Souvenirs of Paris


Raymond Duncan (1874-1966) was a noted eccentric of the twentieth century. The brother of dancer Isadora Duncan, he was born in San Francisco but spent most his life in Europe. Duncan developed a philosophy of living that combined labor, the arts, and physical movement, which he called “Actionalism.” He taught simplicity and self sufficiency at his Academy on the Rue de Seine in Paris, where he made his own textiles, books, ceramics, and sandals. (He dressed in classical Greek attire.)

Orson Welles interviewed Duncan for an episode of the 1955 ITV program, Around the World with Orson Welles.

Years ago I purchased a second-hand volume of Duncan’s (not very good) poetry, which had tipped into it several handbills advertising events at the “Akademia.” The book and the flyers had been printed by Duncan himself in his workshop around 1953, shortly before Welles’s visit.

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