Letter from France: July 2014

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Watteau - Fêtes Gallantes

Watteau – Fêtes Gallantes


Until July 27: “Les Fêtes Galantes” from Watteau to Fragonard

With around sixty fabulous paintings, this exhibition shows the whole history of the ‘Fêtes Galantes’, a new groundbreaking style developed by Watteau in the early years of the 18th C., depicting in idyllic scenes the charming games of love. Watteau’s followers, Pater, Lancret  or Saint-Aubin introduced in their sceneries a few touches of reality, and others, like Vernet, sometimes used to show some exotic characters. Finally the ‘Fêtes Galantes’ after a century of success ended in a blaze of glory with Boucher and Fragonard.

Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com

Until July 27: Gobelins Royal Manufactory in the Age of Enlightenment

During that period which was the golden age of French tapestry, the Gobelins became the leading manufacturer  in Europe, producing more than forty different series of tapestries in less than one century. Many great painters of the time including Boucher, Van Loo, Coypel or Oudry created the gigantic tapestry cartoons needed, and some will be on show with thirty tapestries chosen for their exceptional state of preservation.

Paris, Galerie des Gobelins www.mobiliernational.culture.gouv.fr

Until August 24: Beauvais, 350 years – Portraits of a Tapestry Factory

About 90 tapestries created by the Manufacture de Beauvais are on display to show the permanent quality of the workers of the Manufacture de Beauvais throughout the last 350 years. The works on show include wall-tapestries, furniture and folding screens, and date from the end of the 17th C to nowadays.

Beauvais, Oise-60, Galerie Nationale de la Tapisserie, www.beauvaistourisme.fr

Volubilis BronzeUntil August 25: Splendours of Volubilis, Antic Bronzes

At the beginning of 1st Century AD, Volubilis, capital of King Juba II was the most beautiful city of the Roman Northern Africa. Found in the ruins of Volubilis, this collection of high aesthetic quality bronzes, now belonging to Morrocco, shows how in antiquity, that bronze products were travelling through the whole Roman empire.

Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône-13, MUCEM, www.mucem.org


Until August 31: Le Voyage à Nantes (Nantes, Take the Journey!)

This summer season of “Le voyage à Nantes” presents forty or so exhibitions, activities and cultural events all over Nantes, inviting visitors to go for along stroll following the green line to discover the city. The trail includes among many, the Samouris exhibition inside the Dukes of Brittany’s Castle, Dougherty’s works in the castle’s moat, the bestiary of gigantic living machines with the new giant ant and the 40-foot tall elephant, and “la Cantine du Voyage” the temporary greenhouse restaurant and bar.Amy Johnson_

Nantes, Loire-Atlantique-44, www.levoyageanantes.fr

Until August 31: Amy Johnson, the fate of a heroine

This exhibition which honours Amy Johnson, the famous British aviatrix is centred around the drawings of Pierre Wachs the author of the comic book “Amy Johnson” published by Casterman in 2013. In 1929 Amy Johnson made her first solo-flight and in the followingt year she was the first woman to fly from UK to Australia. Then named “the Lindbergh Girl”, she broke record after record. During WW II, she enlisted as an ATA pilot. (Air Transport Auxiliary). On January 5, 1941 she disappeared with the plane she was conveying in the Thames River. The exhibition is located in the hall of the between-the-wars planes.

Paris-Le Bourget Airport, Air and Space Museum (93-Le Bourget) www.museeairespace.fr

Until August 31: Once upon a time was the Orient Express

To exhibit to the public the long history of the Orient Express train which linked Western Europe to Middle East, the SNCF, the French Railways Company, has loaned a locomotive, 3 original carriages and a dining car of the Orient Express to be displayed in the middle of the IMA museum courtyard. And inside the museum the exhibition of objects, documents, poster, photos or short movies remembers the importance of this train creating a “desire of Orient,” an opulence few of us can dream of and which helped open the way to mass scale tourism.

Paris, IMA, Institut du Monde Arabe, www.imarabe.org



Until September 21: “Fernand Léger, Reconstruire le Réel”

From the twenties until the years following WW2, Fernand Léger rebuilt in his works his own perception of reality. But staying true to ‘realism in conception‘ he was receptive to the vision of the Surrealists, some of them such as Man Ray and Duchamp, being close friends.

Nantes, Loire Atlantique-44, La Chapelle de l’Oratoire. www.museedesbeauxarts.nantes.fr

Until September 21: Mapplethorpe-Rodin

For the first time an exhibition brings to life the similarities of two artists who, at first sight, had really nothing in common. Rodin was a sculptor, Mapplethorpe a photographer. Rodin loved women, and Mapplethorpe was attracted to men. And Mapplethorpe was born more than a century after the birth of Rodin. But the exhibition of a selection of 50 sculptures by Rodin and a hundred photos realised by Mapplethorpe, shows the incredible connection between their works. The two artists have a same vision of the beauty of forms of the human body, male or female, the same sense of perfection.

Paris, Musée Rodin, www.musee-rodin.fr

Until September 21: 1944, the Resistance’s Part during the Battle of Normandy

For those travelling in the region, this exhibition shows the fights and sacrifice of the French Resistance before the D-Day and all along the long Battle of Normandy. Intelligence, scouting, night and dawn raids, Allies pilots’ rescue, all these actions had to be paid by heavy losses.

Alençon, Orne-61, Archives Départementales de l’Orne, www.orne.fr/agenda

Theodore Ber in the Andes

Theodore Ber in the Andes

Until October 5: “40 years in the Andes, the forgotten journey of Théodore Ber”

This exhibition presents the travel diaries, recently found, of Théodore Ber who stayed in the 19thC for 40 years in the Andes, having as many jobs as possible, but providing the French museums with beautiful archaeological and ethnographic collections. In parallel are displayed many pieces that he had collected and which are lent for this exhibition by the Branly Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Saint Germain.

Figeac, Lot-46, Musée Champollion, www.musee-champollion.fr

EXTENDED Until October 5: “Star WarsTM Identities: The Exhibition”

Presented for the first time in Europe, the STAR WARSTM Identities exhibition conveys an interactive journey into the world of the saga in a unique location: the Cité du Cinéma. Two film sets of approximately 2000 square metres have been turned into an exhibition location. They will be open to the public to reveal more than 200 original pieces from the archives of the Lucas Arts Museum which include models, accessories, costumes, and sketches.

Paris-Saint Denis, Cité du Cinéma, http://la-cite-du-cinema.eu

affiche Magie'N MagieJulyUntil October 6: Image’ N Magie

While waiting for the opening of the “Caverne du Pont d’Arc,” an exact replica of the famous Chauvet Cave, the Branly Museum has opened in the Château de Tournon, an exhibition of 40 amazing artefacts from Asia, Africa and America, whose forms and drawings deliver secret, double meanings or symbolic messages.

Tournon-sur-Rhône, Ardéche-07: Château-Musée de Tournon, www.expo2014.fr

Until November 2: Marc Chagall, Printings

The Palais Lumière In Evian presents a huge retrospective exhibition of the printed works of Marc Chagall, from the first black and white prints (copper engraving from1925 to 1940 in Berlin and Paris) to the coloured ones after the discovery of colours lithography during his exile in the USA in 1941. Evian, 74-Haute Savoie, Palais Lumière


Until November 11: The Aquatic World of René Lalique

The new exhibition in the René Lalique Museum presents more than 120 art pieces from Lalique including drawings, jewels, glass and crystals pieces showing how the aquatic fauna and flora has inspired the creativity of the artist who represented in his master pieces as well fishes, dragonflies, seaweeds and frogs, as imaginary beings, mermaids, nymphs or fairies.

Wingen-sur-Moder, 67-Alsace, Musée Lalique, www.musee-lalique.com

Join Now!_Until December 29: 1914, Join NOW! British Empire entering the war

The Great War Museum in Meaux celebrates the immense contribution of the British Empire troops since the beginning of WW I. The museum shows the period from the immediate enlistment of volunteers and the first battle of the Marne, the battles of Yser and Ypres where the British Corps joined the French troops and fought the German armies, to the end of 1914 and the Christmas truces.

Meaux, 77-Seine et Marne, Musée de la Grande Guerre, www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu

Until December 31: Sensations: on aura tout vu

This time, the international City of Lace and Fashion presents the talented, trendy Parisian fashion house “on aura tout vu“. This exhibition higlights the links and interactions between clothes and emotions. Fashion is seen by “on aura tout vu” creators as a “factory of sensations”, including all human senses, visual, tactile, acoustic, gustative, and finally imaginative.

Calais, 62-Pas-de-Calais, Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode, www.cite-dentelle.fr

Until 2015 January 4: Shakespeare, the fabric of the world

For the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, the National Centre of Theatre Costume presents, around an historical reconstruction of an Elizabethan wooden circular theatre, more than hundred costumes used by the most famous French actors during the last hundred years when they played the main characters of Shakespearen theatre.

Moulins, 03-Allier, Centre National du Costume de Scène, www.cncs.fr

Until 2015 January 5: Klimt and Vienna at the Quarries of Lights

Inside the fabulous underground quarries of Baux de Provence the theme of the amazing lightshow, chosen this year is Klimt and Vienna, providing visitors with a tremendous vision of a “century of gold and colours”. A great soundtrack comes with the thousands of pictures of masterpieces by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Fridenreisch Hundertwasser whose works have been inspired by Klimt. For spectators it’s an impressive leap into the world of the artists, the paintings being hung on to every wall and even onto the ground.

Baux de Provence, 13-Bouches-du-Rhône, Carrières de Lumières, www.carrieres-lumieres.com

Bicycle St-Etienne_Until January 5: Bicycle in Saint Étienne, a century of know-how

For any French, Saint Etienne is the world capital of the Bicycle often informally called”la petite reine” (the little queen). More than 70 bicycles and various original documents, posters and catalogues help the visitor to understand the evolution of techniques that were developed by the numerous factories of the region to produce millions of the first mechanical individual means of transportation.

Saint Etienne, 42-Loire, Musée d’Art et d’Industrie, www.mai.saint-etienne.fr

Until 2015 October 18: “Tattoo-makers, Tattooed”

An exhibition that explores the quite unknown universe of tattooing with more than 300 pieces showing its ancestral use through the ages and countries, showing its two main aspects, beauty in body-art and symbol of a societal membership.

Paris, Musée du Quai Branly, www.quaibranly.fr

New and Permanent

Musée Soulages in Rodez

The Musée Soulages  has now opened as the first museum dedicated to a living artist. Pierre Soulages is 93 years old, whose collections of more than 500 pieces and documents has been donated by the artist and his wife Colette Soulages. The collection is centred on the creation of the amazing stained-glass windows of Conques and on the printed work of Pierre Soulages. The first exhibition, which runs until October 5, brings together 30 “Outrenoir(s)” coming from main museums and art foundations

Rodez, 12-Aveyron, Musée Soulages, www.musee-soulages.grand-rodez.com






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