“Prehistory”, at The Pompidou Center, reveals contemporary ties

Miguel Barceló, Il trionfo della morte, 2019, and sculpture by Louise Bourgeois , Cumul I, 1968

I am not such a great fan of prehistory but so nay finds have been made recently that I was curious to see what Centre Pompidou was going to show under the title, “Prehistory, a modern enigma“. Artists have played, along with scientists, a great role in our perception of the understanding of our origins. The 19th century is when stratigraphy enabled the world to understand the “epochs of nature” as Buffon wrote. The association of painters like Cézanne and archaeologist and geologist Antoine-Fortuné Marion at Sainte Victoire Mountain near Aix enProvence, fed the imagination of painters. More recently Richard Long has been a great perpetrator of the Neolithic eras. Don’t be intimidated by the theme, the show is full off fabulous surprises including Miquel Barcelo‘s stained glass mud paintings and Robert Smithson’s film of the making of the “Spiral Jetty” near Salt Lake city.Read More

In Chantilly, the Journées des Plantes is again a delight

Grand Prix du Domaine de Chantilly, the peony developed by Damien Devos

Twice a year in May and October, Château de Chantilly celebrates new plants and International nurseries. An dualist week, Prince AmYn Aga Khan and Hélène Fustier were running around the park in their electric cart congratulating the prize winners of the season. Among whom, Belgian grower Damien Devos, won with a beautiful dark red peony and was exhibiting delightful calycanthus Aphrodite, and another Belgian, Pépinières Choteau, who specializes in Japanese maples Acer palmatum, were showing their “Ukigumo”, a ravishing tree with gray leaves. Read More

“Shapes in silence” at Galerie Dutko

The installation of Matthias Contzen’s marble mandala took four days an dis for meter wide in diameter. On the back wall, two plexiglass works by Tom Henderson

Walking towards Galerie Dutko on the edge of Ile Saint Louis, near Hotel Lambert, was a very soothing experience. I crossed the pont de la Tournelle and checked on Notre Dame where large cranes are now at work, walked past Helena Rubinstein’s former house at 24 quai de Béthune and arrived in the most beautiful little street, rue de Bretonvilliers. There awaited me two wonderful artists, German sculptor Matthias Contzen, and Tom Henderson, a British artist who lives in Provence. Both prepared this show “Shapes in Silence” for a year and their works are in conversation with one another. Read More

Michèle Belaiche, a true discovery

Michèle Belaiche, in front of three of her large watercolors

I had never heard of Michèle Belaiche before her exhibition at Galerie du Passage. And as soon as I met her, I realized we had so many friends in common that we should have met many times before… She spent her life surrounded by decorators and architects, travelled the world with Jacques Grange, her boss of twenty years, and is now painting full time in Ménerbes, in Lubéron. Her watercolors are full of light and meditation and they are beautifully presented by Pierre Passebon in Passage Vero Dodat. The opening last week was the place to be.Read More

New York is changing fast but remains the best

Hudson Yards with the Vessel in the center and the Shed on the right

I had not been to New York for three years and I found lots of changes. First the Hudson Yards, a new business/shopping/living area at the start of the Highline on 30 th st and the Hudson, attracted me because I wanted to see the Vessel. This large pile of staircases in red copper was much talked about and I could not believe how ugly it is, and completely out of proportion with the rest of the development. Thank God, this was the only disappointment of my trip which included meeting Graydon Carter and Alessandra Stanley who are launching a new e.magazine in July, AirMail News, discovering the new imprint HarperVia, dedicated to novels in translation at Harper Collins and hearing all about Woody Allen’s new film in a second avenue Italian restaurant. Read More

Black Model at Orsay

Marie Guillemine Benoist, Portrait of Madeleine, 1800, Paris, musée du Louvre,  Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Gérard Blot

We are in 1800 in France, the Revolution is over and slavery has been abolished since 1794. Black people can become visible again and Parisian artists have their say in putting them in the light of society. This is what the exhibition at Musée d’Orsay, “The Black Model, from Géricault to Matisse” is trying to tell us with magnificent paintings by the cream of the cream of 19 th century artists. It was inspired by Denise Murrell’s dissertation for Columbia University in 2013, and it is coorganised by the Wallach Art Gallery in New York. I left the show a little disappointed the first time and liked it better the second time. Behind the political correctness, hide many fascinating informations among which Alexandre Dumas‘s “metis”, mixed blood origins and Haiti’s determinant role in liberating slaves, against Napoleon’s troupes.Read More

Eataly and La Felicità, an Italian food contest.

The sea bass ceviche with a sugar beet salad was delicious at 15€ at la Felicità

La Felicità opened this fall near the Grande Bibliothèque. It was meant to stay open all night but never did, it closes at 10.30 pm or 11 depending on the days and does not serve dinners on Mondays and Tuesday. As a member of the Big Mamma group started by Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger, it can seat 1 000 guests in different areas where Italian specialties are served. From the Ceviche bar (excellent) to the Pizzeria Napolitana, the Trattoria to the Hamburgheria, you can wander around and sit wherever it pleases you. It has a large terrace and a funky decor. And you get to mingle with all the start uppers of Station F. The drawback is that it is located Far East of Paris but if you go to visit the wonderful shows at Grande Bibliothèque it is an ideal stop for lunch. Read More

Jean Francis Auburtin and Claude Monet meet again in Giverny

Auburtin, Boats in Etretat, private collection, Photo Jean Louis Coquerel

You probably have never heard of Jean Francis Auburtin and neither had I until I was lured to the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny by an old friend who lives nearby. The Museum opened ten years ago, succeeding the very pretty American Museum built by the Terra Foundation in 1992, and it is now run by Musée d’Orsay. It is mostly a perfect complement to the visit of Claude Monet’s waterlily gardens which remain an exceptional find, an hour from Paris. Auburtin followed Monet’s career, twenty five years apart, on the Riviera, in Belle Ile and in Varengeville, which makes him especially interesting and a great specialist of sea views. Read More