Category Archives: museums

Picasso and the Masters # 2 : in Paris Louvre, Picasso / Delacroix : Femmes d’Alger

There are always plenty of good reasons to pay a visit to Paris Louvre. Nowadays, besides the beautiful exhibition Mantegna 1431-1506 (see previous post, and do make a reservation), with a ticket for permanent collections, you can see Delacroix‘s Femmes d’Alger painting and Picasso‘s studies about it. It is a supplement to the large Picasso and the Masters exhibition at Grand-Palais. As it seems impossible to get a reservation less than ten days ahead for it, do go and visit this precise presentation of the same theme.

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It is located on the first floor of the Denon part of the museum. You go through ancient scuplture rooms, to the rooms dedicated to  French paintings.

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Room 76 shows large paintings, many of them by Delacroix, like La mort de Sardanapale, 1850 :

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Or Scène des massacres de Scio, 1824 :

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And between these two, a large gap where Femmes d’Alger (1834) usually stand.

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You’ll find them in the next room, 77, where visitors are more crowded (though it nothing compared to Grand-Palais).

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Close to Femmes d’Alger, eight of the fifteen variations painted by Picasso from 1954 Febuary 14 to 1955 December 13 inspired by Delacroix‘s masterpiece.

Like this Etude A,1954 December 15:

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This series also includes some ink sketches, like this one, dated 1954 December 28 :

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It is very interesting and you can get close enough to study any of the paintings, and look at each several times if you wish to compare and try to get the artist’s point.

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It is a great preparation to the main exhibition, and you can choose to visit this tiny exhibition and another part of the museum you’re interested in at the same time without feeling overwhelmed.

Picasso / Delacroix : Femmes d’Alger Louvre Museum Aile Denon, First Floor Room 77. Up to February 2, open everyday  except Tuesday  9 to 18, up to 22 on Wednesday and Friday. Ticket € 9. Musée du Louvre, Metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(0)1 40 20 53 17

More information on http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp

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Pollock and Chamanism, a thrilling exhibition at Paris Pinacothèque

Those who, like myself, mostly knew Jackson Pollock for his large scale dripping paintings will be amazed by this Paris Pinacothèque exhibition.

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As its title says, it’s a thematic exhibition. Don’t get upset by the large part of text in the first room.

seascapeSeascape 1934, Santa Fe Art Foundation, 30,4cm x 40,6cm.

equineEquine Series IV , 1944, Private Collection

The first element of surprise comes from Pollock‘s small scale figurative works.

maskMask 1941 New York MOMA

The exhibition’s choices also point out the influence of Picasso and surrealism, and after visiting it, you’ll be convinced of the importance of American Indien rites and culture in Pollock’s evolution.

masque-de-fertilite Fertility Mask , Paris, Private Collection

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Birth 1938/1941 London Tate Gallery

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Chaman’s Atlati, Steven Michaan  collection.

It also shows many beautiful Amerindian and Eskimo works.

frontal-fauconForehead Ornament with falcon’s head, Steven Michaan Collection.

Several beautiful pieces by André Masson are related to Jackson Pollock‘s work.

masson-massacreAndré Masson , Massacre, 1931, Paris Private Collection.

the-flameJackson Pollock, the Flame, 1934, Paris Private Collection.

And the exhibition ends just at the beginning of the Pollock we all know, but still on small scale.

untitledUntitled, 1949, Miami Private Collection, 68,5 cm x 30,5 cm.

I found it the most interesting and unexpected exhibition among the rich artisitic program we have in Paris this fall.

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Pollock et le Chamanisme, up to February 15, Pinacothèque de Paris, 28 place de la Madeleine, 75008, Metro Madeleine, tel 33(0)1 42 68 02 01, open everyday 10.30 to 18, up to 21 every first Wednesday of the month. Price €9. Possibility of combined ticket for the other exhibition dedicated to Georges Rouault.

More information on http://www.pinacotheque.com/

From Miro to Warhol, the Berardo collection in Paris Musée du Luxembourg.

Up to February 22, Paris Musée du Luxembourg shows a selection of the Berardo Collection.

The  billboard shows a reproduction of Tom Wesselmann‘s  Great American Nude (1963), and this charming exhibition shows 76 modern art pieces of the 862 collected by Jose Bernardo. It reminds you that you should take trip to Lisbon and pay a visit to the Belem Cultural Center to see the whole Berardo Collection.

But for the present, it’s nice to walk through this accurate selection of abstract, surrealist, pop art works, from the twenties to the sixties.

Joan Miro, l’Homme à la Bougie,(Man with a candle) 1925

Max Ernst, Coquilles Fleuries (shells in blossom) 1929

Victor Brauner, le Chevalier de glace (the Ice Knight) 1938

Lourdes Castro, Ombre projetée de Claudine Bury, 1964

Andy Warhol, Ten-Foot Flowers, 1967

De Miro à Warhol, la collection Berardo à Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, 19 rue de Vaugirard 75006 Paris, Metro Saint-Sulpice, up to February 22, everyday 10.30 to 19, up to 22 on Monday, Friday, Saturday. Tel 33(0)1 44 13 17 64. Price €11.

More information and reservation on : http://www.museeduluxembourg.fr/

Though it’s more comfortable to have a reservation than to stand in line under the rain, you may try going in at noon or in the evening (around 19) on the days when the museum opens late.


Police Raid at Paris FIAC

Last October 23 to 26, as every year, FIAC (Contemporary Art International Fair) took place under Paris Grand Palais glass roof and in Louvre Cour Carrée. But this last edition was the theater of an unexpected performance : a police raid.

The Parisian Gallery Rabouan Moussion was showing photos and videos of performances by the russian artist Oleg Kulik. On October 28, a bunch of policemen in plain clothes came in and took away some photos, arguing that they were an offense to mankind dignity and even had a zoophilic character. The instigators of this moral cruisade remain unknown.

One of Oleg Kulik‘s major topics deals with the notion of mankind, man and animal relationship and situation.

The Mad Dog , performed by Oleg Kulik.

I don’t intend to discuss here the provocative quality of this artist’s work, but if social order was damaged at the FIAC, which is not exactly a nursery, I suggest that our benevolent state authorities burn down all mythologic texts in public libraries, and withdraw from public gardens and museums walls the representations inspired by this zoophilic legends.

I have some propositions :

Pan teaching flute (and God knows what else) to a very young Daphnis. A marble Roman copy of a Greek sculpture ( Heliodore III century B.C.), found in Pompei and exhibited in Naples National Acheological Museum.

Io and Zeus (half bull, half cloud) by Il Coreggio, 1530, are giving a terrible example ( though very hard to imitate) in Wien Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemälde Galerie.

Leda and the Swann,   Veronese workshop, circa 1560, Fesch Museum, Ajaccio.

Warning : swanns usually have a very bad temper and bite hard.

Le Minotaure et sa Femme (1937) as well as the Faune blessé (1939) by Pablo Picasso are part of the exhibition Picasso et les Maîtres in Paris Grand Palais, which runs up to February 2, and if the vice police squad does nothing about it, millions of people will have look at these.

If you wish to see Oleg Kulik‘s censored photos, go to http://www.photo.fr/blog/31-Censure-a-la-FIAC-2008-Les-photos-interdites-de-Oleg-Kulik.html

And if you’re interested in uncorrect contemporary art, you may go to http://www.rabouan-moussion.com/ or pay a visit to the gallery, 121 rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris, metro Saint-Paul.

Picasso and the Masters reign over Paris #1

Here is the blockbuster of all exhibitions of this fall in Paris: Picasso and the Masters at Grand-Palais, and if you ask for more, Picasso/Manet : le déjeuner sur l’herbe at Musée d’Orsay, and Picasso/Delacroix: Femmes d’Alger at the Louvre.

Long before it started, it was mentioned in most French medias : ” It’s so important, it’s so expensive, it’s been so difficult to achieve, it’s a major event…”

I just visited the main course of the menu, at Grand-Palais, so this will be my first contribution on the subject.

We have a proverb, in France, which came to my mind when I left the museum. It says : Qui trop embrasse mal étreint (” who embraces too much grasps poorly”), and has a double meaning :(” he who kisses too much is a poor lover”). There is a playful, witty aspect in Picasso’s work that is completely lost in this solemn presentation.

Still, this exhibition issue and tittle could have been given by Picasso himself.

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Baigneuse assise dans un paysage, dite Eurydice (1895/1900) Paris, Musée Picasso.

Pablo Picasso, Grande Baigneuse (1931) Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie.

Vincent Van Gogh , l’Arlésienne (Madame Ginoux) 1888, Paris Musée d’Orsay

Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Lee Miller en Arlésienne (1937) Paris Musée Picasso

One of the most important and well known work of analysis, dissection, transformation achieved by Picasso is the serie of 44 Ménines d’après Vélasquez painted in 1957 between August 17 and December 30.

Here was a tough issue : The Ménines stay in Madrid Prado Museum, and don’t travel : they’re too large (318cmx276cm), too old (1656), and too precious. The chosen solution hardly solves the problem. A small diapositive of the Ménines by Velasquez is hanging close to the ceiling in the corner of the room where some of the actual Ménines by Picasso are exhibited. This device gives no idea of Picasso‘s confrontation with Velasquez work.

Diego Velasquez, la famille de Philippe IV, dit les Ménines(1656) Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, versus les Ménines d’après Vélasquez by Pablo Picasso (septembre 1957) Barcelona, Museu Picasso, as shown in the exhibition catalog.

Picasso facing Poussin and David is more convincingly exhibited, for the ancient Masters paintings stay in France.

Nicolas Poussin, L’enlèvement des Sabines (1637/1638) Paris, Musée du Louvre.

Pablo Picasso, L’enlèvement des Sabines(1962) Paris Centre Pompidou

Another thing puzzled me, each room is dedicated to a theme (self-portrait, nude, still-life…) and mixes Picasso paintings of all periods, and besides, some links pointed between his work and earlier examples are somewhat irrelevant.

There are actually many famous masterpieces from museums abroad in this large exhibition, and it’s always great to have the opportunity to look at them. So, in spite of my restrictions, I don’t want you to think that it is not worth visiting – and besides, you might completely disagree with me. Do make a reservation, because it’s very popular, and if you don’t, you might have to stand in line for hours before getting in.

Picasso et les Maîtres, Galeries Nationales du Grand  Palais, Metro Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau everyday except Tuesday 10 to 22, up to 20 on Thursday. Up to February 2 (entrance square Jean Perrin).

More information, virtual visit on http://www.rmn.fr/Exposition-Picasso-et-les-Maitre

you can make a reservation on : www.fnac.comwww.digitick.com, www.ticketnet.fr

Andrea Mantegna’s paintings in Paris Musée du Louvre

There are many reasons to pay a visit to Paris Musée du Louvre, and this fall provides a very special one : Mantegna 1431 – 1506.  The last exhibition dedicated to this star painter of Italian Renaissance took place in London in 1992, so this one is a real event.

Don’t get fooled by the apparent quietness in the lobby, people gather under the Sully aisle esclator, you have to stand in line for a while and it’s a bit crowdy inside, so I would suggest you to come early morning, or for nocturnes, or to make a reservation.

But you should’not miss this. For the first time – at least for decades- the exibition shows most of Mantegna’s remaining works, gathered from museums all around the world.

This Saint Marc leaning on a “trompe-l’oeil” balcony comes from Städelesches Kunsshalle in Frankfurt am Main, and Mantegna painted it in Padoue in 1450, when he was about nineteen.

This wonderful Saint Jérôme in the Wilderness comes from San Paolo Museum of Art and was painted in the same years.

The exhibition follows a chronological path, pointing the artist’s influences, his followers and the contemporary painters he knew, in the first place Giovanni Bellinni, who was also his step-brother.  It refreshens our perception of the cultural and political exchanges and habits in European countries during the fifteenth century. Mantegna‘s painting turned the gothic page and opened the Quattrocento, which partly explains why he was so famous in his time.

Christ in the olive trees garden, painted in 1455, comes from London National Gallery.

This gathering makes clear some of the artist’s major topics, how he used the frame, trompe l’oeil effects, the underneath point of view, perspective and various scales, hyper realistic details and fantasmatic visions, which explains why his work interested or inspired many later artists, and is still fascinating.

The exhibition is also made for children. Next to some pictures, cardboards invite them to focus on some detail, to look for a rider hidden in a cloud, for animals, for what’s going on in the background…  ..

We can regret that the absence of the Dead Christ, who stayed hanged on a wall of Milan‘s Brera Pinacotheca, but fortunately Madrid Prado Museum has let go this fascinating Death of the Virgin (1461), which actually represents a most beautifully staged portrait of the city of Mantoue (the city of his new sponsor)


This version of Saint Sebastien (1470) comes from Wien Kunsthistoriches Museum.

And this theatrical Judith and Holopherne (1495) comes from Washington National Gallery of Art.

But the Madona of Victory (circa 1596) is a resident of Paris Musée du Louvre.

His engravings, sketches…are fascinating too, and above all  the frescoes that could not be moved, so that we’ll have to go to Italy to see what’s left of them – but who would complain about this ?

Meanwhile, this Paris exhibition is a must, and a delight

Mantegna 1431 – 1506, Musée du Louvre, aile Sully (enter under the pyramid) metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(0)1 40 20 53 17, open everyday except Tuesday 9 to 18, Wednesday and Friday up to 22. Up to January 5. Entrance €9,50  (€13, or €11 at night, if you wish to visit some other part of the museum, but then, take a break, it’s a a very rich exhibition and you don’t want to look at something else right away ).

To buy your tickets previously you may go on : http://ticketnet.com/shop/fr/module.asp?id=34

or : http://www.ticketweb.com/

or: http://www.fnacspectacles.com/

More information on : http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp

Paris Autumn Festival starting September 13 at “La Maison Rouge”

Beginning next week-end, on September 13, Paris Autumn Festival offers up to december 21  a selection of all kinds of modern artistics productions to be seen in Paris.

It starts at La Maison Rouge, one of the Paris foundations dedicated to modern plastic arts, located next to Paris Arsenal Harbour, built in an old factory.

It’s first exhibition on this fall shows an untitled installation by Marie Cool and Fabio Balducci :

Their work is based on repetitive gestures and videos.

In a dark room, Christian Boltanski opens for us his Archives du Coeur (Heart’s files)

Both events start on Saturday September 13 from 11 to 15, and go on up to October 5, Wednesday to Sunday 11-19, up to 21 on Thursday. During next Paris Nuit Blanche (Wakeful Night), Boltanski’s exhibition will be running all night through October 4 to October 5

Next to the Maison Rouge exhibitions rooms is a bookstore dedicated to plastic arts, and usually a nice cafe, which is closed up to October 5. But during this time, instead of having a drink, you can pay a visit to Andrea Blum‘s Birdhouse Cafe.

It’s a birds house where public is staying stuck up  the aviary, looking down at birds who move freely.

La Maison Rouge, 10 boulevard de la Bastille 75012 Paris, Metro Bastille or Quai de la Rapée, tel 33(0) 1 40 01 08 81, entrance € 6,50, €4,50 for over 65, free under 13.

Festival d’Automne de Paris, information and reservation 33(0)1 53 45 17 17 (Monfay to Friday 11 to 18, Saturday 11 to 15) and on www.festival-automne.com