French Academicien’s habit of Julian Green and René d’Olbadia
Design House Maison Claude Berceville
Design House Stark & Sons
Not on view
This is a French Academician’s habit, made according to the prescriptions set by the Académie française for its members’ uniform. Julian Green (1900–1998), for whom it was commissioned, was the first non-French national to be elected to the Académie (1971). Green achieved literary recognition in France for his novels and above all his diaries, which he wrote in French, and for the central themes of his oeuvre, which include the tensions between his homosexuality, faith, and religion, as well as self-destruction. Although born and raised in France, Green identified as an American and especially as someone whose roots are in the South. His Academician habit was gifted by his adopted son, the French novelist and playwright Éric Jourdan (1938–2015), to the French playwright and poet René de Obaldia (1918–2022) upon Obaldia’s election as Green’s successor in 1999. It was meant as a posthumous token of Green’s appreciation for Obaldia’s work, and Obaldia proudly wore it at the solemn meetings of the Aacdémie. It is rare for a French Academician uniform to be passed onto another member of the Académie. By comparison, it is much more common for the swords that the Academicians carry with their habit to be symbolically bequeathed or gifted to newly elected members.
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