A Léon Bonnat retrospective… at last!

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Inside the Sixtine Chapel, ca 1875-1880, Paris Musée d’Orsay

Léon Bonnat (1833-1922) is a forgotten painter who was a star in his lifetime, an official portraitist who trained many students when he was director of Ecole des Beaux Arts and helped all Basque artists to come to the capital. He was born in Bayonne, lived for seven years in his teens in Madrid, where he studied with José and Federico de Madrazo, and travelled to Italy at 25. He then settled in Paris and became a praised painter of historical and religious scenes. Many of the portraits exhibited here testify to his aristocratic and rich Jewish models, a clientele he largely developed in the late 1870’s and 1880’s. The show, curated by Sabine Cazenave and Benjamin Couilleaux, is the first since he died in 1922. It is definitely the event of the Côte Basque this summer.Read More

What’s new this week?

parisdiaArt, Happy moments3 Comments

Hugo Duminil-Copin with his Fields Medal in Helsinki, photo Bertrand Duplantier

The greatest national French news was certainly the award of the Fields Medal (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics) to French mathematician Hugo Duminil Copin (36), along with Ukrainian Marina Viazovska (37), American June Huh (39) and British James Maynard (35). The rule is that the laureate be under 40, and it is awarded every four years to up to four candidates. Interestingly the French and Ukrainian candidates (the second lady since 1936 when the first Prize was awarded) teach in Geneva (and Paris) and Lausanne. The South Korean American Huh teaches at Princeton while Maynard teaches at Oxford. The awards ceremony took place in a beautifully designed hall in Helsinki where the International Congress of Mathematicians was taking place instead of St Petersburg.Read More

Sally Gabori is a revelation at Fondation Cartier

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Thundi, Big River, 2010

It is completely fascinating to think that an aboriginal woman painter, who has hardly ever left two islands in the North of Australia, should become the center of attention at Fondation Cartier in Paris! Born on Bentick Island, in the gulf of Carpentaria, in 1924, Sally Gabori was forced in 1948 with 63 other inhabitants, to settle on Mornington island at a Presbyterian mission, after a cyclone and tidal wave flooded their 20 km by 12 km birth place. Soon the children were separated from their families, sent to school in English and forbidden to speak Kaiadilt, their tribe’s language. She remained one of the only elders to speak it and was only allowed to return for short stays to her native island. At 81, while living in a retirement home, she discovered paint at the Mornington Island Arts and Crafts Centre. Fondation Cartier  is showing thirty of her monumental paintings, until November 6, in the first exhibition of her works outside Australia.Read More

Henri Cartier Bresson in Paris and John Stewart in Saint Rémy

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John Stewart, Cotton and ivy, at Musée Estrine in Saint Rémy

Many landscapes unite John Stewart (1919-2017) and Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004),  who both liked spending the summers near Apt and had developed a strong professional friendship during their long lives. In Paris, Fondation HCB is presenting a series of landscapes in “l’Expérience du paysage”, before a new 100 square m space opens in November with a Martin Parr-HCB exhibition. The 70 pictures were selected for an exhibition in Japan in 1999, by HCB himself with Agnès Sire and François Hébel, director of the foundation, and they represent well the artist’s relationship to the world. A few drawings are shown in the first gallery and testify of the photographer’s love for this other medium. And if you are in Provence for the Arles exhibitions, in Saint Rémy de Provence, John Stewart’s still lives are exhibited at Musée Estrine.Read More

In Lille, the museum is in full Renaissance

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Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, “Time or the Old”, 1808-1812, “The letter, the Young”, ca 1814-1819, former collection of King Louis Philippe
















Like many provincial French cities, Lille has a fabulous Arts Museum where Goya rivals with Rubens on the first floor. But what attracted us this week is the reopening of the Medieval and Renaissance galleries down below, which are brilliantly settled in the arched brick cellars. Sophie Duteilhet de Lamothe, the 36 year old curator took us around with grace and knowledge while her colleague Régis Cotentin, in charge of contemporary art, pointed out the discrete but efficient installations and videos set out in the whole museum. These treasures are well worth a visit to the North of France which counts many more exceptional museums in Cassel and Saint Omer.Read More

“Singing in the rain” is 70 and Gene Kelly is alive again on France musique

parisdiaFashion, Performing arts1 Comment

Patricia Kelly and Marc Voinchet with the new Gene Kelly Hermès scarf which comes in 8 colors

Very soon the famous Hermès Kelly bag, named after Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, will have competition: a new scarf designed by the Canadian artist Geoff McFetridge on featuring Gene Kelly, to celebrate the 70 th anniversary of “Singing in the rain“. The film was recently rejuvenated by Warner and is screened in all French cinemas this summer. Patricia Kelly, his widow, is in Paris to record the series of broadcasts “Gene Kelly et moi”  which are aired in July and August on France Musique. For the first time, the famous choreographer, dancer and film director (who would be 110 this year) will be heard in an intimate way. Patrica spent ten years of their married life, taping him at cocktail hour, 5 pm, while he was drinking his vodka tonic. And sometimes during dinner. The result is a gripping story told with the most intimate and personal voice. This is the first time ever that these tapes are aired. Every Sunday morning at 11 am and on podcast. Read More

Le Vaudeville, is still a beautiful brasserie

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Le Vaudeville has kept its original 1918 decor and nice tablecloth

I had to find a place for lunch near the Bourse for a curator of the Wolfsonian museum in Miami, which specialises in turn of the century furniture and decors, and I considered Galopin, the brasserie named after the young boys who brought small glasses of beer (still called a galopin) to the brokers on the floor of the Stock exchange. But I opted for le Vaudeville in the end and was very happily surprised. This used to be a favorite venue for after the Opeéra Comique but I had not been for quite a while. The headwaiter gave me a large table after I asked to sit inside (and not on the sidewalk like everyone else) and we could both take advantage of the fantastic decor. Read More

Germany in the Twenties, and August Sander at Centre Pompidou

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Max Beckmann, Doppelbildnis, (double portrait) , 1923

The exhibition at Centre Pompidou of “Germany 1920’s, New Objectivity, August Sander” is so wide that one could have split it in two to make it more digestible with its 900 pictures. It presents overlapping narratives of post WWI years and has fantastic art and photographs. It is worth going, with a lot time at hand and a calm mood… German modernity and “New Objectivity” as it is called,  during the Weimar Republic 1918-1933, is particularly interesting due to the changes in German society. August Sander’s “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts (People of the 20 th Century) is a fascinating reflection and classification of the society of the time (from farmer to banker), a series which he only abandoned in 1934, after his son was arrested by the nazis. He called these portraits “assisted self-portraits”. Read More