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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!

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

Pablo Picasso Self-Portrait 1901

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

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 photograph 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

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

Musée Jacquemart-André Announces Mary Cassatt Exhibition

Musée Jacquemart-André Announces Mary Cassatt Exhibition

The Musée Jacquemart-André announces that it is hosting an exhibition of work by Mary Cassatt in its extraordinary and sumptuous chateau in the middle of Paris. Read the official press release here.

Although this exhibition had been planned for some time, it is highly appropriate in light of the women’s activities that are in the news today. During here lifetime, Mary Cassatt (b. 1844 – d. 1926) was what would now be called a feminist. She advocated equal rights for women from her days in college in the 1860s to campaigning for women’s right to vote in the 1910s.

Cassatt  was born in Pennsylvania to well-educated parents, and eventually took art classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  In 1868, she quite the art academy because of its slow pace and moved to Paris. Cassatt wanted to be a professional artist, not just a painter to pass the time. In Paris she learned from great artists and teachers, had access to the incredible museums and found inspiration from other painters.

Mary Cassatt Found Like-Minded Friends in Paris

Mary not only succeeded while in Paris, but excelled at painting. She grew from producing academic work into an impressionist master. Mary was friends with many well-known impressionist painters including Edgar Degas.  She and Degas became close friends and colleagues, each learning from the other. Along with Degas, Cassatt entered her paintings in the famous salons of Paris and in the Impressionists Exhibitions. Galleries in Paris showed her work with galleries in New York following soon after.

Cassatt’s paintings often feature mothers with their children, sometimes caring for the children in tender moments. As well as painting, she was a master at drawing and print making, she advised art collectors and was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1904.

The current exhibition includes loans from major museums in the United States and Europe. Masterpieces from institutions like the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the Petit Palais, the Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts and more are on display in the magnificent museum.  Check out the museum’s site to see how over-the-top the place is.  Then, take a look at the exhibit.  See if it strikes your fancy and post a comment!

Mary Cassatt, An American Impressionist in Paris

Where:  Le Musée Jacquemart-André
Address:  158, boulevard Haussmann
Arrondissement:  8th
Nearest Métro:  Saint-Augustin, Miromesnil or Saint-Philippe du Roule
When:  March 9 – July 23, 2018.  Late openings on Mondays during the exhibition.
Admission:  Entrance fee
Official website:  http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com

Louvre Museum  (Musée du Louvre)

Louvre Museum  (Musée du Louvre)

The Louvre Museum is the biggest museum in the world.  Some in New York may beg to differ, but the Louvre is the biggest.  Wait until you see it in person – from the outside and from the inside.  Then you can decide for yourself if it is the biggest.  At around 5 football fields long, it dominates the scenery along much of the Seine.  You can see it from many of the bridges crossing the river.  The architectural style of the exterior changed as additions were made, and sometimes the vast exterior walls may trick you into thinking it is a different building, but, it isn’t.  The Louvre is really that big.

Not only is it big, but all the parts of the Louvre are GRAND.  The courtyards are enormous, some of the galleries are immense, some paintings and stone sculptures are gigantic!  Even the roof and ceilings are endless.  Subtle and sublime details are grand as well.  Worn marble stairs look and feel soft.  Carvings and reliefs fill the rooms and corridors.  Vaulted passageways designed with minute details and all parts mesh to make the building a work of art unto itself.

The Louvre: From Fortress and Prison to Royal Palace

The Louvre began as a medieval fortress on the edge of the city for protection and as a prison.  Go underground (Level -1) in the Sully wing to see the remnants of the original 12th century structure.  Eventually, the Louvre became a royal palace and home to the kings of France.  After many years as a working palace, the Louvre became a museum in 1793.  Not just any museum, but THE museum all other museums aspired to become.  The royal history of the art collection can be seen on the identification tags next to the works of art – look for, “from the collection of Louis XIV,” or choose a monarch and you will probably find the name.  Pretty impressive, huh?

With so many years as a royal residence, it has seen more palace intrigue than will ever be written.  The escapades in the dark hallways and stairs are unimaginable.  As you walk on a far-flung set of steps, think of how dark it would be in the middle of the night.  Imagine a royal family member or one of the court ringing a bell and a servant scurrying in the night, holding only a single candle, into the deep dark recesses of the palace.  Then trying to find the right door, trying to locate the bell ringer.  After attending to the royalty and collecting the slop jar (or for whatever the necessity in the middle of the night), the servant would creep along to make his or her way out of the maze of steps and hallways and back to the workers’ quarters.  Who knows what could have been lurking in the shadows on just that one errand?

A Palace Now for Priceless Art and Gardens

Now the servants are gone, but the Louvre employs thousands of people to make your experience in the historic royal palace memorable and safe.  They help visitors navigate through the collection, making sure priceless artworks remain untouched, pointing out the location of the toilets and generally guaranteeing the collection remains intact.

The Louvre’s official websites states that its collection includes, “Western artworks from the Middle Ages to 1848, as well as the art of the ancient civilizations that preceded and influenced them. Some 35,000 artworks are on display, the oldest of which date back over seven thousand years.”  (Just an FYI, the Musée d’Orsay picks up at 1849.)  Not to mention, the building itself is an architectural work of art whose construction spans the 12th to the 21st centuries.

Visit the Louvre with a Plan

The Louvre will be impressive even if you do not go inside.  But, if you decide to go in, make a plan for what you will do once you get into the museum.  Besides being the biggest museum in the world, the art and artifacts are of unsurpassed quality and by the most important artists and civilizations in history.  That means it is generally a mob scene and completely overwhelming.  It is easy to get lost in the crowds and move into areas that you are not really interested in seeing.  That is disastrous in such a magnificent museum.

A great introduction to the Louvre is to pick one of the “visitor trails” that the Louvre website provides online and do a self-guided walking tour.  Each trail has specific instructions to lead you through the Louvre to 10 or so world-renowned works of art.  The trails take about an hour from start to finish, depending on how long you linger in admiration and whether or not you get sidetracked.  That time does not include going through security and getting into the reception area of the museum.  Then add on getting your bearings and going through the line to purchase a ticket or through the ticket-checker line if you already have a paper ticket or museum pass.

See the Classic Masterpieces, a Special Exhibit, or Both

The “Masterpieces” trails are a terrific introduction to the Louvre.  One masterpiece trail is accessible for all, and the other is for those who choose to take the steps.  The Louvre site also suggests other trails that are tailored to more specific interests.  There is even a Da Vinci Code trail!  Take a look.

Buy your tickets in advance.  Once you make it past security, there are lines going into each wing for those who have tickets, and there are lines to purchase tickets from a ticket machines or an actual person.  Get in the correct line.

Also to note, if there is a special exhibition that you want to see that has timed entry and requires a special ticket, ensure you purchase tickets for that exhibit.  Once, I bought tickets online for a Vermeer show, way in advance.  I checked the tickets, thought they were for the exhibition, guarded them in my satchel all the way to Paris, and when I got to the entrance, the guard told me that my ticket was for general admission to the Louvre – not to the exhibition.  Beware!  Check your tickets!

Putting this on your calendar?  Remember, you may only spend an hour looking at the art, but take into consideration the time it takes to get in, go through security, then get in line to go in, go to the bathroom and finally get to your starting point.  Plan accordingly.

The Louvre: Make Your Plan

What makes it special:  What doesn’t make it special?
Nearest Métro:  Two stops serve the Louvre.  Exiting at Louvre-Rivoli, you will be at the eastern-most end of the Louvre.  Exiting at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre, you will be closer to the pyramid entrance and very close to the entrance at the Passage de Richelieu (if they will let you in) and the entrance through the Carousel de Louvre – kind of underground shopping area that leads you to the main entrance under the pyramid.
Nourishment:  Food and drink options are available inside the Louvre in various locations – enjoy a baguette sandwich overlooking the entrance while watching the people come down the stairs under the pyramid!
Arrondissement:  1st
Hours:  Wednesday – Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Night opening until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays
CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
Also closed:  January 1, May 1 and December 25
Official websitehttps://www.louvre.fr/en/
Suggested time to visit:  In the evenings on the days it is open late

Getty Research Institute Announces Trove of Paris Maps – Digitized

Getty Research Institute Announces Trove of Paris Maps – Digitized

Have you ever wanted to see a map of Paris before Haussmann created the grand avenues?  What about the goat paths through the Medieval houses?  And, the cobbled streets where the slop buckets were thrown out of the windows onto the passersby below?

Digitized Maps – for Everyone!

The Getty Research Institute announced in its February newsletter that it has digitized a collection of maps from 1754 to 1907.  The maps show before and after the Haussmann redesign.  These new additions are online and you can check them out right now.  They are a complete boon to researchers and the casually interested alike. Visit the Getty site to research and view these maps and lots of other resources that the Getty makes available online.

Read the Getty announcement that follows:

Getty Research Institute News, February 2018

NEW FOR RESEARCHERS

Maps of Paris

A collection of 152 maps of Paris dating from 1754 to 1907 covers the period when Paris was transformed into a modern metropolis under Napoleon Bonaparte and his nephew, Napoleon III. These maps—amassed by collector and dealer André Jammes—feature hand-colored illustrations and vignettes of famous monuments. Changes instigated by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann during the 1850s and 60s, such as the creation of modern water and sewer systems, the rebuilding of the Île de la Cité, and the expansion from 12 to 20 arrondissements, can be seen prominently across the maps from this time period.

This collection is also digitized and available for free online.

The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
www.getty.edu