Claude Monet once said “I perhaps owe it to flowers that I have become a painter.” Monet cultivated gardens wherever he lived. Today an estimated half million visitors pay homage to the artist’s Giverny garden where he painted his renowned water lilies. But Monet —although the most famous — is far from being the only artist inspired by gardens. Continue reading ““Jardins” at Grand Palais”
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”
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’ 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”
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”
The Nuit des Musées is a chance to go museum hopping in Paris for free (until midnight May 21). The aim of the event, organized by the French Ministry of Culture, is to encourage people to get out and see some art. No excuses! In addition to art exhibitions the evening includes workshops, concerts, installations and performances.
Most of the city’s museums will be participating including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Arts and Metiers Museum, Palais de la Découverte and Decorative Arts Museum. For the biggies be prepared to stand in long lines. The “Nuit” takes place in thirty cities around Europe. Last year, over 1300 museums in France participated in the European Museum Night, and over 2 million people attended throughout Europe.
In addition to Nuit des Musées future fests organized by Paris include the Fête de la Musique celebrating the start of summer (June 21st) , Heritage Days in September, Paris Summer Quarter Fest, which starts July 14th and Bastille Day’s Night street dances July 13-14.
A major exhibition—”Spectaculaire Second Empire, 1852-1870″— at the Musee d’Orsay celebrates the museum’s 30th anniversary (to January 15, 2017). It revisits a time when France was at its zenith with paintings, sculptures, photographs, architectural drawings, objets d’art and jewels depicting a brilliant era rich in contradictions.
The Second French Empire corresponds with the reign of Emperor Napoleon III (1852-1870)). Paris was the largest city in continental Europe and the center for finance, fashion and the arts. Beginning in 1853 Napoleon III and his prefect Georges-Eugene Haussaman, over the course of seventeen years, completely rebuilt the heart of the city, creating new boulevards its famous parks and train stations, giving the city its present appearance. In addition, Napoleon III completed the Louvre, built five new theaters and commissioned the Palais Garnier Paris Opera. Continue reading “The Spectacular Second Empire”
After its debut at the Art Institute of Chicago the exhibition “American Painting in the 1930’s” comes to Paris’ Musee Orangerie. The exhibition includes the iconic Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” along with lesser-known work produced during “an age of anxiety.” It is the first time that “American Gothic” (now in the Art Institute of Chicago) has been exhibited in Europe (to January 30, 2017) Continue reading “American Painting in the 1930’s”
“Vinyl Vocabulary” is an exhibition of paintings celebrating the release of a new monograph with that title by William MacKendree at the Vidal- Saintt Phalle Gallery in Paris (May 15-June 5, 2012). Continue reading “William MacKendree’s “Vinyl Vocabulary””
With over 30 million visitors a year, Paris is the world’s most visited city. Among its many attractions are its 153 museums, which showcase an incredibly diverse collection of art from all around the world. In a bid to widen accessibility to this impressive cultural heritage, the city of Paris has allowed free admission to 11 of its museums’ permanent collections. From modern art and antiquity, to literary works, these 11 museums are a brilliant, free access point into a city brimming with culture and the arts: Continue reading “Paris’ Free Museums”