La Ruche

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A twelve-sided, three-storey building in the rue Dantzig in Paris, near the Vaugirard abattoirs, opened in 1902 with the idea of forming the centre of an artistic community. It was the brainchild of Alfred Boucher (1850–1934), an undistinguished painter and sculptor who bought some land in 1895 and built a few studio huts on it; he was encouraged to erect something more ambitious when he acquired various pieces of pavilions that had been dismantled after the ‘Exposition Universelle’ in Paris in 1900. The main building originally had twenty-four cramped wedge-shaped studios, but 140 others were eventually erected on the site. They were badly built and without conveniences such as water and gas, but they were extremely cheap. Many foreign artists found a home there during their early careers in Paris, among them Archipenko, Chagall, Lipchitz, Modigliani, and Soutine. Some French artists also had studios there for a time (Delaunay, Laurens, Léger) and some poets and writers lived there (Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Max Jacob). Political refugees also found shelter at La Ruche. The building was scheduled for demolition in 1966, but it was saved because of its important historical associations, and after restoration was reopened as studios in 1978.

Subjects: Art.

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