Léon Spilliaert is riveting in Lausanne and more…

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“Fisherman’s wife on the pontoon”, 1909, collection Mu.ZEE, long term private loan, photo Hugo Maertens, Cedric Verhelst, Steven Decroos

The French used to go to Switzerland to ski and to check their bank accounts. Now they go for the exhibitions. Last week end saw a series of brilliant openings in Geneva, Lausanne, Montricher and Basel and the train from Paris was fun to ride  as you met art curators and collectors, all eager to see the enlarged ArtGenève show which was attended by a variety of galleries including Magnum, Ratton-Ladrière, Templon and Thaddaeus Ropac. I personally loved the Léon Spilliaert exhibition at Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne until May 29. This Belgian painter from Ostende is unknown to many people who have not seen his retrospective in 2020 at musée d’Orsay where I discovered his work. He is definitely worth the trip… And so is the  Colette exhibition at Fondation Jan Michalski, a writer’s retreat in the country side. I did not get to the Wayne Thiebaud show at Fondation Beyeler but did visit the new museums of plateforme 10 by the Lausanne train station and sadly learned there about Thierry Barbier-Mueller‘s sudden death at 62 on January 24. His collection of chairs is displayed at Musée du Design mudac with a sound installation by Bob Wilson . Read More

Ugo Rondinone dances with Hodler and Vallotton in Geneva

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Ferdinand Hodler, “Warrior with Halberd”, “Young warrior holding a spade with two hands” and eight more pillars 1895-1896, “Rhythmic space” by Ugo Rondinone, photo Stefan Altenburger

“When the Sun goes down and the Moon goes up” is the title of a new event show at Geneva’s Musée d’Art et d’Histoire curated by Ugo Rondinone. After the German painter Jakob Lena Knebl in 2021 and theFrench curator Jean Hubert Martin in 2022, Marc Olivier Wahler, the director of the museum, has given a “carte blanche” to the Swiss artist to play with the collections of the museum which include 800 000 objects and works of art. After working at the University of Michigan Museum and at Palais de Tokyo, Wahler promised to wake up MAH which many Swiss people have never heard of or never visited. And with his third “XL” exhibition, and his long collaboration with Rondinone, he  has a winning ticket. The show makes us rediscover two brilliant Swiss painters who owned works by each other, Felix Vallotton, born in Lausanne,1865-1925, and Ferdinand Hodler, born in Berne, 1853-1918.Read More

The tragedy of Izieu is illustrated at MahJ

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Happy New Year card drawn by Henri Verständig

“You will remember me” words and drawings of the children of Izieu“, 1943-1944, is a fascinating illustration of how innocent Jewish children and loving surrogate parents died or survived (85%) during the war in France. At MahJ, Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme, 150 photographs, drawings and documents illustrate the adventure led by Sabin and Miron Zlatin, a Polish Russian Jewish couple who emigrated to France in the 1920’s. Out of 105 children, 44  and 7 adults (including Miron Zlatin) were taken away and killed by Klaus Barbie’s men. The documents shown here were collected by Sabin Zlatin who was in Montpellier when the operation took place. Her archives are at Bibliothèque Nationale de France and a House in Izieu is, since 1994, the Memorial of Jewish children in France. Read More

The Faubourg Saint Honoré is the hip street to visit…

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Collin Sekajugo, “Stock Image 30- Blue Evening 2022” at Nathalie Obadia, photo Aurélien Mole

Faubourg Saint Honoré has definitely become more hip these days with contemporary art galleries joining Talabardon et Gautier and Galerie de la Présidence, Sotheby’s and the Canadian Cultural center. The flower shop Lachaume which moved from rue Royale some years ago has even become good again and Nathalie Obadia opened a new show of Collin Sekajugo,  an artist from Uganda and Rwanda. He reminded me of these fabulous street African photographers exhibited by Magnin-A.Read More

Lou de Laâge is spectacular in “Le Tourbillon de vie”

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Julia plays in Berlin by the fallen wall in November 1989

Le Tourbillon de la Vie (Julia in English) is a film about chance. What would have happened if I had decided otherwise? And there are three Julia s in this story. One who becomes a successful concert pianist and is utterly unhappy in her private life. One who marries early a successful physicist turned banker and ends up divorcing, another who is the victim of a car accident and saves children through teaching them music. The film lasts two hours and is never too long for these three stories intertwined with each other in the most clever way. And Lou de Laâge (who is in Woody Allen’s next film, shot in Paris last fall) is an amazing chameleon, elegant, hippie, childish at turns, always very beautiful.Read More

Cercle Carpeaux celebrates Elisabeth Platel and Clara Mousseigne

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Clara Mousseigne in 2020

One, Elisabeth Platel, director of the Ballet school of the Paris Opera, received the gold medal for her formidable career, the other, Clara Mousseigne, 18, won the 40 th Prize of Cercle Carpeaux, which is dedicated each year to outstanding dancers. To celebrate this very special anniversary, many former laureates were present surrounding the young Franco Japanese “sujet” who gave a very mature speech with a constant smile on her lips. She succeeds prestigious artists such as Eric Vu An, the first laureate in 1982, Sylvie Guillem, Laurent Hilaire and Manuel Legris, in 1985… The evening hosted by Carpeaux’s president, Catherine de Pimodan and vice president, Pascal Chadenet, was moving and discreet, like this very elitist circle which works by cooptation and includes only 180 members. Read More

A coffee place which sells rare International cookies

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The tiny coffee boutique is at 44 rue de Varenne

Brûlerie de Varenne is a tiny little shop not far from Hôtel Matignon where you can find Brigitte Macron’s family macarons, the Jean Trogneux macarons from Amiens… Of course you can order them online but for a last minute lunch it is fun to bring something few people have tasted in Paris, like the Spanish D. Sancho Melero cookies which melt in your mouth,  Corsican canistrelli from Salvatori, or meringue almond rocks from Vallée de Chevreuse. There are also Linzer from Alsace, special herb teas from l’Ain in the mountains, and caramelized hazelnuts from Oléron.Read More

Nicolas Poussin is a sexy hit in Lyon

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The Death of Chione, circa 1622, Lyon Musée des Beaux Arts

I never liked Nicolas Poussin whom I always considered too austere, even though Musée Condé in Chantilly holds at least 6 (including the Massacre of the Innocents) and the Louvre close to forty. So when I heard of the exhibition at Musée des Beaux arts de Lyon devoted to “Poussin & l’Amour“, I thought this might convince me of his genius. And it did! The show is badly installed in low ceiling rooms painted in different shades of ugly grey. But the works which have come from all over, from Windsor Castle to Fort Worth in the US and Germany, are totally fascinating and my favorite was the first one, “The Death of Chione” acquired by the museum in 2016, and painted when he was 28 for a silk manufacturer from Lyon. It is based on Ovid’s Metamorphosis, on the story of Diane (Artemis) shooting an arrow through Chione’s tongue because she pretended to be more beautiful than her. Read More