In San Francisco, at 5:15 am, on Wednesday, April 18th, 1906…

…the earth moves.

A major earthquake wipes out 80% of the city and surrounding area, killing 3000 people and leaving almost three-quarters of the population homeless.

Back in Paris, American Michael Stein, 41, is worried about the family property back home, right in the middle of all the earthquake fires. His brother and sister, Leo, 33, and Gertrude, 32, who live a few blocks away, leave all responsibility for the family finances to him. He and his wife, Sarah, 35, decide they had better make the trip back to the US.

Sarah is thrilled. This is her chance to impress all their friends with the clothes and jewellery she has been buying in Paris. And the paintings. She has got to bring some of the paintings with her. Sarah decides on three Matisses, including the one of his wife with a green stripe. The folks in America have never seen anything like THAT.

Green Stripe (Madame Matisse)

Green Stripe (Madame Matisse)





Gertrude, in the evenings, is sitting in front of one of the artworks she and Leo have bought, Cezanne’s Portrait of Madame Cezanne. She is trying to do with her writing what Cezanne has done with his painting.

Portrait of Madame Cezanne

Portrait of Madame Cezanne










This year, we’ll be telling stories about these groups of ‘such friends,’ before, during and after their times together.

4 thoughts on “In San Francisco, at 5:15 am, on Wednesday, April 18th, 1906…

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