The Prieuré at Fontainebleau

Gurdjieff International Review

Taking the Life Cure in Gurdjieff's School

by Maud Hoffman


[A friend of Mabel Collins, author of the Theosophical classic Light on the Path, Maud Hoffman shared a fashionable Harley Street house in London with doctors Maurice Nicoll and James C. Young before moving to Fontainebleau. Her enthusiastic and vividly observed glimpse of daily conditions at the Prieuré was first published in The New York Times, February 10, 1924.]

An Intimate Description of the Russian's Institute in France,
Whose Aim is the All-Round, Harmonious Development of Man

During this last Summer the inhabitants of Fontainebleau and Avon, in France, and the Summer visitors at the hotels flocked to the old Prieuré des Basses Loges to see the Saturday evening demonstrations of the work done there by the pupils of the Gurdjieff Institute. The demonstrations are given in a large aerodrome, erected by the pupils, which comfortably accommodates more than sixty pupils and several hundred visitors. The stage is large enough for forty people to take part in the exercises at the same time, and a large space covered with Persian carpets, remains free in the centre.

The pupils sit around this square space on goatskins and cushions in the Oriental fashion. The interior of this study house has been decorated with color, drawing, stenciling and designs. The whole of the extensive canvas ceiling—and every buttress, beam and space is covered. The colors are rich and vivid, as are the windows. All the work of painting and designing has been done by the pupils themselves.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]

Copyright © 1924 The New York Times
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Revision: May 1, 2000