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Cultural Highlights – Visual and Performing Arts Coming to Paris Spring 2019

Cultural Highlights – Visual and Performing Arts Coming to Paris Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Cultural Highlights

Visual and performing arts again take center stage when planning a trip to Paris.  Along with organ concerts and musical performance at many churches, take a look at this super short list of exciting events.  They may be enough reason to start planning now.

Visual Arts

Love Oceania?

Musee du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac hosts a comprehensive exhibition on Oceania from March 12, 2019 until July 7, 2019. On the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific region, encompassing the 25,000 islands of Oceania, he introduced the Western world to Oceanic peoples and their art. From the museum’s website, “Across this vast, scattered territory in which each archipelago island and land has managed to preserve its own unique characteristics, artists nonetheless share universal questions, issues, and reflections. Featuring painstakingly sculpted canoes, jade ornaments, ritual figures, and contemporary videos and installations, Oceania reveals how tradition and ancestral memory coexist with the visionary and sometimes critical perspective that these artists have of their society and the rest of the world.”

Palais de Tokyo

Palais de Tokyo

Various exhibitions and site-specific installations fill the huge spaces here. From Julien Creuzet, Theaster Gates, Julius von Bismark, to Louis-Cyprien Rials and more. These young artists are exploring world societies norms and histories and putting it right in front through cutting edge art.  Open from noon to midnight every day except Tuesdays. Buckle up and take a look at the exhibits filling the Palais de Tokyo.

Calder-Picasso

Calder-Picasso

“Calder-Picasso” is on view from February 19, 2019, until August 25, 2019, at the National Picasso Museum Paris (Musée National Picasso-Paris).  This exhibition will be a rare chance to see together approximately 150 works by these two 20th century masters. Negative space or the void is the focus of the show. Should be an interesting mash-up.

The Orient of the Painters, from Dream to Light

Orient of the Painters

From March 7, 2019, until July 21, 2019, the Musée Marmottan Monet mounts “The Orient of the Painters, from Dream to Light.” This show presents Orientalist paintings along with the theory that abstraction had its birth in these Orientalism paintings. (During the 19th century, the “Orient” to the painters in Europe was generally the Middle East and North African countries. The distant exotic lands had only been revealed through Napoleon’s conquests and the return of stories and trophies.) The paintings are alive with vivid color and fantastical scenes. May have to make a return trip to see this show or at least hope for a catalog.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Closed for rehanging and installation.  Reopens March 15, 2019.

Performing Arts

Opéra National de Paris – Bastille

Opera Bastille

Over at the Opéra Bastille, enjoy timeless favorites by recognized masters of opera. Or, see the experimental, Tree of Codes. What about the not too often performed, Prince Igor by Borodine? Or, Rameau’s opera-ballet, Les Indes galantes?

Palais Garnier

Opera Garnier Interior

Celebrate the 350th anniversary of Opera in Paris at the Palais Garnier on 08 May 2019. The incredible diva, Anna Netrebko, will perform along with Yusif Eyvazov. Throughout the remainder of the spring season, Mozart, Verdi, and Donizetti are on the stage, as well as many ballet performances. All are in the sumptuous red velvet and gilded surrounds of the famous opera house.

Philharmonie de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris

photo © William Beaucardet

Find a variety of concerts, chamber music, choral works and solo singing performances in the spring.  Berlioz’s Requiem, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers and even Benjamin Brittan’s War Requiem.  Where else can you hear these?

Modern Dance

Theatre National de Chaillot

Theatre National de Chaillot

Théâtre National de Chaillot offers a selection of interesting and arresting dance performances.  Just reading the titles of the works is enticing:  Some Hope for the Bastards by Canadian, Frédérick Gravel; Nederlands Dans Theater’s, Subtle Dust; Catherine Diverrès’, Blow The Bloody Doors Off!

 

Cultural Highlights of Fall and Winter 2019 in Paris

Cultural Highlights of Fall and Winter 2019 in Paris

Here Are Some Cultural Highlights Coming to Paris Soon

The upcoming fall and winter Parisian cultural season is the prime time for visitors who love visual and performing arts.  Paris is one of the cultural capitals of the world and each year it puts on a show for locals and visitors.  There is no need to understand French to enjoy paintings and listen to music.  However, drama can be a little daunting.  But, if you love to attend plays, by all means, enjoy the scenery and the acting.

Along with the art being exhibited and performed, the buildings housing these shows and performances are worth exploring and admiring in their own right.  The cultural opportunities in Paris are pretty much endless.  But, here are a few highlights from the upcoming fall and winter Parisian cultural season.

Visual Arts

National Picasso Museum Paris (Musée National Picasso-Paris)

Picasso Masterpieces! is a new exhibit in the newly re-opened museum.  Out of his extraordinarily prolific career, the museum investigates what it means to be a masterpiece.  Some of the pieces are exhibited for the first time in Paris.

Musée d’Orsay

 

Picasso. Blue and Rose.  In collaboration with the Picasso Museum, the Musée d’Orsay is exhibiting paintings, sculptures and drawings in a show of his work from 1900-1906.  The works are arranged showing the artist’s development into the blue and rose periods.  Extraordinary works from when Pablo Picasso was very young.

Orsay through the Eyes of Julian Schnabel.  For its first show of contemporary art, the Musée d’Orsay chose Julian Schnabel to interpret the collection.  The filmmaker and painter includes works from the museum’s collection and also presents some of his own paintings.

Grand Palais

Photo by Ron Clausen

Magnificent Venice!, Miró and Michael Jackson.  The Grand Palais is staging exhibitions this fall and winter season that should entice people with a variety of tastes.  Magnificent Venice! explores Europe and the arts in the 18th century.  While, Miró displays nearly 150 works by the surrealist Spanish master, Joan Miró.  Also, an exhibition on Michael Jackson subtitled, “On the Wall”. It explores the cultural impact of Michael Jackson.  Who is in for some MJ?

Paris Photo.  The annual international photography exhibition in the great hall of the Grand Palais.  Most noteworthy works from well-known masters as well as up and coming stars are shown by galleries from all over the world.  Get ready to be overwhelmed by photographs and see the magnificent glass ceiling.

Petit Palais

Jean Jacque Lequeu

The City of Paris’ fine art museum has a few exhibitions that may attract a more focused group of admirers.  Jean Jacques Lequeu (1757-1826) Builder of Fantasy, shows the complete collection of several hundred drawings by the artist, for the first time.  Another show features the work of the Belgian artist, Fernad Khnopff (1858-1921) The Master of Enigma.  Surprises await those who venture into the Petit Palais.

Louvre Museum

Kohei Nawa Throne

Under the pyramid in the Louvre, a contemporary art installation sure to blow you away.  Kohei Nawa’s Throne, is a monumental gilded work combing modern technology and ancient symbols.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Along with its permanent collection, visit this museum for the amazing building and shows on Zao Wou-Ki and Ron Amir.  The huge rooms are just the place for these artists who produce over-size work.  Zao Wou-Ki paints and draws huge images.  And, this collection of Amir’s large format color photos provide insight into the living conditions of refugees from Sudan and Eritrea.

Performing Arts

Opéra National de Paris

Opera Bastille

Mid-September begins the opera season in Paris.  Productions are being staged at the Opéra Basitlle and the Palais Garnier that include repertory works of Tristan und Isolde, La Traviata, and l’Elisir d’Amore.  And, new productions this fall and winter include Les Huguenots, Bérénice, Il Primo Omicidio and Les Troyens.  And, on December 30 and 31st, the Paris Opera will begin a celebration of its 350th year.  Yes, 350th!  The Paris Opera was begun by Louis XIV in 1669.

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Verdi’s La Traviata is the main opera production this fall.  And, the beautiful theater which opened in with the performance of Nijinsky’s Rite of Spring.  Imagine being there then!  Chamber Orchestra of Paris also performs in this space with a variety of scheduled appearances.  The theater also schedules vocal recitals, concert productions of operas, classic and contemporary dance and even Sunday Morning concerts!

Orchestre de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris

photo © william beaucardet

The Paris Orchestra (Orchestra de Paris) performs symphonic works in its new home, the organic and innovative Philharmonie de Paris in the Parc de la Villette.   Works by Beethoven, Britten, Berlioz and the rest of the alphabet of composers of grand music.

Palais Opera Ballet

Opera Garnier Interior

Over at the Palais Garnier, dance lovers can visit the fabled opera house which is a venue for the Paris Opera Ballet.  See Decadance, Tribute to Jerome Robbins, Cinderella and even an interesting succession of Goecke/Lidberg/Cherkaoui.  This last is a work that displays dance and theater by three very different choreographers.  No French language skills needed to enjoy the ballet.

Picasso Circus

Coinciding with Picasso. Blue and Rose and Picasso Masterpiece!, the Théâtre du Châtelet will present Picasso Circus in the Musée d’Orsay for people to learn about circus acts, meet performers and see demonstrations.

Théâtre de la Ville

Sambasô, Divine Dance is a riveting “ritual dance … performed by three generations of the Nomura family of actors who glorify and revolutionize the “kyôgen” tradition.”  Stage design by the renown photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.  The Théâtre de la Ville is closed for renovations, but its events are being staged around town, and this one is in the Espace Cardin.

Comédie-Française

This acting troupe was formed by Louis XIV in 1680.  They perform in several venues, but the luxe Salle Richelieu theater in the Palais Royal complex provides regal seating to watch dramatic performances.  Tune your ear to French while watching the dramas of The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni, Lucrezia Borgia by Victor Hugo, or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Others Worth Investigating

Of course – organ concerts in magnificent churches!

And, for even more performing art events, take a look at these:

Odéon Théâtre de l’Europe

Théâtre National de Chaillot which is the National Theater of Dance

A Step Inside Giacometti’s Studio

A Step Inside Giacometti’s Studio

More than 50 years after his death, Alberto Giacometti’s studio in Paris has been reassembled and is open for you to visit.  You will find it about a mile from his original studio, in the same Montparnasse neighborhood.

Forethought to Preserve an Artist’s Legacy

When he died in 1966, Giacometti’s studio of 40 years was disassembled by his wife, Annette.  She removed all of the artist’s works in progress, furnishings and even the walls to preserve them.  Annette had the forethought, and somehow knew, that Giacometti’s studio should be saved for the future.

Eventually, Giacometti’s studio and artwork, notebooks, sketchbooks and all kinds of things Giacometti, was left by Annette in 1993 to the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti.  The Foundation runs the Giacometti Institute and that organization, “is the reference place for Giacometti’s work and an art history center including exhibitions, research and pedagogy.”

Reconstruction of Giacometti’s Studio

In furtherance of its mission, Giacometti’s studio was reconstructed.  Using old photographs of Giacometti’s studio by Robert Doisneau, Gordon Parks, Sabine Weiss and Ernst Scheidegger the Giacometti Institute rebuilt the studio just as it had been.  At only 15′ x 16′, you wouldn’t think it could hold much.  But, like his skeletal sculptures, Giacometti’s studio is powerful and full of the artist’s presence.

The website explains that now the Giacometti Institute has on permanent display, “Giacometti’s reconstructed studio including his furniture, personal objects, walls painted by the artist and exclusive works, some of which have never before been exhibited.”

Giacometti’s Studio Housed in Art-Deco

The Giacometti Foundation decided to place the institute in a 1914 Art-Deco building with a famous history of its own.  Paul Follot, the renowned Art-Deco artist and interior designer had his showroom in the building.  (Super-cool!)

Of course, the 3,700 square foot space needed lots of work to make it a suitable place for the Institute.  Pascal Grasso, the architect working on the restoration and renovation, had three objectives, “respect the historic monument and give Giacometti’s work pride of place, while devising a contemporary space endowed with its own identity.”

The foundation’s collection is the largest holding of artwork by Alberto Giacometti.  It includes hundreds of sculptures, nearly 100 paintings and thousands of drawings, etchings and engravings.  Some of these can be seen on a visit to the institute.

Breaking Many Banks

Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures are some of the most recognizable in the world – and the most expensive.  “Chariot,” a breathtaking 1950 bronze by Alberto Giacometti, sold for nearly US$101 Million in 2014.  And, in 2015, the spaghetti-string armed, “Pointing Man,” sold for over US$141 Million.  That set a world record for a sculpture at auction.

Alberto Giacometti "Chariot"

“Chariot” by Alberto Giacometti

Want to see a current major exhibition of Alberto Giacometti’s work in the United States?  Visit the Guggenheim in New York through September 12, 2018.

Quotes are from the Fondation Giacometti website.

Giacometti’s Studio
Address:  Inside the Institute Giacometti, 5, Rue Victor Schoelcher, 75014 Paris
Nearest Métro:  Raspail or Denfert-Rochereau
RER:  Line B, Stop: Denfert-Rochereau
Official websitehttp://www.fondation-giacometti.fr/en
Hours:   Open by online reservation system only.  Tuesday from 2:00pm – 6:00pm and Wednesday – Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm.
Closed:  Monday all day and Tuesday mornings.
Admission charge:  Yes

Paris Auction Houses

Paris Auction Houses

Paris is home to some of the greatest auction houses and auction traditions in the world.  Of course Christie’s and Sotheby’s have locations here.  But, Paris also has homegrown auction houses.  One thing that makes these Paris auction houses great is that everyone can participate.  Paris auction houses sell everything from cups and saucers to gold cigarette cases to paintings and art worth millions.

All of the auctions start in the afternoon.  A friend told me all the auctioneers and big spenders go eat lunch and drink together.  There, they decide what things should sell for what amount and to whom.  Then, they go back and auction their wares to the bidder who was in on the action at lunch.

That may have been the case at one time.  But now, all of the auctions are online, so who knows if that still could be true.  People from all over the world bid – and win – on items sold nearly every day from Paris auction houses.  Recently a T-Rex skeleton sold for more than 2 Million Euros.  There are many Paris auction houses, but here are a few.

Drouot

Hôtel Drouot is probably one of the most famous Paris auction houses you have never heard of.  The main location is a big building with many auction rooms under one roof.  It has other locations around the city with even more auction rooms.

About 70 auction firms participate in the Drouot organization.  So there is always something being auctioned – except in August.  Nothing happens in August in Paris auction houses.

Drouot began in the 1850s.  Its location is in the 9th arrondissement and is easily accessed by the Métro.  Just look for the station that bears its name, Richelieu-Drouot.  Check out Drouot Digital.

 

Paris auction house

Artcurial at the Hôtel Marcel Dassault in Paris. CC BY-SA 3.0

Artcurial – One of the Big Paris Auction Houses

The spectacular Hôtel Marcel Dassault is home to Artcurial.  This former private home (yes, a home for one family), was built in 1844.  Not only is the house grand, it is a pretty grand location for an auction house – at the Rond Pont Champs-Élysées. Artcurial is supposedly third in sales of the Paris auction houses after Christie’s and Sotheby’s.  Artcurial has fun automobile sales if you are looking for vintage Bentley’s and Rolls-Royces.

Tajan – Another of the Big Paris Auction Houses

Tajan is another of the Paris auction houses specializing in high quality, high dollar art.  Its sales range from 20th century art deco masterpieces to fine medieval works of art to antiquities.  Plus everything else, including books, fashion and vintage suitcases.  Take a look at Tajan’s website.

Even if you do not participate at one of the Paris auction houses, you can have fun watching – live or at home.  While you are in Paris, drop in and watch live.  Or, you can watch live at home on your computer.  Have fun, listen to the language and enjoy the fun, without spending a dime?

You may be surprised by the amount of money some of these things can bring.  But, then again, you may get lucky and find a perfect souvenir.

Exhibits at The Met – Gardens and Versailles

Exhibits at The Met – Gardens and Versailles

Are you thinking Paris is too far away for the weekend?  Then head to New York City to explore exhibits on French gardens and Versailles.  That’s right, through the end of July, go see Paris in New York City!  Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence and Visitors to Versailles 1682 – 1789.  Both mounted in the halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and full of treasures from France.

Exhibition #1 – Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence

In Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence, The Met, “explores horticultural developments that reshaped the landscape of France and grounded innovative movements—artistic and green—in an era that gave rise to Naturalism, Impressionism, and Art Nouveau.”  All of these artistic movements are well-represented through works presented in this exhibition.

Past urbanites are no different from today’s.  People living in developed cities flock to gardens and parks to be outdoors, enjoy the air, stretch out in the wide open space and delight in the beauty of nature.  To illustrate this love of gardens, the exhibition features a wide range.  Sections include Parks for the Public, Revival of Floral Still Life, Portrait in the Garden and Private Gardens.

Exhibits of Ceramics, Drawings and Paintings to Photography

Choosing works from its extensive holdings, The Met displays drawings, etchings, paintings, glassware, ceramics and even early photographs.  Although the objects show gardens and parks in other parts of France, the majority is focused on Paris and surrounding areas.  Garden lovers will delight in seeing works depicting Fontainebleau, Parc Monceau, Bagatelle, Jardin du Luxembourg, Tuileries, Versailles, along with many other well-known and even less well-known gardens.

Love still life paintings of flowers and garden scenes?  Then this exhibition is for you.  Works by heavy hitters like, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, August Renoir, Eugène Atget, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt and many more hang from the walls.

Do 18th century Sèvres porcelain vases with garden scenes painted on them get you going?  What about Art Nouveau glass with elegant flower designs in the glass?  Do you enjoy the details of garden plans and garden furnishings?  Then this is exhibit is also for you!  They are all there in cases and on the walls.  Really, anyone who is at all interested in gardens in Paris and in France would enjoy this exhibition.

Even if you cannot make it to New York to enjoy the show in person, the exhibition features an accompanying catalogue.

Exhibition #2 – Visitors to Versailles

In Visitors to Versailles 1682 – 1789, The Met, “highlights the experiences of travelers from 1682, when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, to 1789, when the royal family was forced to leave the palace and return to Paris.”  The objects demonstrating this experience range from souvenirs for the visitors to gifts to the royalty and what the visitors wore and saw.

Sections of the exhibit include, Incognito and Private Visitors, To See the King, Getting Dressed for Court, the Gardens and Going to Versailles.  The dedicated rooms in the museum present men’s suits and hunting clothes, women’s court dresses, riding habits, shoes, ball gowns and fans, sculpture, tapestries, rugs, miniature portraits in diamond surrounds, hats, swords, military outfits, furniture, porcelain and objects of art.  Also, very interestingly, paintings of visitors.

And, it is convenient that the garden exhibit in another section of the museum is on at a similar time.  Gardens at the palace were a major part of court life.  You will see multiple illustrations of gardens.  Royalty wanted to be outside too.  Versailles had unending garden delights for royalty and visitors.

Everything is Over the Top, In a Good Way

Like Versailles itself, nearly everything on display is over the top.  Many things are gilded, handmade items have the most intricate detailing, master craftsmen used precious stones and rare and exotic materials – it is all here.  Just take a look at a set of ivory buttons decorated with scenes of Versailles and the gardens – talk about limited edition.  The description explains that the buttons, “intended for a man’s coat may have appealed to tourists.”  Of course, they would!  Fascinating.  And, beautiful.

Along with many items focused on the multiple kings called by the name, “Louis,” Marie Antoinette figures in the exhibition.  Likewise, multiple objects depict the visitors to Versailles.  For example, a Tunisian ambassador, several Asian dignitaries, and would be Americans, like, Benjamin Franklin!  Paintings of Ben and even some of his clothes are on display.  From 1776 until 1785, Benjamin Franklin was the representative to France of the American colonies that revolted against England.  He was at the French court all the time.

Adding to master works from The Met’s holdings, more than 50 lenders, including the Château de Versailles, offered works to the show.

Don’t miss the statue of a monkey riding a goat!

Like Exhibition #1, even if you cannot make it to New York to enjoy the show in person, the exhibition features an accompanying catalogue.  On the cover is an illustration of the gardens of Versailles and visitors enjoying their time in the landscape.

Praise for the exhibition:  ” A fascinating window into how the court would have appeared to foreigners and day trippers alike…. ” -Artnet

Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence

Where:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met Fifth Avenue)
Address:  1000 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028
When:  March 12 – July 29, 2018
Admission:  Entrance fee for museum which includes exhibit
Official websitehttps://metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/public-parks-private-gardens

Visitors to Versailles 1682 – 1789

Where:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met Fifth Avenue)
Address:  1000 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028
When:  April 16 – July 29, 2018
Admission:  Entrance fee for museum which includes exhibit
Official websitehttps://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/visitors-to-versailles

Rockefeller Collection on View at Christie’s Paris

Rockefeller Collection on View at Christie’s Paris

Want to have a museum experience without going to a museum?  Then head over to Christie’s to see the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection on view.

David Rockefeller was the grandson of John D. Rockefeller – oil magnate and industrialist who founded Standard Oil Company.  David and his wife, Margaret – or Peggy – travelled extensively and collected voraciously.  But, only of the best of the best.  And, supposedly, they both had to agree on any purchase.

If you don’t think it is the best of the best, then take a look at what is hung on the walls of the Christie’s showroom.  Spend your time wisely ogling absolute masterpieces from a list of painters that span much of art history.  Along with collections (plural) covering all of art history from ancient Chinese bronze and porcelain, to French Sèvres porcelain made for the Emperor Napoleon I. The collection even includes  hand-carved duck decoys.

You will find paintings by Eugène Delacroix, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and Auguste Renoir. And, Edward Hopper, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keefe, even Diego Rivera.  Oh, wait, and a lot more!

The Water Lilies of Giverny on Display

A water lily painting by Claude Monet, Nymphéas en fleur, will transport you instantly to Giverny, Monet’s estate outside Paris.  Pablo Picasso’s Fillette à la corbeille fleurie (Young Girl with a Flower Basket) is from 1905. Gertrude Stein bought this work from Pablo Picasso himself.  There is also Henri Matisse’s, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, which according to Christie’s, is “among the greatest of Matisse’s paintings in private hands.”

Where can you see things like this?  At auction houses in Paris.  So, if you want a small dose of museum quality art, and maybe even on a very specialized subject, check out the auction houses.

Remember if you decide to purchase something at this auction, all revenues from the sales will be donated to philanthropic causes. Estimates start as low as $200. Because of this, plan to get your wallet out.

If you are in Paris during this extraordinary exhibition, go to Christie’s to see a collection that will likely never be together again.

The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller

Where:  Christie’s Paris
Address:  9 Avenue Matignon
Arrondissement:  8th
Nearest Métro:  Franklin D. Roosevelt
When:  March 16-21, 2018
Official website:  https://www.christies.com