Paris Sans People

There are no sentient beings depicted in All the Buildings in Paris *That I’ve Drawn So Far (due out next month from Universe), but you can feel them, like the smell of perfume after someone has walked by, or the warmth in a bed that a cat has vacated. This is buildings and nothing but, beautifully drawn and colored by Jamed Gulliver Hancock, who has rendered other cities in similar loving detail. Gothic, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Beaux Art, Early Modern and right up to Contemporary, the architecture of the most beautiful city in the world is presented in a precise and yet clearly freehand style, colored in with (I assume) watercolors in gorgeous combinations such as coral-yellow-blue-gray. Inanimate objects all, and yet humanity exudes in the half-opened windows, the empty cafe chairs, the occasional garden that you know is lovingly tended.

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The buildings are mainly landmarks, new and old, some well known and others relatively obscure. A red pagoda, near Parc Monceau, shares a page in the book with the Louis Vuitton HQ on the Champs Elysees; the Palais Garnier image illuminates a page next to a building that houses a McDonald’s. The structures are identified, of course, with a very light sprinkling of factoids. But the brand names that we see everywhere in Paris, from the garish to the classic, are not included in Hancock’s art, and that’s a big plus. Devoid of people and (largely) promotional come-ons, the book invites you into a quiet Paris all to yourself…like walking through the city at dawn before anyone is out.

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