Mystical Landscapes at Musée d’Orsay

Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles, Vincent van Gogh

Wassily Kandinsky called for a spiritual revolution in his 1911 manifesto  “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” so that artists might express their inner lives in abstract “non-material” terms. The exhibition “Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” at Paris’ Musée d’Orsay revisits artists such as Kandinsky who during the late 19th and early 20th century attempted to evoke the transcendental in their work. Continue reading “Mystical Landscapes at Musée d’Orsay”

Pissarro in Eragny… Nature Regained

Camille Pissarro’s painting went from Impressionism to Pointillism and back again to Impressionism during his years in Eragny (Normandy) where he lived from 1884 until his death in 1903. The exhibition “Pissarro à Eragny” at Paris’ Musée du Luxembourg focuses on the artist’s work during those years. The exhibition runs parallel to “Pissarro, Le Premier des Impressionnistes,” (retrospective) at the Musée Marmottan Monet. Pissaro immortalized the village of Eragny-sur-Epte through the seasons while idealistically depicting French country life —apple pickers, haymakers, peasant girls skinny-dipping— portraying a rural utopia. Continue reading “Pissarro in Eragny… Nature Regained”

Primitive Picasso in Paris

Picasso said he experienced a “revelation” while viewing African art at Paris’ Palais du Trocadéro ethnographic museum.  “A smell of mould and neglect caught me by the throat. I was so depressed that I would have chosen to leave immediately. But I forced myself to stay, to examine these masks, all these objects that people had created with a sacred, magical purpose, to serve as intermediaries between them and the unknown, hostile forces surrounding them, attempting in that way to overcome their fears by giving them colour and form. And then I understood what painting really meant. It’s not an aesthetic process; it’s a form of magic that interposes itself between us and the hostile universe, a means of seizing power by imposing a form on our terrors as well as on our desires. The day I understood that, I had found my path.” His discovery that day of African art resulted in what became his “African” style (1906-1909) and his iconic  “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” Continue reading “Primitive Picasso in Paris”

Travaux de Dames?

Wall Ensemble ©Kristin McKirdy

The Musée Les Arts Decoratif opened its “Travaux de Dames” exhibition on International Womens’ Day featuring such artists as Niki de Saint-Phalle, Charlotte Perriand, Sonia Delauney and Elsa Schiaparelli. Canadian contemporary ceramic artist Kristin McKirdy— who has lived and taught classes in Paris for over 20 years— is showing an example of her new wall ensemble work. Continue reading “Travaux de Dames?”

Paris Bernard Buffet Retrospective

One of the most interesting artists of the French post WWII era is expressionist painter Bernard Buffet (1928-1999). He was part of the anti-abstract group “l’homme Temoin.”  With meteoric success he gained fame and fortune in his early twenties. For awhile he was considered the rival of PIcasso. One magazine at the time hailed him the leading artist of his generation. Continue reading “Paris Bernard Buffet Retrospective”

“Uprisings” at Jeu de Paume

Paris’ Jeu de Paume hosts a major exhibition this autumn titled “Soulevement,” which translates from French as “Uprisings” (to January 15, 2017). This multimedia exhibition—paintings, video, books, photography— curated by philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman, reflects on revolts, resistance and protest from Francisco de Goya’s “Los Caprichos (1799) to Maria Koukouta’s (2016) video loop showing immigrants crossing the Greek-Macedonia border. Continue reading ““Uprisings” at Jeu de Paume”

Henri Rousseau… Paradise & Jungles

Le douanier Rousseau

Paris’ Musée d’Orsay tributes legendary French 19th century painter Henri Rousseau with an exhibition “Le Douanier Rousseau, L’Innocence Archaique” placing him in the context of his times (to July 17, 2016).  Rousseau, (1844-1910) famed for his dreamlike atmospheres, enchanted landscapes and jungle scenes, was an important figure in art during the late 19th century and the early days of Modernism. He is still hard to categorize. Was he an inspired self-taught Naif or a harbinger of Modern Art? Maybe both.
Continue reading “Henri Rousseau… Paradise & Jungles”