Neo Romantics at Marmottan, a very intimate gathering with Patrick Mauriès

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Christian Bérard, Two self-portraits on the beach, 1933, Private collection © studio Christian Baraja SLB

As Erik Desmazières, director of Musée Marmottan Manet (and an artist himself), said while touring a group around, “I am happy that this exhibition is bringing back “tout ce petit monde”, this small world of artists on the front stage from which they had disappeared”. What he meant was that Christian Bérard, Eugene and Leonid Berman, Pavel Tchelitchew, Pierre Charbonnier, Alexandre Serebriakoff, Sir Francis Rose… did not receive the fame of their contemporaries and slowly disappeared. The exhibition “Neo Romantics, a forgotten moment in Modern Art, 1926-1972”, is a precious gathering of paintings, of decorative arts, refinement and friendship between artists who were all very close to each other and loved to party and abuse of substances. A very non politically correct world by today’s standards. And a very “gay” world which was particularly successful in the U.S. Read More

Photographer Patty Caroll, a breath of fresh air at Galerie XII

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Mad Mauve, 2018, Editon of 20, 2 500 € framed, ©Patty Carroll, Courtesy Galerie XII

I had wanted to visit this pretty gallery on rue des Jardins Saint Paul for a long time since I met its owner Valérie Anne Giscard d’Estaing at an art fair… Her choice of photographers is always fun and this new exhibition with Patty Caroll, the Chicago born artist, really made me laugh. The director of the gallery Camille Reynard discovered her work at “Les Rencontres photographiques d’Arles” and offered her this show. Her vision of women’s work at home is hilarious and very uplifting.Read More

Karen Knorr’s magical world is at Filles du Calvaire

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Pleasures of the Imagination, series CONNOISSEURS, 1986–1988 Courtesy Galerie Les filles du calvaire, Paris


American photographer Karen Knorr is always surprising. In her early career she photographed gentlemen’s clubs in London in black and white and these pictures have not aged a minute. Then she concentrated on shooting stuffed animals in French castles and museums. She travelled to India and spent months in palaces, had a bout in Japan with geishas and is back in London where she lives with her husband. Her French gallery Les Filles du Calvaire, in le Marais, is having a large exhibition of different moments of her life, on two floors under their wonderful glass roof. It is spectacular and not to be missed, until April 29.Read More

Germaine Richier is a fascinating sculptor at Centre Pompidou

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La Sauterelle, grande, 1955-1956, La Sauterelle, moyenne, 1945, La Sauterelle, petite, 1944, (The Grasshopper), a little heart is engraved in the large one.

The first woman to be exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, sculptor Germaine Richier (1902-1959), studied in Bourdelle’s studio from 1926 to 1929, and considered him as her mentor. Her works presented at Centre Pompidou until June 12, are so forceful that they could intimidate you at first, but the scenography by Laurence Fontaine on the 6 th floor of the museum, is light and aerial and the eye wanders with great ease. Born near Montpellier (1902-1959), Richier studied first there at the University of Arts before going up to Paris. At Bourdelle’s she met her future husband the Swiss Otto Bänninger and lived in Montparnasse among the artists of the time, Giacometti, Max Ernst, Picasso…

Le Crapaud, the Toad, 1940, Kunsthaus Zürich

Little known for most of the XX th century, she died young and left a very intriguing corpus of sculptures. Fascinated since childhood by the insects of the Mediterranean countryside and Camargue, she filled her studio with grasshoppers, bats, and mantises. She liked to create hybrid forms like her “Forest Man”, where parts of the work are in olive tree and parts in clay. And her studio partly recreated in the show is a wonderful mix of little studies, pieces of wood and metal, material and strange instruments.

Forest Man, second stage of creation, 1945, photo Hélène Mauri, Private collection

She read a lot and her imagination is nourished with ancient myths and fabulous monsters. Her “Six Headed horse” is one example and her various illustrated books are another. The most extraordinary part of the exhibition, besides the first room where sixteen heads welcome the visitor, is the room with wire sculptures started in 1946. Her sense of space is explored there and each sculpture seems to be dancing. A startling “Don Quixote” from the Pinault collection, “Diabolo”, “The Fight”, and  the suspended “Devil with Claws”,  from 1952 with its network of interlaced wires which hangs from the ceiling, are fabulous works.

Diabolo, 1950 © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Philippe Migeat/Dist. RMN-GP

The curator Ariane Coulondre was excellent in describing the different facets of the artist and recommended that we listen to her radio interviews which are aired in the studio. When asked if it was hard to be a woman sculptor at a time when there were mostly men, she said that she had never suffered for the situation, that good art had no genre. A series of colored sculptures presented with paintings by Zao Wou Ki and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, show us how intimate all these artists were in the 1950’s. A strong Christ in colored glass and led, ordered for the church of Breteuil (Oise) represents some of her research in other material and in color.

Agnès Varda, Germaine Richier in her studio, March 1956 © succession Agnès Varda

The show is very varied with multiple press clips and all aspects of her style from Bourdelle inspired fencers, to abstract stone in 1956. She became more and more daring with experience.

At Centre Pompidou until June 12.

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Karl Lagerfeld again! but by a master biographer…

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Karl Lagerfeld’s library studio at 7 rue de Lille where the book signing took place

There is something magical about a biography written in a firm style and meticulously researched. There are so many bad books published at the moment, like the completely superficial text on Carlos de Beistegui, that William Middleton’s “Paradise Now, the extraordinary life of Karl Lagerfeld” is a miraculous treasure. The author, whom I discovered with “Double Vision“, an extensive study of the De Mesnil’s partnership and collections, published exactly five years ago, moved to Paris to research the life of the couturier whom he had repeatedly met when he was running W and Women’s Wear daily’s Paris bureau. The beginning of the book is focused on Karl’s childhood, family andlove for 18 th century and his immense culture. The first 100 pages are totally riveting with a detailed description of his move to Paris and his first years in couture at Cours Norero. Read More

Tony Scherman has left us, what a loss…

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Tony Scherman lived in Toronto, he died at 73 last Thursday, March 2

One day, in 1997, Daniel Templon asked me if I would host a dinner party after the opening of a Tony Scherman exhibition at his gallery. And he mentioned the frightening detail that the Canadian painter was a very good cook! I managed to prepare a boeuf bourguignon which he enjoyed and served good wine. At the end of dinner, Tony and I were “best friends” for culinary reasons at least. For many years we kept in touch, he travelled often to Paris with his wife Margaret Priest and I went to see all his exhibitions in New York. I visited him in Toronto and he invited me to stay at their home and toured me around town, showing me his studio. He was so generous.

“Gettysburg” by Tony Sherman

One day, in 2007,  I was early for a meeting and stepped into his gallery Winston Wächter which was on the upper East side at the time. The exhibition, “About 1865”, was on the theme of the Civil War and I fell completely in love with “Gettysburg“, a large canvas featuring an impressive American Eagle. Back in Paris, I kept on looking at the photograph of it and ended up buying it.

When it arrived with DHL or FedEx, we had to break the very heavy wooden case and carry it up five flights because it did not fit in the elevator. Now that it is in my flat, it immediately attracts the visitor’s eye. It is riveting. And I often told Tony how impressive it was to everyone, adults and children alike.

Tony chose to pursue image and figuration, working exclusively in the uncommon wax and pigment encaustic technique.  Over the past 30 years, portraiture has become a primary subject matter that are his contemporary meditations encompassing villains and celebrities, bombshells and intellectuals.

One of the first paintings I saw of him at Templon

He died of cancer on Tuesday, February 28, in Toronto and his work is represented by Winston Wächter.

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L’Inondation, a wonderful surprise at Opéra Comique

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Chloé Briot seated (The Woman), Victoire Bunel (The Neighbor), Noram Nahoun, (La Jeune Fille), Photo S. Brion

The opera “l’Inondation” was first produced in 2019 at Opéra Comique with Chloé Briot and Boris Grappe as The Woman and The Man.  It is composed by Francesco Filidei, born in 1973 in Pisa, and trained at the French National Conservatory and at IRCAM, and written and directed by Joël Pommerat, one of France’s leading playwright. It is completely overwhelming and I was surprised to even like the music which is very contemporary. The Chamber orchestra directed by Leonhard Garms,  came from Luxembourg and was fascinating with all sorts of unknown instruments such as the bell from the Alps, a bicycle pump, a nightingale appeau, drum with friction, rocks, wind machine … New visual sounds, a rich orchestration which has a direct impact on the public. The music is totally modern and yet easy to understand. Read More

At Fondation Custodia, life is picking up again

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Egbert van Drielst, Douves and ruins of the Haar Castle in Haarzuilens, 1802, Royal Belgian Museum of Fine Arts, photo Johan @artphotosolution

Even the charming smile of Reinier Baarsen, curator of drawings at the Rijksmuseum, could not entirely dissipate the sadness of everyone at the Custodia Foundation, where the 25 staff are still mourning the sudden death of their cherished director Ger Luijten last December, but the quality of the two exhibitions helped everyone’s spirits. Luijten had conceived with each curator,  “Process” decorative arts drawings from the Rikjsmuseum and “The most marvelous (XVIII th century Dutch) drawings” from the Royal Belgian Museum of Fine Arts collected by Josephus and Jean de Grez. So he was still with all of us, while we were admiring the very rare pieces. Read More