Letter from France: March 2015

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The TudorsEnding Soon

Until April 8: A Train to Yunnan, Tribulations of Two Frenchmen in China

At the dawn of the 20th century, France decided to build a railroad line to link French Indochina to the province of Yunnan in China. The two Frenchmen, in charge of this project, the consul Auguste François and the engineer Auguste Marbotte, were both keen on photography. In 1908 after 5 years, they returned home with unique photos of fascinating landscapes and people from remote parts of China. 65 gorgeous pictures of their adventurous journeys are displayed at the Guimet Museum.

Paris, Musée Guimet      www.guimet.fr


Until July 19: The Tudors

This is an amazing exhibition of beautiful large portraits of the Tudors and of the main protagonists of their time, many of whom were executed. What is seen here is a brilliant survey of the dynasty that changed the face of the English kingdom. The final part of the exhibition shows how the extraordinary lives of the Tudors and the bloody dramas that took place during their reigns, inspired the Romanticism of French writers.

Paris, Musée du Luxembourg     www.museeduluxembourg.fr

Charles de la Fosse

Charles de la Fosse

Until May 24: “Charles de la Fosse, the Triumph of the Colour”

Totally forgotten for two centuries, Charles de la Fosse (1636-1716) who began his painter’s career as a student of the great master Charles Le Brun, took a great part in the creation of beautiful walls and ceilings’ paintings in the royal castles of Versailles and Tuileries. He was also a close friend of Watteau who was inspired from de la Fosse’s technique of drawing with the use of black stone, red chalk and white highlights. He played a pioneering role for the 18th century’s painters.

Until May 24: “Slums of the Baroque: the Rome of Vice and Misery”

The Museum of Petit-Palais exhibits around 70 paintings by dozen 7th century artists from Pieter Van Laer, the first of the Bamboccianti, to Claude Lorrain which, together, show the real life of the people in Rome.  The exhibition dives into the slums of the city, a world of taverns and hell-holes where wine, gambling meet misery and vice. This is about as far removed from the pomp and the ideal vision of the official painting of the ‘Seicento’!

Paris, Musée du Petit Palais         www.petitpalais.paris.fr

David-Bowie-exhibitionUntil May 31: “David Bowie is …”

After the incredible success of the David Bowie’s exhibition in London, it moved to Paris to be the first exhibition at the ‘Philharmonie de Paris’ the new concert hall that was officially opened a few weeks ago, despite the fact that the building is still under construction! Here you’ll find around 300 pieces belonging to David Bowie’s private collection.

Paris, la Philharmonie de Paris       www.philharmoniedeparis.fr

Until June 21: In Klimt’s time, the Secession in Vienna

In the early years of the 20th Century in Vienna, Gustav Klimt was one of the most important artists who gave life to the ‘Secession‘ the impressive Viennese Art Nouveau movement. In parallel with a selection of his main works  including the iconic “Judith I”, this exhibition presents numerous works by other members and friends of the Secession as Egon Schiele or Oskar Kokoshka. A copy of the huge and tremendous Klimt’s “Frise Beethoven” is also presented, 34 metres long and two metres high.

Paris, Pinacothèque      www.pinacotheque.com

Captain Scott and his companions on the way to the pole

Captain Scott and his companions on the way to the pole

Until June 25: Race to the End of the World

This exhibition accurately brings back to life the preparations of the Norwegian and British teams who dramatically raced for the South Pole in the years 1911-1912.

The visitor follows the two teams, step by step to the victory of Roald Amundsen and sadly to the dramatic end of Captain Robert Scott and his whole crew, who remain in history as the South Pole heroes.

Lyon, 69-Rhône, Musée des Confluences     www.museedesconfluences.fr

Until July 5: Body-Care, the Birth of Intimacy

For the very first time, a museum gathers works by the main artists from the 16th Century to present just one subject, the representation of a woman taking care of her body. Works by Durer, Primatice, Georges de la Tour, Manet, Degas and Toulouse Lautrec as well as more contemporary artists show the evolution of body-care during the last few centuries with the arrival of new ideas about hygiene and health.

Paris, Musée Marmottan       www.marmottan.fr

Until July 19: “Pierre Bonnard, painter of Arcadia”

The Orsay Museum presents a retrospective exhibition of Pierre Bonnard, 1867-1947, whose works, characters as well landscapes, were based on an Arcadian ideal. Inspired by the magic light and bright colours of southeast France, he worked on large-scale landscape paintings, but he also remains famous for his intimate portraits of women and for his way to introduce some mystery into common life scenes.

Paris, Musée d’Orsay     www.musee-orsay.fr

the treasures of Emile Guimet

the treasures of Emile Guimet

Until July 27: The Treasures of Emile Guimet

Emile Guimet, a great humanist and captain of industry from Lyon, collected countless art pieces from antique civilisations, mainly from Asia and Egypt, throughout his life. With so much he was able to create two museums in Paris and Lyon which, in his words, would provide culture and knowledge to the ‘proletarian people.‘ This inaugural exhibition of the new Museum of Confluences in Lyon gathers together the most prestigious pieces of Emile Guimet’s collections that, previously, had to be split between some of the most famous French museums.

Lyon, 69-Rhône, Musée des Confluences     www.museedesconfluences.fr

Until September 13: “Pressionism, the masterpieces of Graffiti on Canvas”

The term ‘Pressionism‘ is a tribute to the use of the spray paint in Street Art since the seventies. This exhibition shows how the main artists of this underground movement began to work on canvas. With the exception of Basquiat and Keith Haring the public has of largely ignored their works and probably doesn’t even know many even their names. Now such artists like Ramemellzee who died in 2010, Bando or Futura begin to be known by private collectors and few modern art galleries.

Paris, la Pinacothèque de Paris    www.pinacotheque.com

Until October 18: “Tattoo-makers, Tattooed”

An exhibition that explores the predominantly unknown universe of tattooing with more than 300 pieces showing tattooing through different ages and countries and concentrating on two main aspects, beauty in body-art and the symbols of a societal membership.

Paris, Musée du Quai Branly   www.quaibranly.fr

a salt worker

a salt worker

Until November 2: “Salt Mines”

In the beautiful site of the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, a photographic exhibition is dedicated to the contemporary workers who extracted salt all around the world. Catherine Gaudin and Seydou Touré, the two photographers-travellers, present beautiful images and portraits of salt workers from far away countries as Bolivia, Peru, Vietnam, India, China, or Ethiopia.  More than 160 photos are on show, each with an explanatory note by the authors.

Arc-et-Senans, 25-Doubs, Salines Royales d’Arc-et-Senans      www.salineroyale.com


From March 25 till July 13:  Velasquez

This exhibition shows the genius of Velasquez, 1599-1660, presenting a large panorama of his career, from his first works to his last masterpieces. He quickly became the painter of the royal court of Spain and soon developed a great reputation as a portrait master. He is still one of the world’s most famous artists and was considered as a role model by the Impressionists, Manet calling him ‘the Painter of painters’.

Paris, Grand Palais      www.grandpalais.fr

Looking at street art - Pressionism

Looking at street art – Pressionism

From March 27 till July 19: “Degas, an impressionist painter?”

The Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny, that famous Monet village in Normandy, exhibits sixty works of Degas and uses them to query whether he was an impressionist. Other Impressionists concentrated on landscapes whereas Degas largely worked on indoor scenes and people. Some of the paintings on view have been loaned by the Musée d’Orsay.

Giverny, 27-Eure, Musée des Impressionismes     www.mdig.fr


Musée des Confluences in Lyon

Opening last December after a fourteen year refurbishment and costing £200 million, this new museum of science sits at the confluence of two rivers – the Saone and Rhône – in Lyon. Regardless of its exhibits the building itself will attract visitors. Is it a cloud shaped building, a spaceship or something else? You decide what it looks like.  Made of glass and stainless steel, it wants to be a place of “confluence” between man and the world he lives in, a meeting place for people and art, people and science, people and knowledge, a perfect place to learn, admire and dream.

Lyon, 69-Rhône, Musée des Confluences     www.museedesconfluences.fr

Re-opening of Gustave Moreau Museum

In 1898 when Gustave Moreau died, he offered his home cum studio to the French state as his own museum where he installed and displayed 25.000 of his own works, including 850 paintings and more than 15.000 drawings. After extensive refurbishment 5 rooms that have been closed for years, re-opened to public with their walls totally covered by Gustave Moreau works exactly as the artist decided to show them, including the incredible closets that he transformed in giant ‘books’ to present dozens of drawings.

Paris, Musée Gustave Moreau      www.musee-moreau.fr

Gallery of Mineralogy at the Museum of Natural History:

For more than 400 years, the museum has collected  unique minerals, and after a huge transformation, has opened a renovated space showing to the public more than 600 of them in this exhibition named “Treasures from Earth” (Trésors de la Terre). The exhibition includes the most precious and rare minerals, beautiful gemstones, strange meteorites and the museum fabulous collection of 80 giant crystals of which the biggest weights about 3 tons.

Paris, Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle       www.mnhn.fr

Picasso Museum:

This is the world largest museum solely dedicated to one single artist. Picasso was one of the most creative artists of the 20th century, and the museum located in the beautiful “Hôtel Salé“, occupies the whole 17th Century building from cellars to attic and exhibits more than 400 of his main works, covering all aspects of his prolific artistic production. A must-see for any art-lover! To avoid long queues, advance booking is recommended.

the Louis Vuitton Foundation

the Louis Vuitton Foundation

Paris, Musée National Picasso     www.museepicassoparis.fr

Louis Vuitton Foundation:

This modern vessel with its elegant twelve roofs that stand up like glass sails in the middle of the Parisian Bois de Boulogne is the result of Bernard Arnault’s desire to create a place dedicated to contemporary art. This amazing building, instantly recognisable as being designed by Frank Gehry imagination, is worth a long visit for the architecture alone. It will present temporary exhibitions as well as large selections of pieces from the modern and contemporary art collection of Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Louis Vuitton.

Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton     www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr


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