• Adam, the blue place

Article, 2005

Adam, the blue place

Édouard Adam

"In 1898, Gaston Adam, colored dealer in Versailles, moved to Montparnasse, boulevard Edgar-Quinet. Already around 1912, Matisse, Picasso and Derain (student at the Julian Academy), among other artists, frequented our House. In 1924, our father Albert Adam, elder of five boys, succeeded him. My brother Jean and I took over until 1999, when we ceded the House Adam to our friends and brothers Guy Elmalek and his son Jerome.

I knew Yves Klein in the years 1954-55, he came to buy us various pigments and binders, paintbrushes and rollers to paint it was an unusual consumption." Too impatient, he did not take the time to clean them. I pointed it out to him and that's how our relationship started, plus our common interest in judo and some special moments at La Coupole.

One day, Yves asked me to show him all our range of bruises. Two had his preference: Prussian blue and ultramarine. In order to appreciate them in the light of day, I put side by side, on a sheet of white paper spread on the sidewalk, a shovel of each. I still see myself! Prussian blue, a very intense velvety pigment, seduced him, but this pigment is not very solid and poisonous. A few days later he arrived, agitated, accompanied this time by his friend Horia Damian. The choice was stopped. It would be ultramarine, whose name is already dreaming. But the friend Yves in his quest for absolute wanted a medium that respects, as much as possible, the original appearance of the pigment, whatever the color.

After different and sometimes long tests, some with products from across the Atlantic, I selected a vinyl acetate solution alcoholic designed and manufactured, at the time, by Rhône-Poulenc. Contrary to what was written in the press, some books and magazines, and said in radio or television programs, I was not a "young chemist" but just a curious handyman and a little "touch-all" !

It is also at Adam that Yves "fished the idea of sponges". In the central window that I had redone, I had our beautiful sponge exhibition about 35 cm in diameter with, for the decor, some fishing nets and chamois ... He looked only at she. A stroke of his velvet velvet, a charming smile ... and he went away with it! Some time later, he told me that she had sold in London, "thanks to you," he told me, 120 pounds! "I'm tired," said Coluche, client and faithful friend.

His ideas, his projects, Yves came sometimes to speak to me, always so impatient, and we discussed it around a table, often the same, of the neighboring café La Liberté: joys, successes, failures or occasional difficulties with the world of art.

In 1957, I went to Germany, Gelsenkirchen, before me with three barrels of the famous medium, a few bags of referenced ultramarine blue and as many sponges as needed to cover a surface of 150 square meters to decorate the wall of the theater hall!

Another memory: those of "Anthropometries", which sometimes brought me to the rue Campagne-Première for an urgent delivery of last hour, without forgetting the laundry!

And then, the wedding at Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, in the presence of the ban and the back-ban of the Knights of San Sebastián with Rotraut, "our" Traut-Traut, beautiful, so beautiful, and even more radiant with, inside, little Yves ...

Some time later, Yves was leaving us. As I already reported in 1989 in the journal "Art Themes", Braque, also a customer of Adam, wrote in his notebooks: "The painting is finished when he erased the idea." This phrase has always seemed to me to suit Yves. 

Édouard Adam , April 2006 
Excerpt from the book "Yves Klein dans ses murs", Collectif, La Coupole, Paris, France, 2006