Zao Wou-Ki, a renewed enchantment at Kamel Mennour

Zao Wou-Ki in St Tropez in 2008, photo Sin May Roy, ©ADAGP Zao Wou-Ki, Courtesy kamel mennour, Paris/London

Some artists provoke an instant emotion when you see their work and this is what happens  in the new exhibition of “Inks and watercolors” by Zao Wou-Ki at galerie kamel mennour in Paris and in London. Just when the beautiful show at Museum of Modern Art closed, the galerist brings out miraculous works from the early times in Paris (1948) to 2009. After Daniel Marchesseau’s exceptional show at Fondation Martigny three years ago, this is a poetic and charming reminder of how talented the artist who studied at Hangzhou University, was.Read More

Marie Colvin, what a fascinating but tragic life!

The author Lindsey Hilsum and Marie Colvin in Jenin, on the West Bank in 2002

Her face with a black patch on the left eye became synonymous of courage for war reporters, after Marie Colvin was wounded in Sri Lanka while covering the civil war in April 2001. She had already been a journalist for twenty years after graduating from Yale University and travelling to Brazil and Mexico as a young woman. In the page turner biography, “In Extremis“,  Lindsey Hilsum, one of her fervent disciples, mentions John Hersey at Yale, as changing the course of her life with his non fiction writing class. She eventually died in Syria in 2012, was honored in Parliament by both David Cameron and David Milliband. Her life was more romantic and more tragic than any thriller.Read More

Patrick Neu, monk or artist? at Abbaye de Maubuisson

A cristal armor with feathers, 1995-2017, made at Cristallerie de Saint Louis, where Neu is artistic director, © ADAGP, Patrick Neu. Courtesy of the artist and of galerie Thaddaeus Ropac.

I was taken to Abbaye de Maubuisson, near Pontoise, on a beautiful day by a good friend who was baffled that I had never heard of this highly praised center for contemporary art. And discovering Patrick Neu (pronounce the German way NOI), was a unique experience thanks to the curator Isabelle Gabach, who has been exhibiting artists with a soul, in this 13 th century abbey, for seventeen years. It is so exciting to meet people who have true faith in art, in beautiful surroundings.Read More

Jean-Jacques Henner and red hair, a missed opportunity

Edgard Maxence, “Woman with Orchid”, ca 1900, Paris Musée d’Orsay

It sounded like a great idea! To celebrate red headed women in painting in one of the prettiest 19th century houses of the 17 th arrondissement, the superbly renovated home of Jean- Jaques Henner. But I should have been alerted by the subtitle of the exhibition “From J.J. Henner to Sonia Rykiel”. Well if you have never seen any work by the turn of the century  painter, it is worth visiting his home but don’t expect good painting. Even the “Young lady with a rose” by Renoir is rather unpleasant.

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Exceptional orchids at Jardin des Plantes

La grande Serre is transformed in a jungle of orchids with the association of private growers and state institutions.

Jardin des Plantes is a destination which is often underused and until March 11 th, the 7 th   Festival of orchids is taking place in the Grandes Serres. Four institutions are represented here and four commercial shops have a booth where you can buy your own very special plant. There are 600 species at the Museum and you will discover how tiny these plants can be. Don’t miss it and make sure to arrive before 4.15 pm otherwise you will not be let in…Read More

Jean-Baptiste Huynh finds his roots at Musée Guimet

Eyelash, Huyen, 2003© Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

Jean-Baptiste Huynh became well known in the 1990’s. His mysterious black and white photographs were easy to recognize from afar. Sometimes they were so depressing that the models were disconcerted. Musée Guimet is showing portraits he made while visiting his family in Vietnam in 1994 and returning many times to Asia thereafter. But also photos he took of the collections of the museum. At galerie Lelong, avenue Matignon, he celebrates women’s beauty at great length.Read More

“Hauteville House”, Victor Hugo’s magical retreat in Guernsey

Jean Baptiste Hugo, Le Look-out, 2015, Collection of the artist

Victor Hugo was the greatest French writer, dramaturge and poet of the 19 th century, he was a talented drawer and apparently a dedicated decorator. At least in the only house that he ever owned, Hauteville House on the British island of Guernsey, where he wrote “Les Misérables”, and many more plays and novels, between 1856 and 1870 when he was exiled from France by Napoleon III. The Maison de Victor Hugo on place des Vosges shows until April 14, the details of its minutious restoration and we all need to go to Guernsey to check it out!Read More

La Creuse, a forgotten river adored by painters

Armand Guillaumin and his help in front of his house in Crozant, ca 1915

The Vallée de la Creuse, an area surrounding the Creuse river North of Limoges and South of Chateauroux, was discovered by painters in the 1830’s and writer George Sand brought many or her artist friends there from her house of Nohant in Berry. For one hundred years, landscape painters enjoyed the “Great wilderness” of this “lost country” as Claude Monet described it. A patient and determined curator, Véronique Alemany, has assembled 140 works at Atelier Grognard in Rueil Malmaison to show how important this forgotten school of painting is. A true celebration of outdoors!Read More