chapter xxiv: Guillaume Voiture du Marchandises

part ii:
fried lemon & groundnut paté sandwiches
The Siderealist movement burst upon the art scene like an inflamed appendix, causing much pain, the point of which remained obscure. Guillaume Voiture du Marchandises was one of the movement's primary visionaries and proselytizers in the early years, creating many of the hallmarks of the Siderealist approach: issuing strident manifestoes denouncing limes as "snobbish" while praising lemons as "proud", refusing to allow his works to be shown if Mercury was retrograde and publishing his autobiography, Le Supplice et les Pois Chiche, at the age of 19, before any of his works had been exhibited and while he was still living at home, eating his mother's vegan cuisine.
Ceci n'est pas le Roi, date unknown, oil on black velvet, by Guillaume Voiture du Marchandises (Fr., 18??-19??)
His masterwork, Ceci n'est pas un clown, was perhaps the defining moment of the Siderealist movement, yet it also marked the beginning of a split between Du Machandises and the movement. The picture caused a stir in the Art community in general, but the effect on the Siderealists was catastrophic. At its unveiling, the Siderealist chanteuse and "hallucinant" tambouriniste Patrice l'Eaux cried out, "C'est triste! Plus triste!" and ran out of the hall, not to be seen until a full two weeks later when she debuted the song that would become the Siderealist anthem, Quand Jai Vu le Clown, Je Crie.  

The Siderealists became obsessed with Sad Clowns to the exclusion of nearly all else, but Du Marchandises had moved on to other ideas. Ceci n'est pas un clown led directly to Ceci n'est pas le Roi, which had all the hallmarks of a Siderealist work but was rejected from their annual Le Citron Noble show on the grounds that it didn't feature a sad clown, a debatable ruling for a number of reasons. Angrily, Du Marchandises issued a statement in which declared that he would never paint a clown just to please the other Siderealists. "I used to find them amusing but now they disgust and frighten me." he wrote, although it's not clear to whom he was referring.

Du Marchandises' next move was to stage a number of exhibitions he called Le Jardin Du Rois, the foci of which were not the deliberately flat black velvet portraits but the arrangement of them in an outdoor setting, each one held by a young woman in an apron bearing the inscription embrasser le chef  

The refusal of the Siderealists to even acknowledge the Jardins led Du Marchandises to formally break all ties with the movement, which probably saved his life.

  An early color photograph of a Jardin du Rois, probably staged outside Paris, date unknown.