Monday, August 5, 2013

Michael Artman and “Hemingway’s Paris”

by Frank Boles

On July 31, Michael Artman charmed an attentive audience with his presentation about “Hemingway’s Paris.” In 1997 Artman and his wife, Anita, made possible a vacation in France by exchanging their home in Port Huron with a French family, who in turn gave to the Artmans the keys to an apartment on Paris’ Left Bank. The Artmans soon realized that their new Paris “home” was only a few blocks away from the apartment Ernest and Hadley Hemingway had occupied when they lived in Paris during the 1920s. It was a chance of a lifetime to spend days literally walking in the footsteps of the Hemingways, visiting the same sites and dining in the same places they had enjoyed.

The haunts and pathways frequented by the Hemingways were well preserved in the City of Lights. In addition to the apartment, the restaurants and hotels visited by the Hemingways, the parks and squares they enjoyed, and most other features of the city recalled either in Hemingway’s books or letters, still exist, largely unchanged. Michael Artman’s photographs offered an intimate view of the places that helped form the young Ernest Hemingway, a writer who was already identified by some as a person having great potential, but an author who had yet to distinguish himself from many other young men in America and France, with the same burning ambition to write literature. It was the Paris enjoyed by an ambitious, but not yet particularly famous, young man. A place that charmed him in the 1920s, the Artmans in the 1990s, and the audience who attended the presentation on July 31.