George Eliot is celebrated in London

The window at Daunt books was magically decorated for “In Love with George Eliot”

Everyone knows about George Eliot, might even have read “Middlemarch”, her extraordinary fresco of country life in Victorian England, but for me it was a discovery to find out how modern and liberated a woman she was, two hundred years ago. Thanks to Kathy O’Shaughnessy’s literary yet enjoyable biographical novel,  “In love with George Eliot”, we now know that women’s liberation was more subtle in the 19 th century. The book, which was just published by Philip Gwyn Jones at Scribe, is already attracting raving reviews. A fun and brilliant party took place for the launch at the beautiful Daunt books in Marylebone, and Parisdiary was there of course.Read More

Min Jung-Yeon shines at Musée Guimet

Korean artist Min Jung-Yeon was trained at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris

I first met the Danish galerist Maria Lund when I bought, at Salon du dessin, a drawing on wood, by Korean artist Yoon Ji-Eun who studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Jean Michel Alberola’s studio. And I was happily surprised to meet at Musée Guimet one of her fellow students Min Jung-Yeon, who, like her, has remained in Paris and become a celebrated artist. The 40 year old artist has “carte libre”  on the top floor of the museum with a beautiful birch forest, until February 17.Read More

Félix Fénéon, the Revolutionary collector, at l’Orangerie

Félix Valotton, “Félix Fénéon at la Revue Blanche”, 1896, Private collection, © akg-images / Erich Lessing

It is not a coïncidence that the major painting of the exhibition “Fénéon, modern times from Seurat to Matisse” at Musée de l’Orangerie, used to belong to David Rockefeller, who gave it to MoMA after he died in 2017. The portrait of Félix Fénéon by Paul Signac in 1890, sums up his versatile personality. This anarchist, art critic, art dealer (at Bernheim Jeune) and caustic writer, was an active collector of African and Oceanian art and of Seurat of which there are 13 paintings in one extraordinary room and many drawings. After the Musée du Quai Branly, this is the second show on the art lover intellectual this year in Paris. The show will be at MoMA, in New York,  from March 22 to July 15.Read More

I eat, therefore I am, at Musée de l’Homme

Taste and food preferences can be acquired very early

Musée de l’Homme stupefied us last year with a large exhibition on Neanderthal, where you could actually search for your own origins… This winter, “I eat, therefore I am” (Je mange donc je suis) exposes all the intricacies of food and eating habits in a scientific and sociological way. It is a fun and diverse exhibition with  tv cooking lessons from the 1950’s and artistic food Buren style. But it also shows the customs of food habits from populations around the planet. On December 5, a Prehistoric banquet for 150 guests will take place on the third floor of the museum, facing the Eiffel Tower. Now is the time to register.

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“J’accuse” the new Polanski film on the Dreyfus affair

Emmanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, plays Picquart’s sexy mistress

“J’accuse”, (An officer and a Spy), the film written by Robert Harris with Roman Polanski, is a riveting enquiry on what went wrong with Capitaine Dreyfus, one of the most famous cases of antisemitism in the world, which took place in December 1894, in Paris. Dreyfusards and antidreyfusards defined who you were at the turn of the century, when this young army officer was unfairly sentenced to life imprisonment in Cayenne, French Guiana, for supposedly giving information to the Germans while a fellow military Esterhazy, was the culprit. Many books have been published on the subject and the point of view in the film, is that of an army officer, chief of the Deuxième Bureau, (counterintelligence services), Colonel Picquart. Nothing is black and white in the story and this is what makes it more real than life.Read More

At the Gobelins, the most beautiful tapestries you will ever see

Charles Le Brun, The marriage of Louis XIV in Saint Jean de Luz, Gobelins, Mobilier National, photos Isabelle Bideau

What Louis XIV’s minister Jean Baptiste Colbert and royal painter Charles Le Brun achieved at the height of the Sun king’s reign is exceptional and the exhibition at Manufacture des Gobelins gives us an idea of the luxury cultivated at court at the Louvre, first and then in Versailles. Tapestries created at la Savonnerie in Chaillot, at the Gobelins and in Beauvais, North of Paris, are exhibited until December 4 th. It is a unique occasion to see the marriage of Louis XIV th which is usually at the French Embassy in Madrid and the 9 meter long carpet which used to be at the Elysée palace, in the President’s office.Read More

Jules Adler, a naturalist painter at MahJ

Transfusion of goat blood, 1892, Université Paris Descartes, Museum of the history of medecine, Photo Alain Leprince © ADAGP

The Museum of Art and History of Judaism, MahJ, has wonderful permanent collections set in an 18 th century hotel in the Marais. After showing Helena Rubinstein’s collections last spring, it focuses (until February 23) on a Jewish Alsatian painter, Jules Adler, who is little known today in France but was celebrated at the turn of the century as a naturalist painter. His most famous painting is “La Grève au Creusot” (Strike at the Creusot) painted in 1899 and lent by the Pau museum. The show is historically interesting and puts into light many dark popular scenes and country workers.Read More

The Phantom of the Opera is back, thanks to Gérard Fontaine

George Grie, The Mind Cave or Paranoid non-bizarre delusion, 2010. © George Grie

After writing half a dozen books on the architecture of Opéra Garnier, Gérard Fontaine is digging into the very active life of the Phantom of the Opera, a legendary hero created by novelist Gaston Leroux, who has been continuously on stage in London at Her Majesty’s Theater since October 1986. The beautiful book published by Editions du Patrimoine, reveals all the secrets of the Opera House wanted by Napoléon III and tells the story of this Fantôme who was the topic of ten International films from Rupert Julian in 1925, to Brian de Palma in 1974 and the latest by Joël Schumacher in 2004. It is a visual delight and the text reads like a witty dinner conversation. Read More