Paris: Color, Croissants, Pillows and the Maison et Objet Show (Calling Barney’s New York!)

Paris-such an inspiration!

We’ve just returned from this magical spot–so many images swirling in my head: the abundance of eye candy at the Maison et Objet show, the narrow cobbled streets and courtyards of the city, the stone interiors and worn wooden staircases of the old apartments where we stayed, the incredible friendliness of the French, and the food–ah, the food. And the wine. And the chocolate eclairs. Oo-la-la!

But what enchants me the most about beautiful Paris is the layers upon layers of the hidden stories of each scarred and weathered wall, door, street, building. The people of this place have come and they have gone, but a massive and thick and unyielding French door, for example, set right on an uneven tiny sidewalk has guarded a passageway to an old city mansion forever–perhaps it started its life hundreds of years ago painted pink but if you look closely, you can see somewhere along the timeline, it was washed in green, then blue, then black and with each scuff and scratch, a patina of age and history emerges that is so haunting and so lovely…


This is what I bring back to the studio. I paint and I think of Paris, of red and orange and turquoise doors, of fat pink roses and brown and buttery morning croissants, of  old ivory lace fluttering in a mottled window, of thick black ironwork, tamed to swirl and dance up and around grey, rain-washed steps. Pattern upon pattern, story after story, all told without even a whisper of a word, pas un mot.

This is one of my newest Paris-inspired paintings. I call it “Paris Morning.” The deeper blues are new in the studio and the dancing roses in the cream borders partnered with beach china dots and marks on orange reflect what I adore most about Paris–the lovely jumble of images and hues and cultures that never stop: morning to night, there is always something  more to see than you think you’ve seen…

This was my first visit to Maison et Objet, the huge (an understatement) home show just outside of the city. We are getting ready to launch our new silk and cotton/linen pillow line based on my paintings and we were curious if this show might be a good fit. Here is one of the silk pillows in the collection based on my painting “Her French Kimono” from my French Wallpaper series. (And, by the way, we’re looking into producing wallpaper too!)  Don’t you think this pillow would look wonderful in say, Barney’s New York or maybe Neiman Marcus?

This pillow is called “Morning Light.” I love Love Birds–a recurring theme in my work.

This pillow is called “That Beautiful Morning” from my Botanical Series.

But, ah, Maison et Objet! We were struck by the exuberance everywhere. The first thing we could not possibly ignore and wanted to take home–it was love at first sight–was a chair that in some other life might have held court in the court of a French king–large, carved, twirly and fancy, usually gilded and gold. This one had a fresh new personality– it was painted big and bold in  orange with a matching orange upholstery. And I think this chair set the tone for the entire show. Tangerino tango!


Wit and color and fun were in the air and even though we were hearing so many speaking French and German and Italian and Japanese and more–everyone understands (and seemed to love!) the language of red and blue and purple and pink– on dishes, on drapes, on rugs, on pillows. Fantasy and the fantastic is what called out to us. And inventiveness and imagintion and delightful creativity.

The cheerful taxidermy-inspired heads of pink elephant lamps glowed around one corner, tables and chairs made of colorful and worn recycled African fishing boats called to us from the next. Vintage rugs of every pattern had been cut up into squares and all dyed one vibrant color to create new rugs–zing!

This is a show that sparkled with optimism and humor and beauty…just like Paris itself, n’est pas?

Now back to painting and pillows and  back to Paris…soon! (If you’d like to see more of my images from Paris and what inspires my work, please visit me on Pinterest. For more information or to contact me about my paintings, visit my website. Selected prints of my work are available through Grand Image (designers only) and Artaissance.

0 Responses

  1. frances

    How wonderful! We’re planning our 10th trip to Paris (this May) and I’m always fascinated to see how many versions there are of the city. I love the paintings that capture and reflect your view of it — and as for those pillows, I’d love a few to bring my beloved Paris back home with me. They’re stunning!

    • kathefraga

      Thank you and merci Frances! Would love to hear more about your trips and favorite spots–what a place!

  2. linda spiker

    Your work is so lovely and feminine. The color combinations are exquisite! I recently sent an email inquiring about purchasing original works, but I am also wondering where I might find reproductions and fabric in the states?

  3. Anne-Marie

    Always so beautiful… that pillow (Her french kimono) should be living in my bedroom, the colours are breathtaking!

    • kathefraga

      Thank you Anne-Marie! We’re really excited about the pillow launch–there will be 5 designs in silk and also in linen to start. Really appreciate your support!

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