Maria Helena Vieira Da Silva in three cities

Unitled, 1955,  © Prudence Cuming Associates, Courtesy Waddington Custot, London

Often when I visit Salon du Dessin in Paris or more recently FIAC, my eye is stopped by a curious painting and it is by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, a Portuguese artist who became French in 1956. Her unique semi abstract style has always fascinated me whether it is an oil on canvas or a gouache on paper. Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, who was the first one to show her work in France, in 1930, has organized a retrospective of her works until November 16. Waddington Custot will follow in London until February 2 and Di Donna Galleries in New York from 27/3 to 29/5. So you have three chances to see this amazing collection of paintings, which are all for sale.Read More

Café des Ministères is reborn, on Place du Palais Bourbon

Oyster from Normandy and sausage from Toulouse with Granny Smith apple

There is nothing that pleases me more than to have a good dinner, cooked and served by an enthusiastic young couple who have faith in tasty food.  This is what I found at Café des Ministères, a restaurant that Roxane and Jean Sévègres took over last February, a few meters from the Assemblée Nationale. He comes from Cahors in the Lot, and she from Lorient, in Brittany. They share a great mix of specialities which lead them to serving oyster with sausage, a delicious starter.

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Pinault versus Arnault, is there a winner?

Tadao Ando, Bourse du Travail, model for the future Pinault Collection exhibited at Centre Pompidou in 2018

At the time when Bernard Arnault is seen shaking hands with Donald Trump on the 8 o’clock news, inaugurating a Louis Vuitton factory in Texas (what about the “made in France”?), while France has 9,1% unemployment, it is important to read this new book by Jean Gabriel Fredet, “The secret war of art billionaires” (unfortunately only in French at the moment). It is a perfect instant photography of the art market in 2019, and a clever analysis of what drives the two richest art collectors in France, François Pinault, 83, and Bernard Arnault, 70, into constant rivalry.Read More

Zloty, an experienced graffiti artist with a child’s mind

Zloty today, photo galerie Mathgoth, Paris

Gérard Zlotykamien (Zloty), became the first graffiti artist in the world, when he traced his  “Ephémères” in Great Britain in 1963. Today at 79, he is painting an empty wall in a children’s park, at 44 rue du Dessous des Berges, in the 13 th arrondissement. It is a joyful fresco painted in acrylic, which perfectly matches the playground beneath it. This conjunction of space and talent is due to Mathilde and Gautier Jourdain, from Mathgoth gallery who only represent street artists and are showing 55 years of his work at the gallery. This is their tenth large project in the 13 th arrondissement and their 45 th in France.Read More

Leonardo, reigns over the Louvre

Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of a young man holding a partition,  The Musician, ca 1483-1490, Milan, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, © Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

To celebrate the 500 th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death (1452-1519), the Louvre has assembled 160 of his works including 11 paintings. Mona Lisa stayed in her own room so that visitors can keep coming to see her but the “Virgin and child” from the Duke of Buccleuth’s collection, and the “Belle Ferronière” are there to testify of the artist’s genius. “St Ann, the Virgin and Jesus” from the Louvre as well as “Isabelle d’Este” are also attending. After the marvelous drawing exhibition at Buckingham palace this spring and the tantalizing Verocchio retrospective in Florence, the Louvre is surpassing itself thanks to Vincent Delieuvin et Louis Frank, co curators of the show.

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J.R. in Brooklyn, a magical adventure!

Expo 2 Rue, Action in Paris, 2001-4

You might have heard of street artist J.R., a French born, Brooklyn resident, graffiti-photographer, who uses street art to make the world better. Agnès Varda shot a documentary “Faces Places“, around small French villages with him in 2017,  just before she died last March.  A large retrospective of his actions,” J.R Chronicles” is at the Brooklyn Museum until May 3. It is the most striking show I have been confronted to recently for it encompasses all major world dramas, including Israel and Palestine, favelas in Brazil, the Mexican wall and its illegal children, women in Liberia and Kenya… and suggests an artistic solution.Read More

Greco, at Grand Palais, like you have never seen him

Sainte Marie-Madeleine pénitente, 1576-1577, Budapest, Szépm vészeti Múzeum, gift from Marcell Nemes, 1921, © Selva / Bridgeman Images

The Greco retrospective curated by Guillaume Kientz at Grand Palais is the greatest surprise of the week in its modernity and its freshness. Never have the paintings by the famous artist from Crete, looked so contemporary. 71 works are hanging on white walls in the long space usually devoted to photography. If you dreaded seeing too many of his oblong faces, don’t worry, his Maria Magdalena is very sensuous, his St Joseph looks like a sweet grandfather and there is even a polychrome wood statue of a muscular Christ in a gigantic tabernacle. Read More

Virtual shopping at the Paris FIAC

Lucio Fontana, “Donna allo specchio”, polychrome ceramic, 1951, Galerie Karsten Greve Paris

Everyone was complaining that there were long lines at the VIP opening on Wednesday morning, so I went on Thursday and walked in calmly at the Grand Palais for the 46 th edition of FIAC (Foire internationale d’art contemporain) organized by Jennifer Flay. I did not make any discoveries but really enjoyed a number of sculptures which represented the best of (mostly) European creation including an amazing early ceramic by Lucio Fontana done in 1951. So here is my virtual shopping list.Read More