Mangez Vous? Dormez Vous?
By Daniele Thomas Easton
The French are No. 1 in Eating and Sleeping, spending more time at the table (eating) and in bed (that's as in sleeping, folks) than the habitants of any other highly developed country, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The French sleep an average of nine hours every night. That is about 30 minutes longer than the average American and over an hour longer than the Japanese and Koreans. The study, based on a survey of 18 member countries, also shows that the French spend more than two hours a day eating, twice the time spent by people in Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
Statistics about the French abound. Enjoying life, spending quality time in a restaurant or at home, I am all for it.
I disliked previous so-called statistics saying, for example, that the French use an average of 4.2 bars of soap per person per year compared to 8.3 in England. No study by the OECD dispelled these figures.
But, if you want to get a clear sense of the soap industry in France, of the art of perfumery, go to La Fête du Savon Exhibition at Lisa M. Reisman et Cie gallery (1714 Rittenhouse Square), an exhibit that is a blend of extraordinary design, original research and good, clean fun.
La Fête du Savon presents Art Nouveau and Art Déco chromolithographic labels created in Fin-de-Siècle France for the soap and perfume industries. Dating back to late 19th and early 20th centuries, this exhibition explores the coquettish allure of vintage French commercial art from this early stage of graphic design history, and the culture that created a demand for such imagery.
Works displayed are accompanied by interpretive curatorial text. Examples from the exhibit are available for purchase.
Fete du Savon will be on display through July 31st.
(Daniele Thomas Easton is the Directeur of France - Philadelphie).