Here and there, news from the art front

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Al Held, Spata 12, 1997, watercolour on paper mounted on board © Al Held Foundation, Inc. Photo © White Cube (David Westwood)

Avenue Matignon continues its fast ascension in becoming the modern and contemporary art destination for all the collectors who can’t be bothered to get stuck in traffic on their way to the Marais. And the White Cube gallery, which is discreetly housed on the second floor of an Hausmannian building at n°10, is showing a completely unknown-to-the French American artist, Al Held (1928-2005). A professor at Yale University, Held was in a way surpassed in celebrity by two of his students Richard Serra and Chuck Close. A foundation created by the artist and now overseen by his daughter (also an artist) in the Catskills, has lent a few canvases. The White Cube gallery, who manages his estate, shows very ingenious, mostly geometric watercolors, made in Italy. A very colorful way to start your walk, just across the street from the Jockey Club.

Al Held, Particular Paradox, #29, 2000, Watercolour on paper mounted on board, © Al Held Foundation, Inc. © White Cube (David Westwood)

The volumes of the gallery are fantastic and there is a 1970’s feeling to these watercolors even though most of them were done in the third millenium. Held was already shown in Paris in 1952 and in 1977 and had a retrospective at the Whitney as early as 1974. (Until May 27, White Cube Paris)

On rue de Penthièvre, Galerie Guillaume (founded by Guillaume Sébastien)  is celebrating its 20 years with a show curated by Alain Tadié, former director of Musées de Caen and Lille. Among the confirmed painters and photographers like Jean François Rauzier, he has selected a newcomer, Emma Daoud who shows a true personality. I particularly liked her large and strong colorful canvases which are quite remarkable for such a young woman. (“Decoro” until May 27 at 32 rue de Penthièvre)

Emma Daoud at Galerie Guillaume in front of “Noyau”, 2022

In Barbizon, the well known village in the forest of Fontainebleau where painters created their own Ecole in 1820 when they decided to paint in the open air, a garden fair is taking place next week end from 29 April to 1 May. It is free and you can exchange your plants on place de la Chapelle or visit the private gardens near the forest and all the famous spots of the village. It is especially focused this year on urban vegetalisation and painter Roger Henri will show how he creates his own natural paints.

In Barbizon the Fête des parcs et jardins allies gardens and art ©Amand Berteigne

At l’Institut de France, former Prime minister Laurent Fabius made a communication on the theme of polyptyques (paintings) to launch his latest book published by Gallimard “Tableaux pluriels: voyage parmi les polyptyques d’hier et d’aujourd’hui”. I was very curious to hear him talk about art since his father was a famous antique dealer on bd Haussmann and he personnaly dived very young into politics, with François Mitterrand. He has been in the news recently as head of Conseil Constitutionnel when they were studying the law on Pensions.

Bacon ‘s triptyque on “The crucifixion” made an interesting contrast to the decor of the Grande Salle des Séances at l’Institut

From the Retables of Medieval times, to Francis Bacon and Zao Wou-Ki, Laurent Fabius has studied the way we look at these  paintings. The triptyque was widely used in the past in churches and in decors and Fabius described how the eye automatically focuses on the center piece of a triptyque.  In the case of multiple group of canvases, one’s eye wanders from left to right and scans the whole work. Pierre Soulages, whom he often spoke to, inroduced him to looking at polyptychs. Erik Desmazières listened attentively to the former prime minister with the new Académicien Christophe Leribault but the star of the evening was definitely the Secrétaire perpétuel of Académie des Beaux Arts, Laurent Petitgirard who has a genius and a great sense of humour, for introducing guest speakers.

Laurent Petitgirard, Laurent Fabius and Michael Levinas, President of the Académie des Beaux Arts, photo Matthieu Pezon

I wonder if Laurent Fabius intends to enter the Académie? Since he has always done everything very young, it would make an exception in his busy life…

Stéphanie Bossard is a very intriguing artist with her sound, stones and water installation

At Ecole des Beaux Arts a show of young artists dedicated to the new worlds, concentrated on environmental issues and I particularly liked Stéphanie Bossard‘s installation within the collective “Pays Tremblés” which unites Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion. She comes from la Réunion and worked on a suspended glass organ which creates music through vibrations. The glasses click against each other in a way which reproduces the bells in her native village which toll when an earthquake or a typhoon is announced.

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