Spheres, the Earth and the Universe at BNF

Edme Mentelle and Jean Tobie Mercklein, Terrestrial and celstiel globes made for the education of the Dauphin, 1788, BNF

It is an extraordinary exhibition that is presented at Bibliothèque Nationale de France after the Louvre Abu Dhabi. 2 500 years of representations of the atmosphere and the Earth from Antiquity to today. Two hundred pieces restitute all its nobility to the quest of discovering the universe which was started by Ptolemaeus with the first globes. The evolution of our knowledge through medieval times and Arab astronomy with And al-Rahman al-Sufi. Then the Renaissance and the first exploratory trips to the New World. And the Copernician revolution with Kepler, Descartes and Newton. This year marks the five hundredth anniversary of Portuguese navigator Magellan‘s circumnavigation. And the exhibition ends with contemporary interpretations of man’s first step on the moon.Read More

Notre Dame, a world drama with many wonderful outcomes

Seen from the Hôtel de Ville, Notre Dame seems bald

My first reaction, when I saw the blazing spear falling down from Notre Dame at 7.30 pm, was that Emmanuel Macron was saved. He was to give a major speech on television at 8pm to answer the requests of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow vests) and justly decided to cancel. The priority was for him to be seen at Notre Dame. This tragic event gave him some respite. Then immediately, Henri François Pinault declared that his company would contribute 100 Million € to the reconstruction. Good for him, he was the first.Read More

Jean Larivière is back, with all his magic

Portrait of Andrée Putman, Diptych, 2003

You probably still remember the magical pictures which served as advertising for Louis Vuitton in the 1980’s. Henry Racamier, the President, and Jean Francois Bentz, head of RSCG agency asked Jean Larivière to create the LV image through a series called “l’Ame du voyage” (the soul of voyage). For twenty years, his photos transported us to Tibet and Kashmir, Groenland, Yemen, Cameroun, Patagonia…  where the artist went for a month with LV trunks, suitcases and bags and a large team including his personal doctor. From these adventures, came back unique shots of dreamlike countries where the LV brand appeared magical and poetic. A retrospective of his work took place at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2005-2006. Today, Galerie Pièce Unique is showing his newest work.Read More

The Queen’s apartment in Versailles gets a face lift

This is the view, the Queen had from her bed when she woke up (except for the tractor!)

At the exact time when Notre Dame was burning, the Grand apartment of the Queen in Versailles was being inaugurated after three years of works including fireproof improvements and air “cooling”. And the result is impressive with the bedroom’s refurbishing and the adjoining three antechambers finding their old decor again. The lavishness of the fabrics, of the furniture and the gilt decor dating from 1672, can be seen after crossing the Galerie des Glaces. It was occupied by three queens, and two dauphines in the XVII th and XVIII th centuries. And nineteen royal children were born there under three kings.Read More

It’s Easter and chocolate eggs are in fashion!

A black chocolate Easter egg at Pierre Marcolini

I love the Easter tradition when you give each other chocolate eggs or hens. When I was little I remember my grandfather giving me an animated chick who walked around carrying a basket full of very small fishes in chocolate and eggs in sugar. We call it friture in French, like fried fish… Read More

Fontainebleau celebrates Art history, on June 7-9

Château de Fontainebleau was a royal castle from François 1er to Napoléon, with 1 500 rooms and 130 has (c) Béatrice Lécuyer-Bidal

The 9 th Festival of art history is taking place at Château de Fontainebleau, an hour south of Paris, and this year the theme is “The people”. Instigated by Pierre Rosenberg, the three day event brings together art historians, curators, museum directors, artists and publishers and this edition is dedicated to five Northern countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The budget of 700 000€ mostly paid by the Ministry of culture and some generous sponsors including INSEAD, allows all 300 events to be free for the public. It is a major International meeting, where Fontainebleau can glitter for everyone’s eye and attract school children as well as major world celebrities. Read More

Football as a political tool at IMA

Rachid Mekhloufi was a a star with AS St Etienne but quit in 1958 to join the FLN, the first Algerian National team

You all remember Invictus, the fabulous film directed by Clint Eastwood, which recounted  Nelson Mandela’s success when South Africa won the Rugby World cup in 1995. Sport changes men’s attitudes and this is what Rachid Mekhloufi, star footballer who played with AS St Etienne tried to prove in 1958. He and Mustapha Zitouni left a successful career in France to join the first Algerian football team the FLN. The exhibition at IMA (Institut du monde arabe), “Football and the Arab World” is beautifully organized with a giant screening room featuring Zinédine Zidane‘s 90 minute film by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno lent by the Guggenheim museum, and many aspects of football as a political tool. Read More

Helena Rubinstein, a modern business woman, who loved art!

Inge Morath, Beauty tutoring at the Helena Rubinstein salon, New York, 1958

What is most interesting in the Helena Rubinstein exhibition at Musée d’art et d’Histoire juive, is the artistic talents that she developed over a long career as a business woman of beauty. All along her intense and long life, this young woman born in Krakow in 1872, was interested in fashion, painters, architects and decorators. Like Jeanne Lanvin or Christian Dior, she collected avant garde designers and the show is full of photographs of her buildings, beauty salons and it has brought together part of her art collection. Unfortunately, the curator was her biographer and not an professional art historian. Read More