• The Cello in Art (9) – Doisneau and Baquet/2

This was the first of Robert Doisneau’s photographs of Baquet that I ever saw.  I bought it in a wonderful postcard shop in Tribeca, New York, some time in the 1980s.  It still makes me smile!

Baquet was a remarkably versatile man.  Here’s a 21” clip from a French newsreel of 1946.  Paris was in deep snow and Baquet – an Olympic skier – took advantage.  There are scenes of Paris streets and a view including Montmartre’s famous Moulin de la Galette (painted by many French artists and van Gogh).  The newsreel finishes with Baquet skiing the broad steps in front of Sacré-Coeur and straight down a much narrower flight.

I’ve just come across another historic clip, but one which is viewable only on a French site (ina.fr).  Click on the thumbnail image below.  It’s a recording from what seems to be a French TV variety show and was broadcast by RTF on 12 May 1958.  It’s a 6’ sketch called Le Quatuor, which comprises four cellists (not the standard quartet line-up), with the three on the left playing straight men to Baquet’s clowning.  Doisneau’s image above reappears halfway through Baquet’s routine.  It may seem a bit dated now, but his comedic imagination is sharply honed, as is his command of the cello.  He really could play!


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