Dante's Stones came about for several reasons.
First, because of my desire to work with photographer
Jean-Louis Bloch-Lainé, whose work and friendship I have enjoyed enormously for more than two decades. More than anyone, he and his wife Jacqueline have given me Paris.
Second, I decided to leave Paris after having had a home and painting atelier there for ten rich and productive years.
Birthing Dante's Stones has been a way to say goodbye to Paris as a regular residence as well as a way to revisit my Paris and the Paris that belongs to the ages.
"Or se' tu quel Virgilio?"
"Art thou then that Virgil?"
Divine Comedy. Inferno.
Midnight to daybreak hours often found me walking the streets of Paris. Somehow I never felt alone. Characters from the rich story of the city accompanied me.
For these verses, I have chosen Dante as our guide. It seems appropriate, as Dante himself relied on guides Virgil and Beatrice in the Divine Comedy. I figured that he had the experience.
I also like the idea that he sees the city with a little bit of the foreigner's eye and that he is so supremely universal.
In all fairness, Jean-Louis Bloch-Lainé credits his images of Paris to the eye and past work of his photographer wife, Jacqueline. For this we are respectful and grateful.
I want to express special gratitude to those talented and insightful friends who kindly offered encouragement, criticism, and editing on early manuscript drafts. Jacqueline Bloch-Lainé, James Carson, Danièle Folon, Georganne Harmon, Steve Howard, Mary Johnson, Richard Johnson, Coke Sams, Jane Smith.
July 14, 1998