Letter from France – March 2013

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned traveller, France will steal your heart. Each month, Frederic – our French correspondent – gives us the low-down on what to see and do across the channel

ENDING SOON

Until March 25: Dali
Thirty three years after the 1979 fabulous Salvador Dali’s retrospective – the most successful exhibition ever set in this museum – the Centre Pompidou offers a new vision of the work and the life of Dali, probably one of the main masters in modern art and surely the most eccentric. He was greedy, grotesque and genial in the same time. Provocations and controversies were part of his creative mind. Over 200 works are presented in a string of chronological themed sections.
Paris, Centre Pompidou
http://www.centrepompidou.fr

Until April 1: A short story of drawing lines at the Centre Pompidou-Metz
An original point of view of the use of lines in drawings from 1925 the present day. A study largely broadens to the lines in our world, in our own life, in our writings and in our gesture to write, in landscapes or in our way to move.
Metz, Moselle-57, Centre Pompidou-Metz.
www.centrepompidou-metz.fr/en

Until April 28: Art Collector’s Eye, Redon & Denis ‘Dream, Love, Holy’
In the first part of a private art collection’s exhibition, the works, illustrations and embossments, presented by the Musée Bonnard about two main artists – little known by Brits – from the end of the 19th Century, Odilon Redon, symbolist painter, and Maurice Denis, one of the Nabis. Both of them believed that a piece of art must be the representation of emotion and feelings.
Le Cannet, Alpes Maritimes-06, Musée Bonnard
www.museebonnard.fr


RUNNING NOW

Until May 19: An artist’s travels trough Micronesia, the floating universe of Paul Jacoulet
160 remarkable engravings, sketches, watercolours and paintings offer a deep (dive) into the work of Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960), a French artist who spent quite his whole life in Japan from where he travelled to many Asian countries. This exhibition is focused on the works he produced during his journeys to Micronesia, a mix of delicate and intimate portraits, aesthetical erotic bodies and quite ethnographic drawings highlighting tattoos, headdresses and jewels.
Paris, Musée du Quai Branly
www.quaibranly.fr/en http://lehavre.fr/agenda/cercles-et-carres-centre-pompidou-mobile

Until May 23: Centre Pompidou Mobile, Le Havre
The Centre Pompidou Mobile project, launched last year, is the first nomadic contemporary and modern art museum in the world. It’s a light, dismountable and moveable structure that travels three times in a year from town to town to present selections of major artworks from the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The public is not going to the museum. The museum is going to the public. This year’s theme is ‘Circle and Square’ in remembrance of the birth in 1930 of the first abstract movement led by Mondrian, Arp and Kandinsky. This free exhibition presents artworks by fifteen artists including also Vasarely, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Léger, Soto, Buren. Thanks to a loan by Le Havre’s Art Museum André Malraux, François Morellet is the only one whom two pieces of Art are presented in this exhibition.
Le Havre, Seine Maritime-76, Centre Pompidou Mobile

Until June 2: Robert Arnoux at Bagatelle
Inside the prestigious romantic garden of Bagatelle, among cascades and lawns, Robert Arnoux, a contemporary sculptor, arranged about 30 groups of his slim human statues, so simple that many could imagine them as phantom figures. A perfect opportunity to discover or to re-discover the Jardins de Bagatelle and its wonderful roses’ garden.
Paris-Neuilly, Jardins de Bagatelle
www.robertarnoux.com
http://equipement.paris.fr/parc-de-bagatelle-1808

Until June 9: Alberto Giacometti, Space Head Figure
Through the main loan by the Giacometti Foundation and a few little ones from private and public collections, the Grenoble’s Museum offers a large panorama of the bronze works by Giacometti, his thin ‘figures’ and the expressive ‘heads’ that are sometimes brought face to face as in ‘La Cage’ a 1950’s work, as well as in a different version dated to 1965.
Grenoble, Isére-38, Musée de Grenoble
www.museedegrenoble.fr

Until June 10: Treasures from Ancient China, ritual bronzes from the Meiyintang collection
For the first time, more than 100 archaic Chinese bronzes of the Meiyintang collection will be presented to public. It’s the most fabulous group of bronzes dating from 2000 to1000 BC that have ever brought together by a single private collector. All these pieces of art reveal the extraordinary skill of the Chinese founders using bold designs and stylised patterns.
Paris, Musée Guimet
www.guimet.fr

Until June 30: The School of Shanghai (1840-1920)
During the 19th Century, armed conflicts shook the Qing Dynasty so hard that many artists, painters and calligraphers chose to flee to Shangai where under the protection of Western armies, they could develop their art. The combination of traditional Chinese visual art with the freedom of drawings and the large use of colour borrowed from the west, opened the door to a new revitalized major Chinese painting which is presented in this remarkable exhibition that includes numerous outstanding loans from the Shangai Museum.
Paris, Musée Cernuschi
www.cernuschi.paris.fr/en/home

Until July 14: Beloved Hair. Trophies and Trifles
An exhibition dedicated to all aspects of hair and its huge importance in any society through history, as an instrument of beauty and seduction as well as a symbol of power. Hair is also displayed as an object of remembrance of beloved ones and as a symbol of time passing and death. A large section shows us how, in some non-European societies that practised trophy taking and head hunting, hair was a symbol of energy and power, retaining the aura of his owner.
Paris, Musée du Quai Branly
www.quaibranly.fr/en

Until July 21: Chagall, between war and peace
The life of Chagall was split between the Russian revolution, exile, two World Wars and these exhibitions show the interference with his painting. Despite these terrible periods, from which the Chagall’s works are firstly presented, the artist’s happiness shines in the second
part of the exhibition.
Paris, Musée du Luxembourg
www.museeduluxembourg.fr/en/expositions/

Until July 22: Eugène Boudin
For the first time in 114 years, Paris showcases the works of Eugène Boudin, the first of the pre- impressionist painters, who was called ‘king of skies’ by Corot himself and who was considered by Monet as his master in art. He travelled all along European seasides searching the best techniques to transcript on his watercolours and pastels the light and the light’s reflects in the sky and over the sea.
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André
www.musee-jacquemart-andre.getaticket.com

Until July 27: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ crossed beauty in contemporary art
Referring to the Jean Cocteau’s eponymous film (1946), Bernard Magrez, owner of four well-known Bordeaux vineyards and founder of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute, has organised a ‘confrontation’ between 30 artworks by various contemporary artists to reflect the duality of Beauty, particularly in the connection that links the artist and his model.
Bordeaux, Gironde – 33, Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez
www.institut-bernard-magrez.com

Until July 30: Sol Lewitt, wall drawings at Centre Pompidou-Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz presents a retrospective, completely unprecedented in Europe, of the American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). 33 black and white wall drawings by Sol LeWitt were recently executed on-site in the Centre Pompidou-Metz by students of art and architecture.
Metz, Moselle-57, Centre Pompidou-Metz.
www.centrepompidou-metz.fr/en

Until August 4: Felix Ziem ‘I dreamed beauty’, paintings and watercolours
Tireless traveller, Felix Ziem was one of the most famous watercolour painters of the 19th Century. The exhibition calls to mind all his journeys from Venice to the far Russia, and also the three places where he liked to stay, Barbizon, the Butte Montmartre and Marseille-Martigues.
Paris, Musée du Petit Palais
www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en

Until September 16: Red and Gold at the Museum Jean Cocteau in Menton, Alpes Maritimes
Turning over annually so that as many of Cocteau’s works can be seen in the museum, the new exhibition’s theme is ‘Red and Gold’, a timeliness to discover how Cocteau worked in creating a play. See some of his greatest interpreters like actors, Jean Marais, Edith Piaf and Jeanne Moreau.
Menton, Alpes Maritimes-06, Musée Jean Cocteau
http://museecocteaumenton.fr/

Until November 10: Roulez Carosses!
On loan from the Palace of Versailles, to the museum of St Vaast Abbey in Arras, see for the first time the finest pieces of French royal and imperial horse-drawn carriages along with numerous artefacts belonging to their use. There are also a few paintings of important events during which these vehicles were used.
Arras, Pas-de-Calais – 59, Musée-Abbaye St Vaast
http://www.versaillesarras.com

Until December 31: Marseille-Provence, 2013 European Cultural Capital
As European Cultural Capital, Marseille presents the first artistic events of a long series hosted not only by Marseille but also by Aix-en-Provence – the old city well known for its beautiful buildings and for the sweetness of its art-de-vivre. Hundreds of cultural and artistic events, theatre, street arts, music, exhibitions, are scheduled all along the year, including the exceptional creation of a new French national museum, the MUCEM, of which the opening date is expected for 1 June.
Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône-13
www.mp2013.fr

COMING SOON

From March 27: Napoléon and the Europe
Only in charge for 15 years, Napoléon had a huge impact on the world. His dream was to rule the whole Europe by invading countries but, in doing so, he created new institutions and reformed the laws. The exhibition chronologically presents the two faces of Napoléon’s impact on Europe, his acts to realize his vision of Europe and the reactions, positive or violent, from peoples and foreign powers. The Napoléonic legacy was important not only to France, but also to Europe.
Paris, Musée de l’Armée (Hôtel National desInvalides)
www.musee-armee.fr

From March 29: Signac, the colours of water
For the 150th anniversary of Paul Signac’s birth, the Museum of Impressionism in Giverny provides an exhibition of about 130 paintings by Signac. All his life, Paul Signac was inspired by water scenes, creating new ‘Impressionist’ techniques including the use of small touches of raw colour. This exhibition is the first of the six main exhibitions of the second Normandy Impressionism Festival.
Giverny, Eure-27, Musée des Impressionismes
www.mdig.fr/

Signac

NEW AND PERMANENT

Louvre Museum, New Islamic Arts Department
Last September the Louvre Museum opened its new area dedicated to art in Islam. The former Visconti courtyard is now covered by a huge sail shaped glass roof allowing the museum to present in one place 3,000 major Islam art works. This permanent space includes the discovery of an important number of Islamic pieces of art coming from the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Art de l’Islam.
www.louvre.fr

Museum Louvre-Lens, the new extension of the Louvre Museum in Lens
Opened in December 2012, the Louvre-Lens Museum in the city of Lens in the North of France presents in its spectacular glass building a regular turnover of masterpieces in a non-traditional way, mixing artworks from different departments of the Parisian Louvre Museum. The ‘Galerie du Temps’ with its 3000 square metre showcases more than 200 masterpieces from Antiquity to the ‘Temps Modernes’ in a panoramic and chronological vision of art through ages. Even the underground storerooms and preservation studios will be open to visitors. Nestled in 50 acres of green park and closed to the railway station where TGV easily links Lens to Belgium, Germany and UK.
Lens, Pas de Calais-62
www.louvrelens.fr

Alésia MuseoParc, Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte d’Or
Right in the centre of the battlefield of Alesia that saw the final battle of the Gallic Wars with Julius Caesar’s victory against Vercingetorix, stands the new circular building of the Alesia MuseoParc. Inside, you’ll find lots of interactive explanations, a realistic and astonishing movie of the battle on a seven metre screen and, outside, an amazing life-size reconstruction of the Caesar double fortifications to help visitors to understand one of the biggest battles of Roman times.
Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte-d’Or-21, MuséoParc d’Alésia
http://www.alesia.com/english

Museum d’Ennery, Paris
In 1894, Mrs Clemence d’Ennery donated to France her fabulous collection of more than 7,000 Chinese and Japanese artworks under strict conditions, one of which was that all of the collection should be exhibited inside her own house which she had designed as a personal orientalist museum. Closed for years for security reasons, the museum recently reopened and provides a look back into a time when the eruption of Far East Asian Art influenced European collectors and artists. (Note: booking in advance is mandatory)
Paris, Musée d’Ennery
www.guimet.fr/fr/musee-dennery/informations-pratiques

Museum Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moser, Alsace
In the small village where, over a period of 90 years, René Lalique produced a large part of his work, hundreds of his works are displayed. For those used to seeing his work on Antiques Road Shoe and Flog it seeing this huge collection confirms that he is one of the best glass artists of all time. There is also examples of his work as a jeweller. This very modern museum, hidden on the flank of a small green valley, is a perfect showcase for Lalique’s jewels, perfume bottles, tableware, vases, lights, crystal and drawings.
Wingen-sur Moser, Bas Rhin-67, Alsace, Musée Lalique
www.musee-lalique.com/en

Museum Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi, Tarn
Inside the fabulous Palais de la Berbie, the former palace of Bishops of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest collection of pieces of art by Toulouse-Lautrec. It is now being displayed in a new scenography offering a new reading of each facet of the artist’s work, including his work as a youth as well as the more familiar portraits of Montmartre people and scenes from the world of brothel.
Albi, Tarn-81, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
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