Here and there, fun moments of the week

parisdiaArt, Books, Performing arts2 Comments

Stéphane Guégan and Louis Antoine Prat, the authors, Sophie Semin Handke, Matthieu Marie and Nicolas Vaude the actors, at Musée d’Orsay

I could not be at musée d’Orsay to see the only representation of  “Une femme peut en cacher une autre” ( a woman can hide another) but numerous friends told me how charming it was and I therefore read the text “Manet, Degas,  Une femme peut en cacher une autre” published by Samsa/UPT, which is of great interest. The authors, Stéphane Guégan and Louis Antoine Prat, are both writers and art historians and they imagined a conversation between the two painters, which tells us more about their friendship than the catalog of the most visited exhibition of the time. I highly recommend it for the general public. It is a wonderful way to enter the artistic world of the beginning of the XX th century and the authors must have had great fun writing it.

The 78 page play is great fun to read.

Meanwhile in Senlis, two thirty year old  artists, Marie Hervé and Elsa Martinez, who graduated from the Ecole photographique d’Arles and are both from the South of France, were showing serigraphs on marble which they brought back in their car, from Custonaci in Sicily.  They have a show until September 2 at Galerie F called “I came near a stone and listened to its voice” (Je me suis approchée d’une pierre et l’ai écoutée me parler), in a beautiful space near the cathedral. They explore images from the Mediterranean and use photography as a start for transmission on diverse materials such as marble, fabric, bodies, videos.

Marie Hervé and Elsa Martinez in front of “Sand of Noises”, Island #1, 2021 at Galerie F in Senlis

Fondation Francès, which counts over 800 contemporary art pieces and runs galerie F, was also showing British artist, Roy Adzak (1927-1987), in the archeological section of the main museum of Senlis, in front of the cathedral. His “Negative objects” molded like archeological finds, which he conducted in Afghanistan and in India in his youth, were made in 1956 and 1968. They relate the passing of the time. The Museum of arts is a charming space in the former Archevêché with paintings by Thomas Couture, Séraphine Louis and many classical painters and a great reason to visit this medieval town for the day.

Roy Adzak, Negative objects (6 piled up bottles) collection Fondation Francès

Not far from there, in Ognon, I attended the prettiest wedding ever, with fabulous details, like little orchestras playing in the middle of the woods in front of a staircase designed for Queen Marie de Medicis and white wall to wall carpeting under a tent with medallions of Notre Dame de Paris and a flight to Mykonos printed on it, since the bride is Greek. Bellinis were being served in front of the “Miroir”, a 17 th century rectangular basin conceived by Le Nôtre, with a little bath pavilion at the end. And the shade of the trees was particularly appreciated in the heat. The park is open for the Journées du patrimoine in September.

A perspective designed for Marie de Medicis

Famous actors are selling their collections. Alain Delon (b. 1935) with Bonhams-Cornette de Saint Cyr , on June 22 in an auction which includes two Corots, many Renaissance Italian drawings  and  bronzes by Rembrandt Bugatti, collected over sixty years. I was very moved to visit the exhibition at 6 avenue Hoche where Paul Sérusier‘s screen with four leaves  (framed as a triptych) is estimated 150 000 to 200 000€. Next to it are presented two paintings of barges on Canal Saint Denis by Takanori Oguiss (1901-1986), a Japanese painter, friend of Fujita’s,  who lived in Paris most of his life.  I had never heard of him. With a simpler frame, they would look very good. A drawing by Matisse and another by Degas, and earlier pieces by Jacques Callot, Il Pontormo, Guido Reni, a Christ from Rubens’ circles, a print by Dürer and a drawing by Rembrandt from 1635, show what a serious collector Delon was.

Takanori Oguiss, Barges under the snow, Canal Saint Denis, est. 30 000 to 50 000€

“The Storyteller” by Nicolas Lagneau is probably the most fascinating choice for such a handsome actor: it is a harsh portrait of a peasant with strong lines on his face. Ugly in a threatening way! An ink on paper by Diego Rivera, two paintings by Zadkine  and many bronzes accompany a horse by Delacroix and a painting by Jean François Millet. The setting of this collection  in very light rooms illuminated by pretty flower arrangements and well signaled cartels is extremely gracious. Bonhams bought the Parisian auctioneer Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr a year ago, and the sale organized by Anouchka Delon, the actor’s daughter, should do well! (Exhibition open until September 21 at 6 avenue Hoche)

Nicolas Lagneau, The storyteller, 4 000 to 6 000€

Alain Delon bought alone and has an interesting taste. He says he bought mostly works which moved him and often cheered him up. And, next September 26 and 27, two hundred and fifty works will be sold by David Norman at Ader at Drouot from Gérard Depardieu‘s collections. XX th century artists from Rodin, Odilon Redon, Marcel Duchamp, Eugène Leroy, Michaux, Hans Hartung, Olivier Debré  and Miro. But also a small sculpture by Diego Giacometti and “Man walking” by Germaine Richier

Harry Gruyaert, Morocco, South Near Tighir, 1968, Courtesy gallery FIFTY ONE

The new exhibition of Harry Gruyaert at Le Bal was a discovery. This Belgian photographer, who left for the US in 1968, discovered pop art and decided to use only color in his photographs. Born in Antwerp in 1941, he joined Magnum and was one of their only members not to use black and white. Eighty of his rare cibachrome prints (directly printed from slides) are exhibited in the trendy photo center founded by Diane Dufour. They were lent by private collectors, Magnum,  and his gallery,  FIFTY ONE in Antwerp. Shots from Morocco, India, Egypt, Japan and Russia are shown along American images on brightly painted walls and sometimes reminded me of Martin Parr’s. This realistic photographer is a great way to discover the space, opened in a small alley off avenue de Clichy,  in 2010 by Raymond Depardon and Diane Dufour: it usually shows more abstract or minimalist photographers.

Harry Gruyaert, Belgium, Boom, Waterloo Battle Commemoration, 1988 c Magnum

I ended the week at Musée de la Grande Guerre in Meaux, devoted to WWI, which has an interesting exhibition on the part played by nurses in the war. I was welcomed by a yoga class taking place under the metal awning of the very modern building located near the town of Meaux, where much the action took place in 1914. “Nurses, quiet heroines of the Great War” were very much publicized in magazines and in propaganda, and “the white halo of the veil leaning over the wounded patient” nourished the imagination of many. Love affairs were born in the hospitals especially among volunteers from all social classes. There were 5 000 military nurses in 1918 who received special training and were paid accordingly.

A nurse gives a massage to a soldier’s wrist

Many of them had artistic talents and made caricatures or illustrations of  the hospitals and the doctors like Olga Bing, a painter turned nurse, who drew an album of 25 gestures performed by the nurses. Their I.D. cards, albums with photographs and drawings, public posters and paintings, form an interesting group of documents and in the bookstore one can find endless books on the period. What a surprise to find a romantic show on such a dramatic and cruel war. Painters such as Joseph-Félix Bouchor or Pierre-Albert Leroux painted the wounded at Gare de l’Est where there was a “Young Men Christian Association”  financed by American funds. The nurses often joined the Red Cross or religious associations such as  “Saint Vincent de Paul’s Filles de la Charité” and wore fancy uniforms which are also shown here. There was a hospital on a barge which connected Bar le Duc to Lyon and many establishments near the trenches described brilliantly by Helen Zenna Smith in “Not so quiet” in her tale of English upperclass nurses who were shipped to the North of France…

Olga Bing was an artist turned nurse

A  portrait of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium (1876-1965), the German princess, daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, is paticulalry moving. Her father was a doctor who treated the poor in his hospital and his daughter had trained with him.  When the war is declared, she and her husband King Albert decide to stay in Belgium, in free territory at La Panne. She organizes a hospital unit first in the Royal palace then in the Grand Hotel de l’Océan in La Panne, near Dunkirk. She goes to the hospital every morning for three years and assists the surgeon. She was nicknamed the Queen-nurse.

Portrait of Nurse Mademoiselle Dufief, 1918, Musée de Compiègne et du château de Blérancourt

There were also American, Scottish and English nurses like Amelia Nyasa Laws who was raised in Malawi and is the daughter of a doctor. She worked as a masseuse and nurse in Valence and then in Metz where she looked after prisoners of war until September 1920. She later became a doctor. Séraphine Pommier was a doctor’s niece and joined in 1914 at 31. Sister Julie ran the hospital in Gerbéviller in Lorraine since 1912. She became one of the heroines of the press and received the Legion of Honor. Her fame for courage was such that she even featured on the cover of “J’ai Vu ” magazine, with Emile Combes (a former student in a seminar), a politician well known for his anticlericalism. A retirement home carries her name in Gerbéviller.

Jose de Andrada, Convalescence, Musée de la Grande Guerre, Meaux

Musée de la Grande Guerre, Meaux, until December 31. Meaux is 85 mns from Paris by car.

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