Letter from France: May 2013
Until June 30: The School of Shanghai (1840-1920)
During the 19th Century, armed conflicts shook the Qing Dynasty so hard that many artists, painters and calligraphers chose to flee to Shanghai where, under the protection of Western armies, they could develop their art. The combination of traditional Chinese visual art with freedom of drawing and the large use of colour borrowed from the West, opened the door to a new, revitalised style which is presented in this remarkable exhibition that includes numerous outstanding loans from the Shangai Museum.
Paris, Musée Cernuschi
Until July 2: Signac, the Colours of water
For the 150th anniversary of Paul Signac’s birth, the Museum of Impressionism in Giverny provides an exhibition of about 130 paintings by Signac. All his life, Paul Signac was inspired by water scenes, creating new ‘Impressionist’ techniques including the use of small touches of raw colour. This exhibition is the first of the six main exhibitions of the second Normandy Impressionism Festival.
Giverny, Eure-27, Musée des Impressionismes
Until July 13: Dalou, Sculptor of the Republique
Jules Dalou was a master sculptor of his time as was Rodin, Carpeaux and Rude. Exiled for nnine years for political reasons in London, where he achieved fame, he came back to Paris in 1879 and then became famous for his public monumental sculptures like the ‘Triomphe de la République’ still to be found at the place de la Nation. The exhibition is a large panorama of the creative spirit of Jules Dalou, with about 300 pieces to be viewed.
Paris, Musée du Petit Palais
Until July 13: Slovenian Impressionists in their time, 1890-1920
The Petit Palais Museum presents an overview of Slovenian artists, mainly painters and sculptors, who were also – in their time – the spearhead of the new national feeling of the population of, what was then, part of the Austrian Empire. A peaceful peasantry’s scene, the ‘Sower’ by Ivan Grohar began immediately to symbolise the symbol of this emergent Slovenian spirit.
Paris, Musée du Petit Palais
Until July 14: Beloved Hair. Trophies and Trifles
An exhibition dedicated to all aspects of hair as an instrument of beauty and seduction as well as a symbol of power. Hair is also displayed as an object of remembrance of beloved ones and as a symbol of time passing and death. A large section shows us how, in some non-European societies that practised trophy taking and head hunting, hair was a symbol of energy and power, retaining the aura of his owner.
Paris, Musée du Quai Branly
Until July 14: Napoléon and the Europe
Only in charge for 15 years, Napoleon had a huge impact on the world. His dream was to rule the whole of Europe by invading countries but, in doing so, he created new institutions and reformed the laws. The exhibition chronologically presents the two faces of Napoléon’s impact on Europe, his acts to realise his vision of Europe and the reactions, positive or violent, from peoples and foreign powers. Napoléon’s legacy was important not only to France, but also to Europe.
Paris, Musée de l’Armée (Hôtel National des Invalides)
Until July 17: Philippines, Archipelago of Exchanges
First European exhibition dedicated to the vast Archipelago of more than 1700 islands. All the items presented belong to the pre-colonial period. Due to the geographical location and the vastness of the Philippines, visitors are invited to compare the artworks of the northern islands’ populations who lived in the hinterland and those produced all along the coasts where the influence of maritime contacts is highly visible.
Paris, Musée du Quai Branly
Until July 21: Dreams of Venice
A contemporary and modern art exhibition hosted by the Institut Magrez in one of its castle, the Château Labottière in Bordeaux. A modern exhibition that gathers and shows the visions of 40 artists dreaming about Venice. The photos, paintings, sculptures, videos and installations displayed try to answer the eternal question: why Venice?
Bordeaux, Gironde – 33, Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Châreau Labottière
Until July 21: Chagall, between War and Peace
The life of Chagall was sliced between the Russian revolution, exile, two World Wars and these exhibitions show that interference with his painting. Despite these terrible periods, from which the Chagall’s works are firstly presented, the artist’s happiness shines in the second
section of the exhibition.
Paris, Musée du Luxembourg
Until July 22: Eugène Boudin
For the first time in 114 years, Paris showcases the works of Eugène Boudin, the first of the pre- impressionist painters, who was called ‘king of skies’ by Corot himself and who was considered by Monet as his master in art. He travelled all along European seasides searching for the best techniques to magnify the way he saw things so, in his watercolours and pastels, light and it’s relection in the sky and over the sea dominate his interpretation
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André
Until July 28: ‘Murano-Fragile’, Glass Art-Works from Renaissance to 21st Century
This unique exhibition chronicles over 600 years of the art of glass-making that was born on the small, charming Venetian island of Murano. For centuries the techniques of Murano glassmakers were kept secret on pain of death. About 200 fabulous pieces belonging to the Medici’s time, as well as Art Déco and contemporary periods are displayed offering a large overview of the technical and stylistic evolutions in the glass history of Murano.
Paris, Musée Maillol
Until July 30: Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawings at Centre Pompidou-Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz presents a retrospective, unprecedented in Europe, of the American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt. (1928-2007.) 33 black and white wall drawings by LeWitt were recently sited in the Centre Pompidou-Metz by students of art and architecture.
Metz, Moselle-57, Centre Pompidou-Metz.
Until August 4: The Autumn of Renaissance, from Archimboldo to Caravage
While the town of Nancy and its surroundings highlight their Renaissance past, the Nancy Fine Arts museum is offering an international retrospective of a short period of the Renaissance from 1570 to 1610. It was in Europe a time of creativity and troubles, and Nancy was at the crossroad of all these changes, being ideally situated halfway between Flanders and Italy.
Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle – 54, Musée des Beaux Arts
Until August 4: Felix Ziem ‘I dreamed Beauty’, paintings and watercolours
Tireless traveller, Felix Ziem was one of the most famous watercolour painters of the 19th Century. The exhibition calls to mind all his journeys from Venice to the far east of Russia as well as the three places where he liked to stay, Barbizon, the Butte Montmartre and Marseille-Martigues.
Paris, Musée du Petit Palais
http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/enUntil August 18:Keith Haring ‘The Political Line’
All his life (1958-1990) Keith Haring tried to produce understandable and popular artworks that send political messages to everyone. For this large exhibition, the great works including giant sculptures and large tarpaulins are presented separately at the Galerie 104, while the smaller sizes are displayed at the Museum of Modern Art.
Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne and Galerie 104
Until September 16: Red and Gold at the Museum Jean Cocteau in Menton, Alpes Maritimes
Changing annually so that as many of Cocteau’s works as possible can be seen in the museum, the new exhibition theme is ‘Red and Gold’, a timeliness to discover how Cocteau worked in creating a theatre play. See some of his greatest interpreters like actors, Jean Marais, Edith Piaf and Jeanne Moreau.
Menton, Alpes Maritimes-06, Musée Jean Cocteau
Until September 22: Impressions Dior
During this spring and summer 2013, the Christian Dior Museum of Granville presents Impressions Dior, an exhibition which will assert the permanent links that have been weaving the Maison Dior to the impressionism art movement, from Monsieur Dior’s first creations in 1947 to those imagined nowadays by Raf Simons. Thanks to an exceptional array of loans granted among others by the collections of the Orsay and Marmottan Museums in Paris, the Christian Dior Museum establishes a dialogue between more than 70 dresses with a selection of masterpieces from impressionist painters themselves, ranging from Monet to Degas, Renoir to Berthe Morisot.
Granville, Calvados-14, Musée Christian Dior
Until September 29: A Summer at the Water’s Edge, Leisure and Impressionism
Around eighty paintings representing individuals experiencing new recreational activities connected with water through the vision of Impressionist painters are displayed in this exceptional exhibition that included works by Boudin, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gauguin, Seurat, Maurice Denis and a few more. The nascent of these new activities, bathing, sailing, boating or swimming was a great source of inspiration for impressionists who could introduce human figures into the landscape.
Caen, Cavados-14, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen
Until September 29: Pissaro and the Ports – Rouen, Dieppe, Le Havre
Pissaro was the first of the impressionists to produce a series of painting of ports mainly from Normandy including the same scene seen at different times of the day. The rapid development of ports during the nineteenth century fascinated the impressionists of whom many works are presented in parallel with those belonging to Pizzaro. Furthermore the Museum displays a large number of works by Boudin in the permanent collection on the second floor.
Le Havre, Seine-Maritime-76, Musee d’Art Moderne André Malraux (MUMA)
Until September 30: Dazzling Reflections, 100 Impressionist Masterpieces
More than 100 works from around the world including 16 Sisleys and 40 Monets as well as a special collection of photographs by Le Gray or Marville shows the importance of the theme of reflections on water, in their artistic researches to represent all the ephemeral aspects of a changing nature.
Rouen, Seine Maritime-76, Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen
Until October 20: Gardens’ International Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire
Coming from as far as China, Russia, Japan and Algeria about 20 new gardens were created by artists, designers, landscapers and gardeners for the 22d edition of the Festival. This year’s theme is ‘gardens of sensations’, and the visitors will enter into a fairy tale’s world of colours, smells, sounds and silences, and should not forget to visit the Castle and the Park who are also located inside the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Until November 10: 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. There are also a few paintings of important events during which these vehicles were used.
Arras, Pas-de-Calais – 59, Musée-Abbaye St Vaast
Until December 31: Marseille-Provence, 2013 European Cultural Capital
As European Cultural Capital, Marseille presents the first artistic events of a long series hosted not only by Marseille but also by Aix-en-Provence – the old city well known for its beautiful buildings and for the sweetness of its art-de-vivre. Hundreds of cultural and artistic events, theatre, street arts, music, exhibitions, are scheduled all along the year, including the exceptional creation of a new French national museum, the MUCEM, of which the opening date is June 7.
NEW AND PERMANENT
Museum Louvre-Lens, the new extension of the Louvre Museum in Lens
Opened in December 2012, the Louvre-Lens Museum in the city of Lens in the North of France presents in its spectacular glass building a regular turnover of masterpieces in a non-traditional way, mixing artworks from different departments of the Parisian Louvre Museum. The ‘Galerie du Temps’ with its 3,000 square metres showcases more than 200 masterpieces from antiquity to the ‘Temps Modernes’ in a panoramic and chronological vision of art through ages. Even the underground storerooms and preservation studios will be open to visitors. Nestled in 50 acres of green park and closed to the railway station where TGV easily links Lens to Belgium, Germany and UK.
Lens, Pas de Calais-62
Museum Jean Cocteau-Collection Severin Wunderman, in Menton, Alpes Maritimes
The largest in the world and a must-see collection of the works of Jean Cocteau. The pieces of work were given to the town of Menton by a private collector, Severin Wunderman. Every year the third of the works displayed goes back to the store-rooms, and new ones are presented to public.
Menton, Alpes Maritimes-06, Musée Jean Cocteau
Louvre Museum, New Islamic Arts Department
Last September, the Louvre Museum opened its new area dedicated to art in Islam. The former Visconti courtyard is now covered by a huge sail shaped glass roof allowing the museum to present, in one place, 3,000 major Islam art works. This permanent space includes the discovery of an important number of Islamic pieces of art coming from the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Art de l’Islam.
Alésia MuseoParc, Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte d’Or
Right in the centre of the battlefield of Alesia that saw the final battle of the Gallic Wars with Julius Caesar’s victory against Vercingetorix, stands the new circular building of the Alesia MuseoParc. Inside, you’ll find lots of interactive explanations, a realistic and astonishing movie of the battle on a seven metre screen, and outside, an amazing life-size reconstruction of the Caesar double fortifications to help visitors to understand one of the biggest battles of Roman times.
Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte-d’Or-21, MuséoParc d’Alésia
Museum d’Ennery, Paris
Mrs Clemence d’Ennery donated to France in 1894 her fabulous collection of more than 7,000 Chinese and Japanese artworks under strict conditions, one of which was that all of the collection should be exhibited inside her own house which she had designed as a personal orientalist museum. Closed for years for security reasons, the museum recently reopened and provides a look back into a time when the eruption of Far East Asian Art influenced European collectors and artists. (Note: booking in advance is mandatory)
Paris, Musée d’Ennery
http://www.guimet.fr/fr/musee-dennery/informations-pratiquesMuseum Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moser, Alsace
In the small village where, over a period of 90 years, René Lalique produced a large part of his work, hundreds of his works are displayed. They highlight his incredible genius not only as probably one of the best glass artists of all time but his work as a jeweller. This very modern museum, hidden on the flank of a small green valley, is a perfect showcase for Lalique’s jewels, perfume bottles, tableware, vases, lights, crystal and drawings.
Wingen-sur Moser, Bas Rhin-67, Alsace, Musée Lalique
Museum Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi, Tarn
Inside the fabulous Palais de la Berbie, the former palace of Bishops of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest collection of pieces of art by Toulouse-Lautrec. It is now being displayed in a new scenography offering a new reading of each facet of the artist’s work, including his works as a youth as well as portraits of Montmartre people and scenes from the world of brothel.
Albi, Tarn-81, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
Images © Frederic de Poligny,