Letter from France: November 2013

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Lyon 2012 - Medusa4 © Muriel Chaulet

Annual Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières) – 6-9th December
The event attracts over a million visitors to see the spectacular light installations developed by world-renowned artists. The main light parade this year will honour Mexico, with a display of giant puppets inspired by Mexican alebrijes, of more than thirty visual artists, painters, builders, actors and circus performers. Nearly 70 light displays will be on show around the city this year.
Lyon http://www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/EN_2012

Until December 14: Kanazawa, Sources of a Samourais’s Culture
During the 16th century, in the region of Kanazawa, the powerful Maeda’s clan attracted the best master craftsmen from Edo and Kyoto and developed the art of tea ceremony and of the Noh, creating a unique Samourai’s culture, different from the one of Edo. The exhibition presents a large selection of fabulous artefacts belonging to the Kanazawa’s period.
Paris, Maison de la Culture du Japon

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 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 two new museums, the MUCEM and the History Museum of the City of Marseille.
Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône-13

Until January 2: ‘Masculine / Masculine’. The Nude Man in Art from 1800 to the Present Day
During the last two centuries, female nude art pieces were largely displayed on the walls of museums or art galleries, while the male nude was hidden from the public, although male nude was the basis of academic art training.
This exhibition presents all types of techniques, including painting, sculpture, graphic arts and of course photography.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

Until 2014, January 5: Georges-Antoine Rochegrosse, the Splendour of Decadence
Well known in his time at the end of 19th Century, as a famous illustrator for Gustave Flaubert’s and Victor Hugo’s books as well as a painter of colourful and violent historical scenes, Georges-Antoine Rochegrosse slowly disappeared from memories and is now rediscovered in an exhibition which is the first one ever totally dedicated to his work.
Moulins, Allier-03, Musée Anne-de-Beaujeu

Until 2014, January 5: Monet, Renoir…Chagall, Journeys around the Mediterranean
This exhibition is part of “Marseille-Provence, 2013 European Cultural Capital”.
Inside the monumental Carrières de Lumières (Quarries of Lights), a huge lightshow projects more than 3,000 images of works of art by 16 main artists onto a wall surface of around 7.000 sq metres. The theme of this exhibition is the Mediterranean Sea and its countryside that inspired all these artists. Walking through the quarries, the spectator strolls from Impressionism with Monet and Renoir, to Pointillism with Signac and Cross, then to Fauvism with Derain, Vlaminck, Matisse … and ends with Chagall.
Baux-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône-13, Carrières de Lumières

Until 2014 January 6: Corot in the Light of the North
An exhibition dedicated to the visits of Corot in the Northern part of France to paint the landscapes in the surroundings of Arras and Douai. An important work which influenced many local painters, later called “Ecole d’Arras”.
Douai, Nord-59, Musée de la Chartreuse

Until January 12: Ideal in Art Nouveau
Thanks to the loan of great pieces of Art Nouveau collection by the Oise Museum of Beauvais, the Palais Lumiére in Evian shows the entire furniture of the dining room of the Belgian architect Gustave Serrurier-Bovy. Many more beautiful artworks are displayed around including the never exposed “Les Flammes”, an extravagant chimney by the ceramist Ernest Müller.
Evian, Haute-Savoie-74, Palais Lumière

Until January 13: Frida Kahlo-Diego Riviera ‘Art in Fusion’
The Musée de l’Orangerie in collaboration with the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico presents an exhibition devoted to Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo. The mixed display of their respective masterpieces shows their huge difference and also their complementarity in art and life.
Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie

Until January 13: Angkor, A myth is born – Louis Delaporte and Cambodia
A unique presentation of the discovery of Angkor temples by Louis Delaporte, the great French explorer, who dedicated his life to discovering the unknown Cambodia and helping Khymer art to enter museums. Among many art pieces, beautiful plaster mouldings made between 1870 and 1920 and an amazing reconstruction of one of the tower with faces from the Bayon temple.
Paris, Musée Guimet

Until January 19: Jordaens 1593-1678, the Pride of Antwerp
To restore Jacob Jordaens as a main master of the 17th century Flemish painting, equal to Rubens or Van Dyck, the Petit Palais has organized a huge retrospective of its work with more than hundred remarkable art pieces coming from leading French and International museums.
Paris, Musée du Petit Palais

Until 2014, January 19: Bronzes of Imperial China from 10th to 19th century
With more than a thousand pieces on show, the Cernuschi Museum covers the history and use of bronzes from the Song to the Qing dynasty. This is the first-ever exhibition in France devoted to a still little-studied field.
Paris, Musée Cernushi

Until January 20: Desires and Voluptuousness, Victorian masterpieces
An exhibition of the true icons of the British Victorian art dedicated to the Aesthetic Movement, with fifty masterpieces by famous British artists of Queen Victoria’s reign, among them Frederic Leighton, Edward Burne-Jones, Albert Moore and Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André

Until January 26: Ivory’s Secrets, the Art of Lega in Central Africa
One of the eight scientists-founders of the Silicon Valley, Jay T. Last created over the last fifty years the world largest collection of ivory artworks by the Lega tribes and then offered it to the Fowler Museum of Los Angeles. This collection is displayed for the first time in Europe at the Quai Branly museum.
Paris, Musée du Quai Branly

Until 2014 January 26: Kanak, Art is a Word
A double exhibition presenting the authentic aspects of Kanak culture in parallel with the vision of Kanak people by Europeans and vice versa.
Paris, Musée Branly

Until 2014, February 9: Etruscans, a Hymn for Life
An exhibition with about 250 original artefacts, about the daily life of the Etruscans, the main people in Italy before Rome, a lost civilisation which leaved us only tombs.
Paris, Musée Maillol

Until 2014 February 23: Serge Poliakoff, A Dream of Forms
The City of Paris Museum of Modern Art offers a large retrospective of the work of Serge Poliakoff, the abstract painter, in sequences from the early years of the young emigree fleeing from the Russian revolution right through to his later paintings.
Paris, Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Until February 23: André Le Nôtre in perspectives 1613-2013
To end the Le Nôtre’s year celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of the famous gardener of Louis XIV, the Château de Versailles offers a complete image of the genius and secrets of the man who created the gardens of the palace with fountains and water canals, the best example of garden ‘à la française’ and the dream of the greatest king of France.
Versailles, Les Yvelines-78, Château de Versailles

Until July 14: Initiates from Congo Bassin
Initiations through secret societies in Africa were often a necessary to change positions inside tribes or to transit from childhood to adult world. The rites of passage needed the use of numerous artworks, statues, masks, costumes, headdresses and protective objects, of which a high selection are presented in this amazing exhibition.
Paris, Musée Dapper



Theatre Costumes Museum, Rudolf Nureyev’s collection
For the 2Oth anniversary of Rudolf Nureyev’s death, the Theatre Costumes Museum in Moulins, has opened new rooms for a permanent exhibition of the costumes and souvenirs chosen by the dancer himself before he died.
Moulins, Allier-03, Centre National du Costume de Scène

Marseille’s History Museum
The Marseille’s History Museum that opened last September is one in a kind museum to be devoted to the history of a single city. This luminous modern museum has been built alongside the ruins of the ancien Roman harbour that are now the museum’s garden. A few wooden Roman shipwrecks are displayed among many artefacts from antiquity to nowadays.
Marseille, Bouches du Rhône-13

Horse Museum in Chantilly
The new Musée du Cheval (Horse Museum) recently opened into ‘the Grandes Ecuries’ (the Great Stables) of the Chateau de Chantilly. It’s the only European museum dedicated to the art of horse and horse riding as well as to the horse in art. The fabulous Great Stables are still in use for a part and shelter live horses that perform equestrian shows with young women riders everyday at the indoor riding hall under the central dome.
Chantilly, Oise-60, Les Grandes Ecuries du Domaine de Chantilly

Mucem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations in Marseille
The Mucem is sandwiched between the new modern building called J4, the number of the former port pier where it has been built, and the old Fort Saint Jean that defended the entrance of the old harbour. The J4, a huge rectangular black building designed by Rudy Ricciotti, is the heart of the museum with permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. The Fort Saint Jean is linked to the J4 by a long aerial footbridge and presents on its outdoor areas the Garden of Migration, a unique Mediterranean botanical footpath with exceptional views over Marseille, the harbour and the sea.
Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône-13

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 3,000 square metres 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

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.

Story and images (unless stated) © Frederic de Poligny

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