Avenue Matignon has never been so busy as this week with an exceptionally well attended Paris Photo fair taking place at Grand Palais éphémère on the Champ de Mars and all the galleries looking at their best. At Jaques Lacoste, who specializes in furniture and decorative arts of the XX th century, the first major exhibition of André Ostier‘s photographs, is very elegantly hung. One picture comes out particularly and it is a portrait of Yves Saint Laurent in 1959, when he was working for Christian Dior. Dior was a close friend of the photographer since they met at Sciences Pô in 1925 after he graduated from Lycée Janson de Sailly. The 37 photographs are mostly portraits of painters (Jean Fautrier, Niki de Saint Phalle, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol…) and socialites attending the famous Beistegui ball in Venice or another one at Hotel Lambert. The prints are modern but they are superbly framed and sell for 2 500 € to 7 000€ depending on sizes.
I met André Ostier (1906- 1994) at the end of his life, thanks to Georges Bully teh then head of PR at Kenzo, and a close friend who took care of him. A1nd what struck me the most about him was his great kindness and self effacement. He had bought an orientalist painting by Albert Marquet at 14. His first pictures were shot in 1939 when he travelled abroad for Marie Claire. He then spent the war years in the South of France where he photographed Matisse, Bonnard and Maillol. His series of artists’ portraits are extremely intimate because he had this special way of making people feel at ease. And David Hockney or Christian Bérard have never looked so tender as in his black and white shots.
It is worth climbing to the second floor to see the decor created by Jacques Lacoste. It is very light, colorful and happy. The exhibition is co-organized by the auctioneer François de Ricqlès, who is close to Ostier’s nephew and the Association which manages his estate. The show is at 19 avenue Matignon until December 12.
Directly across the street is Tornabuoni Art with a beautiful show of Claudio Parmiggiani’s “the Delocazioni” which represent “traces of objects and creatures left by fire, soot and smoke. They are like shadow sculptures which invite a meditation on present and absence, permanence and transience materiality and evanescence.” There is a subtlety and a refinement in his paintings that have always inspired me and the space of the gallery is superb. 16 avenue Matignon until January 20.
Next door, at Mariane Ibrahim, a Nigerian artist who works in Cologne, Peter Uka, is completely the opposite with vivid colors but a similar strength. “The Triumph of Being” represents daily scenes from Nigeria, his childhood and his family including his younger sister, who died last year. This is the artist’s first exhibition in France. Mariane Ibrahim was born in Noumea and opened a gallery in Chicago and Mexico city. She shows African contemporary painters on a high scale. 18 avenue Matignon until December 2.
And on a side street, 34 rue de Penthièvre, at Galerie Virginie Louvet, I loved the extraordinary work on glass with ink of Claudia Melli. This Brazilian artist married to the photographer Prince João d’Orléans Bragance is shown in France for the first time at this pretty and dynamic gallery whose owner discovered her work in Rio de Janeiro. The incredibly minutions landscapes and sea views are painted with China ink directly on the back of the glass. Until November 15.
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