Letter from France: December 2016

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Lascaux  wall carving



From December 15:  Lascaux IV is now opened

In Montignac-Lascaux the very new “Centre International de l’Art Pariétal

displays a fabulous and entire reproduction of the Lascaux cave. Lascaux IV is a full-scale copy of the original cave which is permanently closed to the public. Over 400.000 visitors are expected next year and even if advance booking on Internet is high every day, some will be sold on the spot. Montignac-Lascaux, 14-Dordogne    www.reserver.lascaux.fr/en/todo


Until January 2: “Le Grand Condé, rival of the Sun King?”

Cousin of the Sun King Louis XIV, Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé known as Le Grand Condé (Condé the Great) was the best general of his time, also a rebel during the Fronde civil war, but he was a generous protector of arts and culture. He gave life to the Chantilly Castle, and its fabulous gardens, where now a unique exhibition pays tribute to this great man and flamboyant character.  Chantilly, 60-Oise, Domaine de Chantilly    www.domainedechantilly.com

poster of Winterhalter


Until January 15: “Winterhalter, Court portraits, between splendour and elegance”

Winterhalter (1805-1873) was the greatest court painter of his time, working for royal courts of France, Belgium and Austria. Before becoming the official portrait painter of Empress Eugénie, the wife of Emperor Napoleon III, he portrayed members of Queen Victoria ‘s family. Here in the Imperial Palacer of Compiègne, this exhibition of vivid portraits by Winterhalter gives us a true image of the high society of the 19th century. Compiègne, 60-Oise  Palais de Compiègne   www.musee-palaisdecompiegne.fr

Until January 15: “Ben at the Maillol Museum”

With more than 500 works from the artist’s collection and from private collections, the Maillol Museum presents the largest retrospective of Ben, the most iconoclastic contemporary artist, a gentle agitator denying the “single worldview”. Paris, Musée Maillol     www.museemaillol.com

Until January 15: “Amazing Second Empire 1852-1870”

The Second Empire of the time of Napoléon III, was a great period of prosperity and modernity, and this has largely been forgotten. The Musée d’Orsay presents an accurate portrait of the splendour and the lushness of the high society of that time. Paris, Musée d’Orsay    www.musee-orsay.fr

poster of Herge exhibition

Hergé at the Grand Palais

Until January 15: “Hergé at the Grand Palais”

Creator of the Adventures of Tintin, Hergé (1907-1983) is considered the world’s most famous cartoonist. He is the father of the ligne claire drawing style, and for this unique retrospective of his work, original drawings and pages from Tintin and Quick & Flucke albums are on show. This exhibition includes also Hergé earlier works as “The adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko”. Paris, Grand Palais      www.grandpalais.fr

Until January 15: “Color Line – African-American artists and Civil Rights in USA”

With over 200 works, including painting, sculpture, comic books, music, graphic design and film, this exhibition is a large panorama of the Afro-American art in the time of the Segregation in USA. It is a tribute to the richness of the creativity of all these artists victims of that “color line” who still remain largely unknown by the public. Paris, Musée du Quai Branly    www.quaibranly.fr

photograph of Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Until January 15: “Oscar Wilde, the absolute impertinent”

This is the world largest exhibition dedicated to Oscar Wilde, presenting a chronology of his tumultuous life with numerous personal artefacts, original texts, photographs, letters and in parallel numerous paintings that Oscar Wilde who was also an art critic, considered worthy of admiration.             Paris, Petit Palais    www.petitpalais.paris.fr

Until January 16: “Art & Liberty, rupture, war and Surrealism in Egypt 1938-1948”


poster of the Egyptian art and liberty exhibition

Art and Libert in Egypt

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of André Breton, the “Pope of Surrealism”, the Pompidou Centre opens its doors to “Art and Liberty”, a group of young artists leaving in Egypt during the years 1938-1948. Led by the poet Georges Henein they were linked to the Surrealism movement and played a major role in the rising of contemporary art in this country.  Paris, Centre Pompidou    www.centrepompidou.fr

Until January 16: Jade from emperors to Art Deco

Jade remains an eternal and mythical stone, an object of fascination and absolute power for the sovereign. Some 330  pieces, on displayfor the first time in France,  have come from 15 prestigious national and international institutions including the National Palace Museum, Taipei, which is lending almost a third of the works on display. Paris, Musée Guimet – http://www.guimet.fr/en/exhibitions/jade-from-emperors-to-art-deco

Until January 19: “Secret Wars”

With more than 400 artefacts and authentic documents this exhibition shows how the secret wars carried out by intelligence services during the last two centuries, were part of the action of countries. An essential part of the exhibition is dedicated to WWII and the Cold War.                                            Paris, Les Invalides, Musée de l’Armée    www.musee-armee.fr

poster of The dream exhibition

Le Reve – The Dream

Until January 22: “The Dream”

Dreams have always been a great domain of questioning for human mankind. This exhibition includes works by artists as Goya, Odilon Redon and Max Ernst, and shows how these artists tried to translate dreams in their works and by doing so, were breaching the constraints of an objective reality. Marseille, 13-Bouches du Rhône, Musée Cantini    www.lereve.marseille.fr

Until January 22: “To paint the Impossible: Hodler-Monet-Munch”

The exhibition combines three major artists of the first years of the 20th century, Hodler, Monet and Munch. Each one was trying to paint what he thought technically impossible, but all were obsessive in striving that impossibility.   Paris, Musée Marmottan-Monet    www.marmottan.fr

Until January 23: “Café In” Mucem

An exhibition to discover the importance of coffee in our civilisation, through its history, its production, its economy, its publicity and its impact on our way of live at home or in the “cafés”.  Marseille, 13-Bouches du Rhone, MUCEM    www.mucem.org

poster for Inner Rembrandt exhibition

Inner Rembrandt

Until January 23: “Inner Rembrandt”

The Jacquemart-André Museum owns three Rembrandt masterpieces representing three periods of the artist works. Each one is presented facing other paintings and engravings of the same period allowing the spectator to discover the creative process of Rembrandt and its evolution throughout his lifetime. Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André    www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com

Until January 23: “René Magritte, the Treachery of Images”

Drifting away from the Surrealist movement, René Magritte took a more philosophical way wondering about our world and about his own vision and depiction of it, that reached its iconic point with his masterpiece “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe).  Paris, Centre Pompidou   www.centrepompidou.fr

Until January 23: “Mexico, 1900-1950: Diego Riviera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco and the avant-garde”

This exhibition presents a vast panorama of the creativity of Mexican artists during the first half of the 20th Century. They were inspired in the first years by the Parisian avant-garde but the Mexican revolution pushed them in new styles direction. Women artists, as the iconic Frida Kahlo, found their place in that new attractive Mexican artistic scene that soon saw numerous foreign artists joining them in Mexico.  Paris, Grand Palais    www.grandpalais.fr

poster for Plumes exhibition

Feathers (plumes) exhibition


Until January 29: “Feathers, visions of Pre-Colombian America”

Being a symbol of power and linked to religion and gods, feathers played a great role in the Pre-Colombian societies and soon after the Hispanic conquest, the science of Indians in feathers design was used to create fabulous artworks made of colourful feathers.  Paris, Quai Branly Museum   www.quaibranly.fr

Until January 30: “The Bear in the prehistoric art”

During the Upper Palaeolithic era (38,000-19,000 years ago) the hunter-gatherers left us fabulous cave-paintings, delicate figurines, carved stones and bones, showing their art to represent wild animals. This exhibition only focusing on bears, helps us to discover how this men were creative and tries to explain the strong links they had with bear that represents for them, in the same time, fear and food.  St-Germain-en Laye, 78-Les Yvelines Musée d’Archeologie Nationale www.musee-archeologienationale.fr

poster of Fantin Latour exhibition

Fantin Latour

Until February 12: “Fantin-Latour, the sensitive”

A large retrospective of the work of Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) from his early works, auto-portraits and paintings of his two sisters, till the still-life paintings and group portraits that made him famous. “Licentious” photos from his own collection, some of them made by the artist himself, show a secret aspect of Fantin-Latour’s character. Paris, Musée du Luxembourg    www.museeduluxembourg.fr

Until February 20: “The Chtchoukine Collection”

Serguei Chtchoukine was surely the greatest Russian collector, and patron of European Modern Art. For the first time since his collection was seized and scattered by the 1917 Russian revolution, 130 main pieces are gathered together to be present to the public. From Van Gogh to Degas, from Renoir to Courbet, all main masters were part of this collection that includes numerous works by Matisse and Picasso. Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton   www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr

poster for Bernard Buffet exhibition

Bernard Buffet

Until February 26: “Bernard Buffet, retrospective”

This large exhibition is paying tribute to Bernard Buffet known throughout the world as a major artist of the 20th Century. In Japan, an entire museum is dedicated to his works whereas in France, his own country, he was considered as a sort of second-class painter, an “easy” painter. Paris,                 Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris    www.mam.paris.fr

Until March 5: “Frederic Bazille, the Youth of Impressionism”

Frederic Bazille who died at the age of 28 during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, was a young painter, a close friend of Monet and Renoir, who should have been a called a master. Only 60 of his works have been found, but they show how, in less than a few years, he greatly took part in the birth of Impressionism. Paris, Musée d’Orsay     www.musee-orsay.fr

Until March 27: “Kollektia! Contemporary Art in USSR and Russia, 1950-2000”

poster for Eclectique

The Eclectic exhibition

This exhibition unveils the extraordinary donation of over 250 Soviet and Russian contemporary art works offered to the Centre Pompidou by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, private collectors and artists. These works show a large panorama of the creativity of Russian artists in the second half of the 20th century. Paris, Centre Pompidou   www.centrepompidou.fr

Until April 2: “Eclectic, a collection made in the XXI century”

Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière is a wealthy art-lover, and in the last ten years, he created a short but fabulous collection of ancient masterpieces of African Art that he mixed with a few antique or contemporary pieces. This collection, a sort of Ideal Collection, shows the humanist vision of a very atypical collector. Paris, Quai Branly Museum   www.quaibranly.fr

Until April 24: “Cy Twombly”

The first ever retrospective of the work of the American artist Cy Twombly, presenting in chronological order about 140 paintings, sculptures, photos and drawings which show the richness of the work of an artist who throughout his life succeeded in mixing creation and travel. Paris, Centre Pompidou   www.centrepompidou.fr





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