Christian de Portzamparc is a painter at Kamel Mennour

Christian de Portzamparc, “Il y eut les plages”, pigmented ink and acrylic on canvas, 2019

If you have a passion, like I do, for Pritzker Prize laureate Christian de Portzamparc, you will be curious to discover his new ink and acrylic paintings at Galerie Kamel Mennour rue Saint André des Arts. They are very architectural of course, with a strong sense of space and geometry, and a very special light which illuminates dust, gaz particules and partitions. In the two other galleries, on rue du Pont de Lodi and avenue Matignon, Tadashi Kawamata shows his fascinating  “Destructions” in grand style.Read More

Nils-Udo, from Bavaria to rue Récamier

The artist, Nils-Udo, on the first floor of the Black Bamboo installation

It’s always moving to meet an artist you’ve admired for many years and my encounter with Nils-Udo and his wife Lisa, at Fondation EDF, started with our exchanging recollections of Prien am Chiemsee, a small village where I studied German some twenty years ago and near where he lives. He was raised in the North of the region, in Schloss Klingenberg, in Lower Franconia, where nature was omnipresent, and he has created a spectacular installation with very special lighting, an art which is at the chore of EDF’s (Electricité de France) workmanship. With more than a hundred bamboos selected in Anduze, Gard, and seven black marble eggs set on white marble gravel, the visitor is startled as he enters the dark room. And entrance is free.Read More

Perfect reads for Christmas

The Author of “Pour le plaisir et pour le pire”, Laure Hillerin, at Hôtel Swann

If you like to spend a cozy Christmas by the fireplace, here are a few books that you might want to be offered. A biography of Boni de Castellane and his rich American wife Anna Gould, “Pour le plaisir et pour le pire” by Laure Hillerin. Empress Joséphine’s herbarium finely studied by Catherine de Bourgoing with wonderful drawings by Redouté and Bonpland or Ventenat and a book on architect Rena Dumas who created the decors for all Hermès boutiques, Christie’s Paris and many prestigious offices around the world, published by Editions Norma, the cream of the cream of design publishers.Read More

Lillian across America by foot, and a film

Lillian Alling walks through desert territories

In 1926, Lillian Alling, a Russian citizen who lived in New York, decided she would walk back to her country through the Bering Straights. Her adventures over two years of deambulation, are filmed by Austrian director Andreas Horvath, in a two hour long tale of her American and Canadian crossing, Lilian. The Polish actress, Patricia Planik does not utter a word and yet is so lively. One understands her strange flight and is scared for her all along. It is a beautiful tale of survival in a world without money, beds, nor food. And a superior camerawork by the director himself.Read More

Toulouse Lautrec also loves men at Grand Palais

Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, 1887, © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was born in 1864 in an aristocratic family and spent his first years with his mother near Narbonne and in the Rouergue. They moved to Paris when he was 8 and he attended the future Lycée Condorcet, the same as Proust’s. His health was unsteady for he had inherited a genetic disorder similar to osteoporosis and he fell and broke his leg at 14. This led to many years of staying home and drawing and a lifelong limping. The retrospective of his work at Grand Palais includes 228 works which were lent by Musée d’Albi and many American museums. It is the first since 1992 and shows vividly how modern he was for his times.Read More

Embroidery is a Medieval art, at Musée de Cluny

Purse fragment : Fauconnier, France (Paris), ca 1340, red velvet,  linen and taffetas, gold silk embroidery © Lyon, Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs / Sylvain Pretto

Embroidery does not sound like the most exciting theme for an exhibition and yet, when I walked into the show at Musée de Cluny on “The Art of embroidery in the Middle Ages”, I was immediately moved and stunned by the beauty of the pieces. “Medieval embroiderers were painters with a needle in hand”, describes one of the curators and the emotion that comes out of these pieces of fabric is intense. Religious and lay pieces are shown in the Frigidarium of the Abbey, and one of the first pieces, an illuminated portrait of the Virgin Mary at her embroidery, sets the tone.Read More

Proustmania and Ruben Gallo at Maison de la Poésie, in Paris

Mexican born Professor Rubén Gallo at La Maison de la Poésie near Beaubourg

There has been a rush in Proustmania since the spring to celebrate the 100 th anniversary on December 10, of Proust’s Goncourt Prize for “A l’Ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleurs”. Editions de Fallois  launched last month, a series of unpublished short stories “Le Mystérieux correspondant“, written by Marcel Proust when he was 22. They represent sketches of the characters who will eventually form “Remembrances of Things Past”. The book has sold 10 000 copies in a month even though it is very literary and addresses mostly Proust fans. Last week, Professor Rubén Gallo, who runs the department of Latin American studies at Princeton University, came for the publication of the French version “Proust Latino” of his book, “Proust’s Latin Americans” which came out in the United States in 2016. The evening at Maison de la Poésie was a fascinating dialogue with French historian Professor Laure Murat.Read More

Two French girls in Shanghai, create “Chinoises”

Félicie Corre le Blan is wearing l’Inconstante, a Chinese reversible jacket in embroidered silk and denim, 270€

After working for 15 years with Hermès in Paris and in Shanghai, Félicie le Blan has started her own luxury company with business partner Carine Boyer, who recently moved to New York. These two French ladies were frustrated not to find the right designs in Chinese fashion so they decided to use the best of Chinese silk and pristine velvet, to create European style fashion at modest prices.  Chinoises.fr is the name of the company from which you can mail order in time for Xmas! It combines French chic with Chinese ancestral materials.

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