoat man intrigues me. Do you think he was following a couple at the request of one of their spouses?

  5. I was thinking on the same lines as kenju about Raincoat Man but if it had got to the Private Detective stage of illicit meetings would they really have chosen to spend so long in a museum in preference to somewhere more private . . . .?

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