Gustave Moreau’s ravishing watercolors of La Fontaine’s Fables open at the Museum

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Allegory of the Fable, 10 July 1979, Private collection

Musée Gustave Moreau can be a bit dreary at times with its dark 1860 studio and huge canvases, but the exhibition of the symbolist master’s 34 watercolor illustrations of Fables de La Fontaine curated by Dominique Lobstein is a pure moment of magic and poetry. It already was shown at Waddesdon Manor, in Great Britain, the summer. Designed by Hubert le Gall, who had the idea of framing each preparatory drawing or final watercolor in coded colors, the exhibition gives a light touch to the sanctuary. There were originally 64 watercolors commissioned by collector Antony Roux between 1879 and 1884 which were painted in the very premises of 14 rue la Rochefoucauld, where we see them. Read More

Books, Books, Books…

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Pierre-Louis Pierson, “Scherzo di Follia”, portrait of Virginia, 1863-1866

There have never been so many books coming out, all on fascinating topics, as if publishers were trying to catch up on lost times. Benedetta Craveri, who made a name to herself in the US in 1982 and in France with her book on “Madame du Deffand and her world”, is publishing at Flammarion a biography with a flashy title,  “La Contessa”,  of Virginia Verasis di Castiglione who was both Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel II’s lover, but also seduced the Duc d’Aumale, the banker Charles Laffitte, Robert d’Orléans, and so many more… She was a spy for Cavour at a very young age, and mostly remained in our memories thanks to the multiple photographs she commissioned from Pierre-Louis Pierson which are often exhibited at Musée d’Orsay and at the Metropolitan museum.Read More

Mugler makes a show at MAD

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Helmut Newton, Thierry Mugler with Jerry Hall, 1996, 1996, The Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin © The Helmut Newton Estate

I was looking forward to finding the beloved Thierry Mugler at MAD’s “Couturissime” with all the creations that we discovered year after year in the 1980’s but was disappointed by the overdone and glittery costumes. No emotion just partying. Which of course pleased enormously the crowds of the Fashion week and correspond well to the spirit of the designer who revolutionized style with photographers such as Helmut Newton and his own shots. Mugler is now called Manfred and his company and perfume were bought from Clarins by L’Oréal in 2019. The opening party was offered by the legendary beauty group and the atmosphere of the fashion shows and multiple musicals or plays for which he designed costumes was at full speed. I just regretted not seeing more of his perfect cuts for daily suits or dresses which anyone could wear and look stylish in.

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FIAC, Moderne Art Fair and Asia Now, what a race!

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Chiaru Shiota’s installation at Templon, Asia Now,  was a big hit

FIAC is every year a moment of gathering for International art lovers in Paris and the new building of Grand Palais Ephémère on the Champs de Mars, proved again its excellence. It was added on with a large tent for young artists and the luxury of  smoking cigarettes or just getting some fresh air in the gardens facing the Eiffel Tower was a bonus. But galleries were very traditional in their choices and I found it quite disappointing. So I escaped to the Champs Elysées where Moderne Art Fair took place for the first time. There were a  few decorative art galleries and the tribute to Bénédicte Pesle moved me very much. But I really went for a French artist from the north, Sébastien Bayet, who creates canvases with patchworks. The fireworks of the week was the opening of the seventh edition of Asia Now, the Asian art fair which celebrated Iran this year. It was pouring rain, the dim sum chef was desperate and had to fold but the atmosphere was electrical and some of the artists exceptional. Read More

Julie Manet, the Impressionists’ model child

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Berthe Morisot, By the lake, 1883, Musée Marmottan Monet

Julie Manet was Berthe Morisot’s daughter, Edouard Manet’s niece, Ernest Rouart’s wife and… Stéphane Mallarmé’s pupil and Auguste Renoir’s favorite child model. An exhibition,”Julie Manet, La Mémoire impressioniste” is devoted to her and her family circle at Musée Marmottan Monet until March 20. It magnificently sums up the career of a discreet and very religious woman, who grew up as the cherished child of the Impressionists and spent her life promoting her mother and her uncle’s works. As Erik Desmazières, director of the museum said at the opening,  “Her marriage was arranged but a happy one”. Read More

A day at the Garde Meuble de la Couronne with Agnès Walch

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The Intendant’s grand cabinet, © Guillaume de Laubier

One of the events of the Spring was the opening of Hotel de la Marine on place de la Concorde with the refurbished apartments of the two intendants in charge of Louis XVIth’ Garde Meuble (furniture storage), Pierre Elisabeth de Fontanieu and Marc Antoine Thierry de Ville-d’Avray. One was a libertine, the other, a family man very close to the King. Both had impeccable taste and were in charge in managing the court’s furniture. A new book narrates the life of this building written by two historians, Professor Agnès Walch and Gatien Wierez. And the magical photos by Guillaume de Laubier, who is famous for his natural lights, would have deserved a larger format. The decors recreated by Joseph Achkar and Michel Charrière are astonishing and one gets all the stories behind these walls from very serious primary sources.Read More

Do not miss this week, David Hockney, the auction of the largest skeleton, and more…

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David Hockney, La Dorette winding its way, 17th June-2nd July 2021, eight iPad paintings on paper

The new David Hockney exhibition, ” A Year in Normandy” at l’Orangerie is a series of iPad paintings printed on paper pinned on the walls of the long corridor in the basement and it also includes three large paintings of waterlilies at the entrance of the Monet Rooms. It is so happy and playful that it’s worth stopping by… The British painter’s new life near Caen has generated a number of exhibitions in London and in Paris and his discretion and low key attitude have won him the love of all the locals. I particularly like his rendering of the rain which comes often! (Musée de l’Orangerie until February 14)Read More

At château d’Ecouen Renaissance glass travels from Venice

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Cup on foot, Dear grazing, Venitian recipe, Renaissance, Musée du Louvre, Campana collection

Going to Musée de la Renaissance in Ecouen is always an adventure but the prize at the end is precious. This time, it only took fifty minutes to drive through St Denis and Sarcelles and the most beautiful weather was expecting us in the forest surrounding the castle. Yellow parrots were flying over the roofs and the exhibition “Emailler le Verre à la Renaissance” (Enameled glass in the Renaissance) set in Cathrine de Medicis’ apartments gave an extra bonus to the visit of the permanent collections which include paintings, tapestries, decorative objects, fireplaces and furniture of the highest quality. Read More