31 December 2012

Some Paris exhibitions

Due to reasons beyond my control, this post may be too late to be of much use, for which my apologies.

Paris this winter has a plethora of fine exhibitions – here are my reactions to four of them.

The Musée du Luxembourg is showing Le Cercle de l’art moderne Collectionneurs d’avant garde au Havre (The Modern Art Club Avant-Garde collectors in Le Havre). Between 1906 and 1910, a group of art collectors and artists formed the Modern Art Club in Le Havre with a membership including Braque, and Raoul Dufy (La Rue pavoisée, below) and some of the town’s wealthiest businessmen. They set themselves the objective of promoting modernism in Le Havre, organising exhibitions, lectures, poetry readings and concerts. Guillaume Apollinaire and Claude Debussy supported the Club, which had links to the newly established Salons d’Automne and des Indépendants in Paris.

Arguably, Impressionism began in Le Havre when Monet painted Impression, soleil levant there in 1872, so it is not surprising that the Club showed acquisitions by Monet and Renoir at their annual exhibitions. But some of the collectors also took an interest in the Post-Impressionists and the Fauves (Van Dongen’s La Parisienne de Monmartre c1907-8 in the poster above), buying from galleries (left), auctions or the artists themselves. The collections of two of them, Olivier Senn and Charles-Auguste Marande, have been donated to the Musée d’Art moderne André Malraux in Le Havre. The collections of the others are now dispersed but some of the works which they owned feature in the exhibition. Unfortunately there are no Matisses which some of the Le Havre collectors were buying at the same time as the Steins. About 90 works are on show including some which would have been regarded as unsuitable for the public’s (particularly female) eyes at the time (Marquet’s La Femme Blonde 1919, below).

A far less happy period in the history of modern French art is examined at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris: L’Art en guerre France 1938-1947 De Picasso à Dubuffet. The impact of the period from the uneasy years before the war, through the Occupation and its immediate post-War consequences, is traced in almost 400 works by over 100 artists. These include Arp, Ernst, Bonnard Rouault, Derain, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall, Leger and Giacometti. The Nazi dislike of degenerate art was shared by Vichy, so works like those shown at the Paris 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition (Paul Delvaux Les noeuds roses, 1937, below)

and expressionist paintings were out of favour in the dark years from 1940 to 1944. Some artists, like Picasso (Nature morte à la chouette et aux trois oursins 1946 in the poster), retreated to their studios, others went into exile or, like Chaïm Soutine, led a semi-clandestine existence.

Only one of his works is on show at the Musée d’Art moderne, but Soutine is the subject of a comprehensive exhibition at the Orangerie, Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) l'ordre du chaos. 22 works by Soutine from the Orangerie’s own collection have been supplemented by 48 loan items which together demonstrate the full range of his colourful expressionist technique (Madeleine Castaing, 1929, left).

But the main current exhibition in Paris given over to a single artist is Edward Hopper at the Grand Palais, first shown earlier in the year in Madrid. His images (Nighthawks 1942 in the poster) are so well-known directly and in cinematic evocation as not to require much description here. The exhibition puts some emphasis on the three visits to Paris which Hopper (1882-1967) made before World War 1 and the consequent influence on his style of contemporary European art. For British eyes it was a surprise to see, alongside works by Degas and Marquet, two Sickerts (including the Tate’s Ennui below left), and be given a fresh insight into an image like Room in New York 1932 (below, right).

After his time in France, Hopper sold one picture at the famous 1913 Armory Show in New York but would not make another sale for over 10 years, earning his living in the meantime as a commercial artist. There are (as far as I can tell from BBC Your Paintings) no significant works by Hopper in UK public collections. The Grand Palais exhibition provides us a rare opportunity (since Tate Modern in 2004) to experience the mixture of fascination and alienation exerted not only by Nighthawks, but, for example, Automat 1927, Chop Suey 1929 (top left and right, below), Eleven AM 1926 and later work such as New York Office 1962 (bottom left and right, below).


The Le Havre Modern Art Club exhibition ends on 6 January 2013.
L’Art en guerre ends on 17 February.
Soutine ends on 21 January.
Hopper ends on 28 January.

24 December 2012

Down but far from out in Paris

A few weeks ago I commented on a pretty gloomy report in The Economist on France. The Financial Times has now run (22 December)  a front page story in a similar downbeat vein: Tax and economy hit French joie de vivre:
The French are popping fewer champagne corks and spending less on toys as higher taxes, a deteriorating economy and an exodus of national icons sap the country’s joie de vivre. “There is a moroseness, a sadness among the French population at the moment which has led to our compatriots drinking a little less champagne this year,” said Paul-François Vranken, chairman and chief executive of Vranken Pommery Monopole, one of the country’s best-known Reims-based houses. “Champagne consumption follows the mood of the country. Today, there isn’t a mood conducive to celebration.”
But a recent visit to Paris left me wondering whether things are quite that bad, at least for some. Le Bon Marché is the second oldest department store in the world, if you agree that the oldest was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, as it calls itself, is in Paris’s affluent 7th arrondissement (left and left bank) and caters for the elite. Its food hall, La Grande Épicerie de Paris, in its own adjacent building, makes those in London look like my local Tesco.

After reading The Economist I was expecting some signs of austerity, even in the 7th, but au contraire. In October the subground floors of both buildings (“-1” as they call it) had been transformed into “l’homme”, a ‘new masculine world’ described below:

which I have attempted to translate:
In the autumn of 2012, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche dedicated to man the whole of its floor ‘-1’. Grouped into a single space in the style of an apartment, all the aspects of masculine elegance are highlighted with a uniform approach. The sharp trends, tailoring, sportswear and exceptional new services (barber, shoe shine ...) offer a unique experience for every visitor. In November, this great locker room will be joined by a new wine cellar concept directly accessible from La Grande Épicerie de Paris, creating a real synergy between the two Le Bon Marché buildings. Thus, this new masculine world will accompany modern man in his choice between diversity and essentiality.
To put it another way, an astonishing amount of expensive men’s clothing of different brands from all over the world, and wine up to 3350€ per bottle (Petrus 1998). Oh, and champagne up to 3000€ per bottle (Billecart-Salmon 1961). Of course, Le Bon Marché, when embarking on this development, may not have expected the European economic downturn to be as persistent. Or is it that the incomes of Paris’s elite, just as London’s, are detached from the austerity experienced by the rest of the population?  It seems unlikely that Le Bon Marché is aiming particularly at the tourist market, being, unlike some of its rival grands magasins, resolutely francophone.


20 December 2012

Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’

Actors who turn director or even direct themselves seem to yield good results – for example George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck and The Ides of March. Ben Affleck’s Argo is no exception. It is the story of an operation carried out by the CIA with Canadian help to retrieve six American diplomats from Tehran in1980. They had gone into hiding in the Canadian embassy after the sack of the US embassy by Revolutionary Guards. Over 90 other personnel were held for 444 days but the six were exfiltrated with the help of Tony Mendez, a CIA expert (played by Affleck) whose plan revolved around passing off the fugitives as a Canadian film team scouting locations for a sci-fi movie, ‘Argo’ ,with a Middle Eastern setting.

Because we know that the mission was a success, Argo it isn’t so much a will-they-won’t-they as a how-will-they-get-out-of-that-one, but the action in Tehran is just as exciting nonetheless. As it unfolds, there are lesser cliff-hangers back in the US in the form of the machinations between the CIA, State Department and White House, familiar of course to fans of The West Wing and Homeland. While in Hollywood, the Argo crew’s leading lights, played by Alan Arkin and John Goodman, get some of the best lines in the film. The riots outside the US embassy and in the bazaar (actually filmed in California and Istanbul) are all too convincing.

Some people might not care for the ‘USA 7 Iran 0’ undertones of the film’s conclusion but its opening bande dessinée-style backgrounder on Iranian history pulls no punches on the US or UK. Less seriously, a post here earlier this year about The Artist pointed out the use of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign, correct for its late 1920s setting. As Mendez flies into Hollywood we see the later HOLLYWOOD sign almost derelict. But in fact it had been restored to its current state in the late 70s before the hostage problem arose. So remember, Argo is a dramatization and a good one, not a documentary. Would all the secrets of a successful exfiltration ever be revealed? I doubt it. But Argo certainly deserves its current status as an emerging 2013 Oscar front-runner.

Stay for the credits which start with a sequence of contemporary photographs alongside equivalent stills from the film.

UPDATE 1 March 2013

Argo has now won various awards culminating with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Best Picture Oscar this week. Its veracity has come under scrutiny as its profile has risen. For example, Glenn Greenwald from the Guardian has drawn attention to this post on the Wide Asleep in America blog.

10 December 2012

Macmillan’s pre-Christmas crisis 50 years ago

The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, when homo sapiens edged towards mass extinction, gained its fair share of media coverage. Will the less significant UK/US Nassau Agreement of December that year be remembered?

At the beginning of December 1962, Britain’s Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, was almost certainly looking forward to his Christmas break. In July he had sacked a third of his cabinet, an event dubbed the Night of the Long Knives, an ironic revival of Hitler’s purge of the Sturmabteilung in June 1934. Then on 27 October, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the PM had felt it necessary to take the pre-apocalyptic decision to place the RAF’s V-bombers at 15 minutes notice, the aircraft loaded with nuclear weapons and stood at the end of their runways in Eastern England.

The existence of the V-bomber nuclear force was the result of the massive investment seen as necessary to maintain Britain’s international status and to secure national security during the post-World War 2 confrontation with the Soviet Union. In 1961, Bomber Command had more aircraft than BEA and BOAC (British Airways’ predecessors) together. However, by then the likelihood of the bombers actually reaching their targets was being thrown into doubt by the formidable air defences being installed around the Soviet Union and in occupied Eastern Europe. As a counter, the RAF had embarked on the development of a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Blue Streak, which could be launched from the UK but was vulnerable to pre-emptive attack. Instead it was decided to extend the usefulness of the V-bombers by buying an American ballistic missile, Skybolt, which could be launched in the air at a safe distance from the Soviets. Trials were arranged to demonstrate the compatibility of the system with the RAF’s Vulcan aircraft (below, top). The last aircraft of this type, XH557 (bottom), will cease flying in 2013.

In return for Skybolt, Macmillan had agreed in 1960 that the US would be able to support its new nuclear submarines with Polaris missiles from a base at Holy Loch in Scotland.   On 11 December, Robert McNamara arrived in London bearing bad news: the US no longer had any requirement for Skybolt. The project was experiencing development problems (“an absolute pile of junk” McNamara would recall, somewhat unfairly), while at the same time the US Navy were confident of Polaris being a success. The US announcement was to precipitate a major crisis in Anglo-American relations because the prospect then facing Macmillan was of Britain’s ceasing to be a nuclear power by default. Inevitably the summit meeting between Kennedy and Macmillan already scheduled to take place at Nassau from 19 to 21 December turned out to be dominated by the consequences of the Skybolt decision. Just before the PM's departure over 100 Tory backbenchers signed a motion calling on him to safeguard the deterrent.

In fact it was on the 20 December that Macmillan and Kennedy reached a significant understanding.  Macmillan declined offers of the transfer of the Skybolt project to the UK and an alternative air-launched missile called Hound Dog – perhaps the name alone was a political liability. The old actor manager knew he “had to pull out all the stops” as he put it himself. He reminded Kennedy of the way wartime atomic cooperation under Roosevelt and Churchill had been abruptly terminated by the US and went on to persuade Kennedy that if Britain were now forced to cease being a nuclear power, there would be an anti-American backlash in Britain, British defence policies globally would have to be reconsidered and that his government might fall and be replaced by one of a neutralist inclination. Macmillan’s Private Secretary, de Zulueta, commented that at the end of Macmillan’s performance “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including mine”. Macmillan returned to London with a pledge that the US would supply Britain with the Polaris system to be committed to NATO but with independence of operation if supreme national interests were at stake. In April 1963 the Polaris Sales Agreement was put in place on what turned out to be a favourable financial basis for the UK.

Shortly after the Nassau meeting Kennedy departed to Key West for what would turn out to be his last family Christmas. On his return to Washington in January one of his first public duties with his wife was to open the exhibition of the Mona Lisa on loan from the Louvre. Back in London Macmillan had found that his endeavours in Nassau had not been greeted with much enthusiasm in The Times:

Although incorrect in its second headline - agonising about the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US continues to this day – The Times was prescient in its third, Kennedy’s offer of Polaris to France. At the unveiling of the Mona Lisa, Kennedy made the dry comment:
Mr. Minister, we in the United States are grateful for this loan from the leading artistic power in the world, France. In view of the recent meeting in Nassau, I must note further that this painting has been kept under careful French control, and that France has even sent along its own Commander in Chief, M. Malraux. And I want to make it clear that grateful as we are for this painting, we will continue to press ahead with the effort to develop an independent artistic force and power of our own.
De Gaulle publicly declined Kennedy’s offer on 14 January 1963, accompanied by another, more famous, ‘non’. This blocked Britain’s joining the European Economic Community, one of Macmillan’s major foreign policy objectives, despite his regarding de Gaulle “as having all the rigidity of a poker without its occasional warmth”. De Gaulle, on the other hand, thought that Britain had become a vassal of Washington and had sold its birthright for “a plate of Polarises”. British politics in the summer of 1963 was dominated by the Profumo affair. The nuclear test ban treaty which Macmillan had sought was signed in August but he would resign in poor health in October, a few weeks before Kennedy’s assassination. The first of the four RN Polaris submarines, HMS Resolution, became operational in June 1968. Through the Polaris Sales Agreement, these were replaced by Trident in the 1990s. As has been described in posts here in June and October, there are divergent views in the current UK Coalition government about a successor to Trident with the added complication of possible Scottish independence.

Edward and Florence heard the muffled headlines and caught the name of the Prime Minister, and then a minute or two later his familiar voice raised in a speech. Harold Macmillan had been addressing a conference in Washington about the arms race and the need for a test-ban treaty. Who could disagree that it was folly to go on testing H-bombs in the atmosphere and irradiating the whole planet? But no one under thirty - certainly not Edward and Florence believed a British Prime Minister held much sway in global affairs. Every year the Empire shrank as another few countries took their rightful independence. Now there was almost nothing left, and the world belonged to the Americans and the Russians. Britain, England, was a minor power – saying this gave a certain blasphemous pleasure. Downstairs, of course, they took a different view. Anyone over forty would have fought, or suffered, in the war and known death on an unusual scale, and would not have been able to believe that a drift into irrelevance was the reward for all the sacrifice.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

Possible further reading: Of course, Peter Hennessy: The Secret State and Cabinets and the Bomb. A famous analysis of the Skybolt decision from a US viewpoint is Richard Neustadt’s Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective. According to Jonathan Fenby in The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France he saved, Macmillan appeared confident about securing Polaris when he met de Gaulle at Rambouillet on 16 December 1962 (page 502).


6 December 2012

Save Old Flo

For an explanation as to how Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman, 1957-8 has come to be the subject of an Art Fund campaign, see the timeline on their website.


It now appears that Tower Hamlets may not be the borough which owns 'Old Flo' but that it is actually the property of  Bromley!

5 December 2012

Who wants to be a millionaire?

… I don't.
Have flashy flunkies everywhere? I don't.
Who wants the bother of a country estate?
A country estate is something I'd hate.
Who wants to wallow in champagne? I don't.
Who wants a supersonic plane? I don't.
And I don't 'cos all I want is you.
etc Cole Porter (High Society, 1955)

But before one turns one’s back on wealth, what defines a millionaire in modern Britain? Ed Miliband, in his ‘One Nation’ Party Conference Speech in October, said:
… What do [the Government] choose as their priority? A tax cut for millionaires. A tax cut for millionaires. Next April, David Cameron will be writing a cheque for £40,000 to each and every millionaire in Britain. Not just for one year. But each and every year. That is more than the average person earns in a whole year. At the same time as they’re imposing a tax on pensioners next April. Friends, we, the Labour Party, the country knows it is wrong. It is wrong what they’re doing. It shows their priorities. And here’s the worse part. David Cameron isn’t just writing the cheques. He is receiving one. He’s going to be getting the millionaire’s tax cut.
So his definition of a miilionaire was someone earning £1 million or more a year. I wonder if Cameron actually achieves that, even with private income on top of his PM’s salary of £142,000. But for other people the definition of a millionaire is the less demanding one of someone who has wealth of over £1 million rather than that amount of annual income. But what is wealth? The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has been engaged for some time in a Wealth and Assets Survey. This has been producing some interesting data, for example the regional (particularly north-south) variations in wealth in the UK (to be in the wealthiest 10% of households the asset level is £967,000 and over – not quite £1 million), shown below. I suspect that the SW region, if sub-divided,would show a gradation from darkest to lightest, east to west. 

But their approach poses a problem in definition, as the pie chart below makes clear. It shows how the “economic wealth” of all the households in the UK, about £10 trillion (or £1000 billion) was defined for the purposes of the survey:

As can be seen, about 46% is in the form of private pension investments and another 33% in property. The relevance of either of these to personal affluence is arguable. A private pension investment is a constrained form of wealth because it can only be accessed as an annuitised income stream (usually a pension) after a certain age until death. While in payment it is subject to income tax. As far as property is concerned, certainly for the owner, net of any mortgage, it is an asset which can be realised. However, we all have to live somewhere at some sort of cost.

These distinctions matter when people start to throw around numbers relating to pensioner millionaires and the fairness of them receiving benefits such as the winter fuel allowance during a time of austerity. Take, for example, Rachel Sylvester in The Times at the end of October:
According to a forthcoming report from the Intergenerational Foundation [IF], the number of wealthy pensioners is rising rapidly, with almost 2 million people over 60 in households with assets above £1 million and 988,000 millionaires over 65. Its analysis concludes that the Government is spending about £500 million a year on winter fuel allowance and free bus passes for millionaires. That can’t be right. The motto “we’re all in it together” is only valid if it applies to old and young, as well as rich and poor.
Indeed “That can’t be right” if only because there are several things wrong here. Firstly, there’s a clear misinterpretation of what IF said in their report. They do provide an estimate of nearly 2 million (1,855,300 actually) people over 60 in households with assets above £1 million. And also 988,600 over 65 – but that is the number in households worth over a million, not individual millionaires. The distinction is important because the average household size for the over 65s is 1.39. Well, that’s what IF say (Table 5). Now, if Ms Sylvester and her spouse wanted to split their combined assets they would probably choose to divide them equally. And if those assets were less than £2 million, neither of them would expect to be classified subsequently as millionaires.

There is a more fundamental issue lurking here relating to private pension investments. How should their value be treated once turned into an income stream? Secondly, why ignore the value of public sector pensions prior to payment? One way of avoiding this is to look solely at income. Last month Chris Skidmore MP, one of the Free Enterprise Group of Tory MPs, produced a report with the snappy title of A New Beveridge: 70 years on - refounding the 21st century welfare state, with a section on Wealthy pensioners (page 19):
There are 100,000 households with a retirement income of more than £100,000 a year, and 988,000 over 65s in Britain who have assets worth at least a million pounds.
Neither of these figures is supported by a reference and the second is repeating Sylvester’s error above. Anyway, the report recommends that:
… the richest pensioners with separate incomes over £50,000 should no longer receive winter fuel allowance, a free bus pass and free TV licenses. (page 3)
While this avoids looking at wealth per se, it repeats the well-known anomaly of the child benefit ceiling, but for an older age group. For example, the household consisting of a former high-flyer, now with a £80,000 pension but whose spouse never worked possibly to help them get there, would receive fewer benefits than one with two less starry £40,000 pensioners and would also pay a lot more income tax! In a relatively early post here in February 2011 on the same subject (then raised by the Institute of Economic Affairs, which provides the Free Enterprise Group’s “administrative support”), I commented:
It is a matter of political judgement as to whether the ire of a particular group in society and consequent loss of votes is worth incurring.
Nothing seems to have changed yet, but if the economic situation deteriorates further, some withdrawal of these benefits seems inevitable – and at below £50,000 pa as well.

1 December 2012

A rum little cake

Most towns in France have their gastronomic specialities (produits de terroir) and Bordeaux, as home of the canelé, is no exception. A canelé (or cannelé, meaning grooved) is a small cylindrical cake with fluted sides, height and diameter about 4cm. They are quite agreeable to eat, if a little stolid, and are usually flavoured with honey, vanilla and curiously, rum. I say curiously because South West France is a famous grape-growing area and the locally-made spirit is brandy – Cognac is to the north of Bordeaux and Armagnac to the south - whereas rum is distilled from fermented sugar cane, a crop grown far away.

The only historical account of the canelé that I’ve come across explains that in the sixteenth century the sisters in a Bordeaux convent made little cakes for the poor. However, a visitor to the local history museum might draw a different conclusion. In 2009 the Musée d’Aquitaine opened a gallery with four spaces devoted to the Modern Era: Bordeaux in the 18th century, trans-Atlantic commerce and slavery (Modern as opposed to gallo-roman and prehistoric). As the museum’s website explains (in English):
The source of [Bordeaux’s 18th century] prosperity is examined in the second space, which considers the challenges of Bordeaux maritime commerce, depicted by model ships and an impressive collection of objects relating to navigation. While this commerce initially took the form of direct trade between Europe and the Caribbean, the increase in the triangular trade at the end of the century established Bordeaux as one of the second level slave trading ports in France. The methods employed in the trade in captives from African merchants are here explained, destroying in the process a number of pre-conceived ideas. The tragedies of the decimation of native peoples and the disasters resulting from the colonial wars are not forgotten.  
The organisation of the slavery system in the Caribbean is put in perspective in the third space. Here, documents relate the living conditions and social relationships on the plantations. The sale of slaves, physical abuse, infanticide, the organisation of work, mortality, liberation, maroon societies and revolts are also mentioned.
On the equivalent page in French, “slavery system in the Caribbean” is système esclavagiste dans les îles à sucre (ie the sugar islands). It seems a reasonable surmise that rum being brought back to Bordeaux on the home passage of the triangular trade (left) started to be added to a local cake, probably increasing its popularity. Rum from the French-speaking Carribean islands is distilled from fermented sugar cane, not molasses. Until visiting the Modern era gallery, I had not appreciated the extent of South West France’s involvement in Haiti, Ste-Dominique as it was called, until independence in 1804, and the relatively late date at which France agreed to the abolition of slavery (1835).

However, despite the role of Britain and the Royal Navy in slavery’s abolition, there some matters that South West England should not be so proud of. The impressive Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade was published by Yale University Press in 2010 (its four contributors are all forenamed David!). Their Map 22 (selection below) reveals Plymouth’s early involvement in the slave trade.

Op cit Map 22 Ports outfitting slave voyages 1501-1641 (detail)
This was later eclipsed (selection from their Map 26 below) by Bristol, as is better-known, with minor participation by Lyme (Regis), Poole and Dartmouth. By then London and Liverpool had become dominant in the English slave trade.

Op cit Map 26 Ports outfitting slave voyages 1642-1807 (detail)

To end on a more cheerful note, canelés are not difficult to make at home, providing you have the right mould, example left. These can be purchased at a cost from amazonuk, less from amazonfr or in street markets in SW France. Individual copper moulds, although ornamental, are very expensive unless you are setting up as a pâtissier. Below is a recipe which works, but Google will locate plenty of others:
Canelé de Bordeaux  
500g sugar  
250g flour  
2 whole eggs  
3 egg yolks  
1l of whole milk  
2 dessert spoonfuls of rum  
3-4 dessert spoonfuls of vanilla essence (30%)  
Description: Mix the sugar and eggs in a large bowl until you have a white batter. Add the flour and mix thoroughly. Heat the milk and take off the heat before boiling, then pour gradually into the bowl with the mixture. Add the run and vanilla, mix well. Leave the batter to stand overnight. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 10. Lightly butter the canelé moulds then fill with the batter. Cook for 20 mins at gas mark 10, then for 1h10 at gas mark 7. Leave to cool. Canelés are best eaten in the 24hrs they’re made. They will keep well for 2 days.

ADDENDUM 24 January 2013

This post has turned out to be surprisingly popular.  Perhaps canelés are the new cupcakes as an article by Ann Limpert in the Washingtonian, Bordeaux Beauties: Why Canelés are Our New Favorite Sweets, might suggest - but these are smaller (not unknown in SW France) and there is no mention of rum!