Antony Gormley and Lucian Freud, a double bill at the Royal Academy

Antony Gormley, Lost Horizon, 2008, “Bodies project from all sides, at odds with one another”

Every time I travel to London, I try to have the same routine. From King’s Cross, I take the tube to Piccadilly, visit Hatchards book store, have lunch at Fortnum’s and visit the Royal Academy of Arts. And this time was particularly successful, for there were two admirable exhibitions: “Lucian Freud, The Self- portraits” (until January 26) and “Antony Gormley” (until December 3). Do rush and see them, they are both giant artists.Read More

Joy de Rohan Chabot is back with her treasures

Joy de Rohan Chabot, Clair de Lune lantern with an owl, screen “The Cat”, tables in the shape of trees, candelabras “Tree of life”, a vase “Kaa” at Galerie Chastel Maréchal

Joy de Rohan Chabot never stops surprising us. She was probably the most beautiful débutante of her generation and her Scottish blood always attracted her to nature. You might remember her spectacular show at Musée Jacquemart André in 2008 or her first one at Tiffany’s, in New York, in 1987? Her bronze creations are all melted by David de Gourcuff in Auvergne, and this tall and frail lady worked intensively to get her 18 pieces ready for this exhibition. The setting of “l’Attrape Rêve” as the show at Galerie Chastel Maréchal is called, is spectacular and it is wonderful to enter this dreamy atmosphere of vegetal mirrors and secret bronze logs.Read More

The river Seine, Elaine Sciolino way

Elaine Sciolino in front of the Seine in Paris

Elaine Sciolino, the well known New York Times writer and former Paris bureau chief, has been posted in Paris for many years with husband Andrew Plump who is a lawyer. After writing about her street, rue des Martyrs,  in the 9 th arrondissement, she now concentrates on the river Seine, which flows for almost 500 miles from Saint- Germain-Source-Seine, in North East Burgundy all the way to Le Havre. “The Seine has served as a mirror for the city’s architectural treasures since the 12 th century” and has more recently, been instrumental in the burning of Notre Dame. The author is on an American book tour right now, you might be able to hear her speak in your town. And I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!Read More

Striking Iron in Africa, a delicate art

Unknown artist (population gan/lobi, Burkina Faso), figurative stick of a three headed python, 19th century-beginning 20 th, private collection, photo Don Cole, Fowler museum at UCLA

There are two excellent exhibitions opening at Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, “Helena Rubinstein’s African art collection” and “Striking Iron, the Art of African blacksmiths”, but I have to admit, my weakness for the latter, which is a huge surprise and aesthetical shock. It was conceived by the Fowler museum at UCLA, which is a scientific partner of the museum on the Seine and includes some 17 th century pieces among 229. American sculptor Tom Joyce was joined by four scientific specialists from L. A., Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It is a major feat.

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In Ecouen, Etienne Delaune, a master of printing!

Jean Limosin, Back of a mirror, Death of Britomartis, beginning of XVII century, polychrome enamel Paris, Musée des arts décoratifs (MAD)

Château d’Ecouen, the Museum of Renaissance, is probably the less visited and yet the most extraordinary of Paris’s suburban museums. Its collections of precious Murano glasses and French or Flemish tapestries are unique, and at the moment, a special exhibit projects a new light on Etienne Delaune, a printer born in Milan (French at the time) in 1518. His father, worked at the court of King François 1er and had followed him to Italy.  Trained as a goldsmith, Delaune shows exemplary talent for printing and soon becomes the inspirer for many other decorative art artists who will use his drawings for enamel plaques and clocks as well as mirrors.Read More

Luca Giordano, another giant painter at Petit Palais

A silver and gilt bronze statue of St Michael Archangelo by Lorenzo Vaccaro, 1689-1691, with The Holy Family, 1660, in the back, welcome the visitor in the first room.

For his first exhibition in Paris, Neapolitan baroque painter Luca Giordano, transports us from Italy to Spain in the grandest manner. Born in 1634,  almost a hundred years after Greco, this student of Jusepe de Ribera very inspired by Caravaggio, and adept of Rubens and Poussin, painted close to 5000 works for which he was nicknamed “Luca fa presto”, (Luca the fast). His first travels took him to Rome from where he returned with a new maturity and many monumental commissions for churches in Naples and palaces in Florence. Invited by the King of Spain he eventually moved to Madrid just before turning 60.Read More

The mythical château de Groussay is revisited by Alexandre Serebriakoff

Alexandre Serebriakoff,  1944, The  XVIII th century rotunda salon. The fabric woven by Prelle in 1941, is the same as the one which lines Marie Antoinette’s bedroom in Versailles

At his conference at Sotheby’s,  Pierre Arizzoli Clementel, who used to be Director of Versailles for 15 years, had the perfect voice for telling the magical story of Charles de Beistegui‘s life and style. The book he just wrote, based on the 35 watercolors by Alexandre Serebriakoff of château de Groussay, is important: it is the only thing left from this lifelong decor, created an hour west of Paris in Montfort l’Amaury. When Beistegui’s nephew, Johnny, decided to sell the house in June 1999, everyone suddenly realized what a world was disappearing with this 1820 style house. With the collaboration of interior architect Emilio Terry and the constant advice of Charles de Noailles, Groussay had been the center of elegance until 1970. Read More

Gerald Shea is honored by the city of Reims in a Franco American celebration

Gerald Shea, is being honored by Arnaud Robinet, Mayor of Reims in a ceremony at City Hall on November 11, photo Bill Beakman

From the solemn morning  ceremonies at a monument to World War I dead, to a sparkling evening in the ornate Salle des Fêtes at  City Hall, the city of Reims went all out on Nov. 11, Armistice Day, to honor the Centenary of the American Memorial Hospital, a pediatric hospital founded in the ruined city in 1919  by a group of intrepid American women. It also turned out to be a good opportunity to toast Franco-American friendship, and to honor Gerald Shea, a lawyer and a writer, and the popular former President of the hospital’s board of directors. Since he is my brother in law, this reporting is brilliantly done by Celestine Bohlen, who I thank here for her contribution.Read More