Art Nouveau Jewels have a show at Ecole des Arts Joailliers

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René Lalique, pin, cir 1910, Musée Lalique, Wingen sur Moder, photo Karine Gaby

Ecole des Arts Joailliers  created by Van Cleef and Arpels, is discreetly housed behind place Vendôme in a posh building where security is high and the staff extremely graceful. It includes a school which anyone interested in gems can attend and a gallery for exhibitions. While entrance to the shows is free you have to register first before going. This time, the theme is “Un art Nouveau”, metamorphosis of jewelry 1880-1914. Curated by Professor Rossella Froissart and Paul Paradis who teaches at the School, it is the 12 th exhibition on rue Daniel Casanova and the last since, from October onwards, the Hotel de Mercy- Argenteau will be the new venue on boulevard Montmartre. The School will remain in its actual premises. A new general director, Elise Gonnet Pon who was based in Hong Kong, will run both entities. Read More

“Breaking the waves”, a film in 1996 and now an opera

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Sydney Mancasola (Bess McNeill) and Jarrett Ott (Jan Nyman) on their wedding night

If any of you remembers Lars Von Trier’s film “Breaking the wave“, starring Emma Watson, which won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in 1996, you will be sorry to have missed the amazing opera by American composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, which only played three times at Opera Comique this week.  Conducted by Mathieu Romano and directed by Tom Morris with video designer Will Duke, it was one of the great surprises of the spring in Paris. With Sydney Mancasola as Bess and Jarrett Ott as Jan. It first opened in Philadelphia in 2016, won the Music Critics Association of North American Award in 2017 and was then recreated by the Scottish Opera for the 2019 Edinburgh Festival which toured it since in tis actual version. The dark story is illuminated by a fabulous set design and lighting.Read More

At Chantilly and Chaalis, flowers and Ingres have a ball

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The clematis “Lavallée” from pépinières Javoy is perfect for pots or small gardens

Since Alexis de Kermel has taken over the management of Abbaye de Chaalis three years ago, things are slowly changing in this medieval site where Primaticcio painted the ceiling of the chapel and Nélie Jacquemart spent her youth with her protector Rose Pamela de Vatry before buying it in 1902, nine years after her husband’s death. On June 9-11, les Journées de la Rose will take place with TV personality and photographer, Nikos Aliagas as host. It is a good occasion to visit the walled rose garden and the house, which is full of spectacular sculptures and little known treasures. In Chantilly nearby, after les Journées des Plantes where rare dogwoods and clematises won the prizes, the main event of the month is the Ingres exhibition curated by Mathieu Deldicque, which opened on June 3. This double bill is a good occasion to spend the week end in l’Oise, a department which is full of castles and abbeys to visit, and much less crowded than Normandy. And the nearby town of Senlis is also full of surprises. Read More

At Templon, an irresistible Will Cotton and a renewed Chiharu Shiota

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Chiharu Shiota State of Being, 2023, photo, Chiharu Shiota Studio

You are probably familiar by now with the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota who weaves strings and embroiders canvases in her Berlin studio. “Memory under the Skin” is the new in-situ installation at Galerie Templon rue du Grenier Saint Lazare, of woven works and clothes and now also of her hands as well as her husband’s and her daughter’s, sculpted in bronze and in metal threads. There is the  apparition of boats in drawing and in bronze and metal threads with their light golden load. A spectacular white dress embroidered in red, welcomes the visitor in the first room and waltzes around. The title alludes to clothes as being a second skin. In the other gallery of 30 rue Beaubourg, Will Cotton plays with ultra-masculine cowboys battling a pink unicorn and a new voluptuous and provocative “cowgirl”. “Trigger”, the title of the series refers to the safe spaces created by the liberal left on American campuses in recent years. But can it be dissociated from firearms? Read More

Trees, Trees, Trees, are trendy at Collection Pinault and at Documents 15

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Tacita Dean, “Sakura Study (Taki I)”, 2022, courtesy the Artist, Marian Goodman Gallery and Frith Street Gallery, London

British artist Tacita Dean (born 1965) and German artist Gudrun Von Maltzan (born 1941) have nothing in common in their style but they both admire trees and I just happened to see both their exhibitions this week. The respect they show for very special trees is interesting. Tacita is at Bourse du Commerce and at Opéra Garnier with her decors for the “Dante Project” by Wayne McGregor, Gudrun is at Galerie Documents 15, rue de l’Echaudé. One photographs in color and draws with white pencil on very large prints, the other draws in pencil on brown paper, and describes the time she spends on each “portrait”. They are both extraordinary.Read More

A poetic conversation at Librairie Gallimard

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Nayla Chidiac and Sir Michael Edwards, de l’Académie Française at the book signing

It was a fascinating literary conversation that took place at Librairie Gallimard between the Franco Lebanese poet Nayla Chidiac  and the Franco British Sir Michael Edwards, the first Britannic member of the Académie Française. At 85, he is revered as a translator, a teacher and a poet. She is thirty years younger and a brilliant psychologist, specialized in traumas, who was used by the French army (RAID) for debriefing the terrorists in Arabic (one of the three languages she speaks fluently). She was honored with the Legion of honor for this task. “Tu me réveilleras quand je serai morte” is her 5 th book of poetry but Nayla Chidiac is also the author of medical books published by Odile Jacob. She created the writing workshops at Hôpital Sainte Anne, the leading psychiatry hospital in Paris, and her latest book is “Les bienfaits de l’écriture”.Read More

Louvre-Lens has another great show on Landscapes

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Eugene Delacroix, Clouds in the Sky, cir 1850, Paris Musée du Louvre, © RMN Michel Urtado

It’s always a wonderful adventure to drive to Louvre Lens, because the building designed by SANAA is extraordinary and the exhibition of the Louvre treasures on 3000 square m is visible in one look.  Over 5 000 years of objects, sculptures and paintings are shown in the Gallery of Time from the Egyptians to Napoleon in an easy, accessible and whimsical way. This time, the exhibition “What is a landscape” attracted me, and for a few minutes I felt I was seeing again “True to Nature” the fabulous show devoted to 19 th century open air painting, which took place at Fondation Custodia last year. It is very different of course, much larger with many paintings from the Louvre, but the inspiration and the presence of many “portraits of rocks ” as the regretted Ger Luijten described them, reminded me of it. Read More

Stéphanie des Horts makes us laugh and dream again

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Stéphanie des Horts at her book signing at Librairie Kogan on rue du Bac

For her twelfth novel, and the most entertaining for me,  Stéphanie des Horts uses the same ingredients which make her writing irresistible: a lot of love affairs, a very bright heroine who attracts sexy men, and this time, the world of  British spies during the late 30’s and WWII. Her latest book “Cynthia” tells the story of Betty Pack, an American who was raised in Chili, and is described on the first page as “It is not a pretty girl, it is an atomic bomb”. Married to a British diplomat, Arthur Pack,  at 20, she lives in Spain during the Civil War and takes a Spanish lover, succumbs to “religious fervor” with her confessor, Padre Pablo, who is madly in love with her,

and she frees him from the jails of Franco after seducing the guards of the prison. Read More