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Hajar | profile | all galleries >> Art of Jan and Cora Gordon >> Jan and Cora Gordon Books >> Jan and Cora Gordon in Paris and London tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Jan and Cora Gordon in Paris and London

Three books belong in this section: "A Girl in the Art Class" (1927), "On a Paris Roundabout" (1927) and "The London Roundabout" (1933). Extracts were published in magazines of the time, such as Blackwoods (e.g. "Gradus ad...Montparnassum" in Blackwoods, March 1929, 412-421).

"A Girl in the Art Class" is presented as a novel, but, as several reviews noted, it has a strong sense of having been written from life and is only a fairly thinly disguised account of those early years in London and Paris. Dates, names and other details have been changed, so the book cannot be directly read as biography, but the real world underpinnings of the story are fascinating to discover (especially Cora Josephine's entry to the 1908 Salon). Jan Gordon uses the narrative to reflect on the transition from academic naturalism to modern art then in progress. See: ;
A number of real world characters can be deciphered, from the Steichens to Spencer Gore ( ), Walter Sickert ( ) and Christian Krohg ( ).
There are some wonderful records of Cora Josephine Turner's early artworks : ; .

In Paris, a character named "K" ( ) arranged for the Gordons to exhibit at the gallery of an acquaintance of his, a fashionable photographer, "M" (probably Henri Manuel: ). Jan Gordon was not convinced that "K" was particularly impressed with their art, but "Claribel's [Cora Gordon's] exotic drawings stimulated the imagist side of his nature", while Jan - ""Voyager dans les Indes comme un heros de Kipling," to quote from his preface - had a glamour." "K" is here referring to Jan Gordon's sojourn in the Malay Peninsula (on which I wrote here: ). According to Jan Gordon, "K" "surrounded me in his exuberant fancy with tigers and boa-constrictors, thrust me into the arms of impossible ebony Cleopatras and rooted a whirlwind admiration of my present in the illusion of my past." French newspaper articles reveal "K" to be Andre Salmon, but in the story, the character is more disguised than most, blended with a contemporary, Francis Carco, and very unusually, not represented by the first letter of his surname. See:

Cora Gordon also had a memorable encounter with Édouard de Max, considered, with Sarah Bernhardt, one of the greatest actors of his time: . A number of other Paris acquaintances are mentioned in "Three lands on Three Wheels": in the "Closerie des Lilas, where before the War we used to make merry on Tuesday nights with Paul Fort, André Salmon, Picasso, and all the lights and lesser lights of the Modern Art Movement."

The eventual return to England from Paris is discussed here:
A review of "The London Roundabout" can be read here:
Published 1927 Frontispiece of On a Paris Roundabout A museum of the worthless (On a Paris Roundabout 1927, pg 57) Epicures in indigence (On a Paris Roundabout Paris 1927)
A Girl in the Art Class (1927) A Girl in the Art Class dedication A Girl in the Art Class title page A Girl in the Art Class misleading note
Published in 1933 this describes the return of the Gordons to London from Paris. Jan and Cora Gordon dedication in a copy of The London Roundabout. A detail of the signatures of Jan Gordon and Cora J. Gordon. The dust jacket
Frontispiece of The London Roundabout, the favorite picture of Telephones. The Gordons' flat at Clanricarde Gardens, London. Spot the Portuguese bull. Jan at home in Clanricarde Gardens, London, painted by Cora. Author's collection. Residences of the Gordons in Paris and London