Letter from France: May 2012
Whether you’re a novice or seasoned traveller, France will steal your heart. Each month, Frederic – our French correspondent – gives us the low-down on what to see and do across the channel
Special one day event
On French National Day, The Palace of Versailles, will host a unique Republican picnic in its park on the banks of the Grand Canal. Don’t forget the ‘white’ dress code. Entrance to the park is through the Queen’s gate and is free.
Versailles, Les Yvelines-78, Château de Versailles
Until June 10: Henri-Edmond Cross and the neo-impressionism
This presentation of the masterpieces of Henri-Edmond Cross, one of the founders of the neo-impressionism movement with Seurat and Signac, is a tribute to the painter’s work on natural light in Provence, and to its influence on Matisse and the Fauvists.
Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Le Nord-59, Musée Matisse.
Until June 10: The Mayan Jade Masks
Seven tombs of Mayan dignitaries and almost all incredible jade masks already found and many others pieces like amazing carved stones and various potteries, are exposed for the first time out of Mexico, highlighting the main last Mexican archaeological discoveries.
Paris, Pinacothèque de Paris.
Until June 11: Debussy, the Music and the Arts
Debussy, the creative musician, all his entire life was inspired by various artists of his time as Degas, Renoir, Camille Claudel, Gide or Valery. An exhibition to present the links between Debussy and his friends through paintings, letters, photographs and books.
Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie
Until June 18: Matisse
The Centre Pompidou presents around 60 works of Matisse displayed in pairs or in short series. The aim is to investigate a very special aspect of the artist’s work who tried all his life long to produce simultaneously the same motif by different techniques.
Paris, Centre Pompidou.
Until June 25: Saint Anne, Leonardo da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece
Working for more than 20 years on his painting “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne”, Leonardo da Vinci left us not only many preparatory drawings, sketches and studies that are presented there, but also a considerable artistic inheritance that influenced the art from his time to nowadays artists like Degas, Max Ernst or Eugene Delacroix.
Paris, Musée du Louvre.
Until June 25: Arles, Record of the Rhône, 20 years of underwater excavations
A major archeological event, the bust of Caesar found underwater in 2007 in Arles is shown together with the only other identified statue identified as Julius Caesar from the Museo di Antichi in Turin. Numerous rare Roman artefacts are on display including statues, bronzes, jewels, amphorae, lamps… A jump of two thousand years in the past to the Roman time in Provence.
Paris, Musée du Louvre.
Until July 1: Degas and the Nude
An Exhibition devoted to Edgar Degas’ Nudes. Degas the famous painter of dancers and horses, worked throughout his life on nudes using all techniques from sculpture, painting, drawing and finally the most important feature of his work, his pastels, a technique in which he is forever, the great master.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay.
Until July 8: La berline de Napoleon, the Mystery of Waterloo loot
The result of an incredible treasure hunt to bring together all the personal belongings of Emperor Napoleon, that have been looted on the night of Waterloo defeat, and which were scattered through Europe where they disappeared until recently. That includes all the personal medals of the Emperor, hidden in the cellars of the Moscow Historic Museum until 2000.
Paris, Musée de la Légion d’honneur.
Until July 15: Cima de Conegliano: a Master of the Venetian Renaissance
As a master Venetian painter, he was famous already in his time, late 15th and early 16th century, for his perfection in depicting human faces and expressions, as well as in wide-open landscapes with a great accuracy in details and a perfect light. He became a great master in a new technique, oil painting.
Paris, Musée du Luxembourg.
Until July 15: Artemisia
In the early 17th century Artemisia Gentileschi was one of very few women-painters, and was the only one who received celebrity and glory whilst she lived. Thus she was able to live from her own art. This exhibition is a tribute to the perfection of her works and also to the strong willpower she had in a world where women were treated as second class.
Paris, Musée Maillol.
Until July 15: Lacquer Dreams, The Japan of Shibata Zeshin
Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891) the renowned master in laquerware, lived at the junction of Edo Period and Meiji Period, and in this time of growing modernity, he created and developed new lacquer techniques that fitted with the extreme sensibility and delicacy of his drawing.
Paris, Musée Cernushi
Until July 23: The Twilight of the Pharaons, Masterpieces of the last Egyptian Dynasties
The best masterpieces from Pharaonic Egypt during ten centuries until the last dynasty, the Ptolemaic’s one, display inside the fabulous setting of the town house sheltering the Jacquemart-André Museum.
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André.
Until July 30: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Bivouac
An illustration of the current state of the work of the two designers, who last September appeared at the London Design Festival, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Metz, Moselle-57, Centre Pompidou-Metz.
Until July 30: Histoire de l’Atelier Brancusi
A reconstitution of the Paris workshop where Brancusi, a famous modern sculptor lived and worked.
Paris, Centre Pompidou.
Until August 19: Victor Hugo, Arcs-en-Ciel au Noir (Dark Side of Rainbows)
In the Parisian Victor Hugo’s house, an exhibition of 80 black and white drawings chosen by Annie Le Brun from the unique collection of drawings by Victor Hugo himself. Some of them are presented to public for the first time.
Paris, Maison de Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo’s House in Paris)
Until October 21: Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, International Garden Festival
This year the theme of the 28th edition of the International Garden Festival is ‘Gardens of Delight, Gardens of Delirium’. Twenty-one amazing projects selected by the jury offer a wide overview of horticultural landscapes creation by designers from all over the world. A visit of the castle itself, is not to be missed.
Loire-et-Cher 41, Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Until 10 November 2013: Roulez Carosses!
A loan from the Palace of Versailles, to the museum of St Vaast Abbey in Arras, shows for the first time the best pieces of French royal and imperial horse-drawn carriages along with numerous artefacts belonging to their use, plus a few paintings of important events during which they were used.
Arras, Pas-de-Calais – 59, Musée-Abbaye St Vaast,
From June 8 to March 3 (2013): Rodin, the Flesh and the Marble
Partially in renovation, the Rodin’s museum exhibits 50 marble sculptures by Rodin, highlighting the extreme quality of the sculptor’s work, especially the Rodin’s virtuosity to give life to marble bodies.
Paris, Musée Rodin
New and permanent
Museum Jean Cocteau-Collection Severin Wunderman, in Menton, Alpes Maritimes
The largest in the world and a must-to-see collection of the works of Jean Cocteau, given to the town of Menton, by the private collector Severin Wunderman.
Menton, Alpes Maritimes-06, Musée Jean Cocteau.
Alésia MuseoParc, Alise-Sainte -Reine, Côte d’Or
Right in the center of the battlefield of Alesia that saw the final battle of Gauls’ War with Julius Caesar’s victory against Vercingetorix, stands the new circular building of the Alesia MuseoParc. Inside, lots of interactive explanations, a realistic and astonishing movie of the battle on a seven meters screen, and outside, an amazing life-size reconstruction of the Caesar double fortifications, help visitors to understand one of the biggest battle of Roman times.
Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte-d’Or-21, MuséoParc d’Alésia.
Museum d’Ennery, Paris
Mrs Clemence d’Ennery offered to France in 1894 her fabulous collection of more than 7.000 Chinese and Japanese artworks under strict conditions including presentation of all these pieces inside her own house that she had designed as a personal orientalist museum. Closed for years for security reasons, the museum recently reopened offering to jump back to the time when the irruption of Far East Asian Art influenced European collectors and artists. (Important notice: reservation is mandatory)
Paris, Musée d’Ennery.
Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi, Tarn
Inside the fabulous Palais de la Berbie, the former palace of Bishops of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage, the hugest collection of pieces of art by Toulouse-Lautrec is now displayed in a new scenography offering a new reading of each facet of the artist’s work, including youth works as well as portraits of Montmartre people and scenes from the world of brothel.
Albi, Tarn-81, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec