I already told you last May about Nathalie Jeanson, the great French Pro, who took over the management of Golf Paris Longchamp, the golf practice in the Bois de Boulogne. Well, I went recently to check out the changes and had lunch at Le Restaurant du Golf, which opens all day and serves lunch but no dinner. My first surprise was to run into a number of elegant friends who seem to use it as their cantina in the middle of the week, when the weather is pretty.
The sun was shining over the Grand Palais for the opening of ArtParis, the first art fair to be held since February. The 112 courageous galleries who committed to attend were so happy and optimistic. Claude Bernard, could not be missed just in front of the entrance, with his four Spanish artists from the gallery. Templon had his usual stable of Gérard Garouste, Kehinde Wiley and Pierre & Gilles (also at his gallery of rue Beaubourg). Jeanne Bucher showed Vieira da Silva and Fermin Aguayo, Jean François Cazeau had a beautiful “Red fish and chrysanthemums” by André Masson and Picasso etchings. I personally fell in love with fabric works by Ayako Miyawaki from Galerie Frédéric Moisan, on rue Mazarine. A whole wall of beautiful patchworks with crabs, fishes and flowers. It was fun to try and recognize everyone behind their masks and eye contact was more active than ever! A new seduction technique…Read More
If you arrive early for your train at Gare Montparnasse or if you have a half hour to spare upon arrival, cross the street and walk into the super modern Musée de la Poste. It is a curiosity in Montparnasse and there are some fun surprises. From the beginning of the telephone system which used to be part of the PTT, to the organisation of post offices all around France, to the use of donkeys in mountainous areas, it is a pretty history of the mailing system since the 17 ht century.Read More
Château de Chantilly has been undergoing many restructurations in the last twenty years and the latest news is that Institut de France is now the only master aboard after the generous benefactor, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, has decided to move to Portugal. The first exhibition under the new era had to be a huge success and it is. Inaugurated last Saturday by Xavier Darcos, chancellor of the Institut, the show was an idea of Prince Amin Aga Khan who developed it with curator Mathieu Deldicque and the museum of Dresden: “La Fabrique de l’Extravagance” (Creating Extravagance) is a glamorous, exciting and beautiful dialogue between two Princes, thanks partly to the scenography by Peter Marino (who staged the Zwinger museum for porcelain in Dresden) and largely to the work produced by the curators. Chantilly is back as the leading palatial museum near Paris under the administration of Christophe Tardieu who already promised many new attractions like outdoor cinema. Nicole Garnier, curated a Carmontelle exhibition of pastels and gouaches which is adorable.Read More
I love the 9 th arrondissement, which used to be called La Nouvelle Athènes in the 19 th century, because of all the artists who had their studio there. And Gustave Caillebotte was one of them who worked from place Clichy and painted the area of Gare Saint Lazare extensively. So it was a great relief to have dinner at restaurant Caillebotte last night and to find it absolutely delightful. Daniel Marchesseau, who is preparing a Caillebotte exhibition at Fondation Pierre Giannada in Martigny for next June (the catalog is finished), told me it was a place for the young, which of course immediately convinced me to go. I brought a young and an older companion, to make sure our impressions would be fair. And we all loved the place, which is pretty, the head waiter is charming, and the food was excellent. What else can you ask for?Read More
Everyone is anxious at the idea of “going back to school” and leaving their calm country life to resume the traffic jams in Paris and the craziness of la Rentrée. September is traditionally intense and this year, it is ten times more so since all the weddings, art openings, book launches of June have been postponed till September. So to cheer you up here are some good news. The Paris Opera has a new director Alexander Neef, who arrived a year early, thanks to Roselyne Bachelot, our minister of culture who loves opera. Château de Chantilly is having the first opening of the season, with Meissen versus Chantilly porcelain curated by Mathieu Deldicque, in a decor signed by Peter Marino. Théâtre des Champs Elysées is starting on September 16 with Bob Wilson’s Der Messias and the heather is blooming at Morfontaine with the consecration last Sunday of a new 14 year old champion, Joseph Linel from Biarritz. ArtParis starts on Thursday at Grand Palais and gardener Louis Benech is signing his new book of International gardens, written by Eric Jansen at Galignani on Thursday. What else do we need? Read More
The city of Montauban, located an hour north of Toulouse, is famous for many reasons and at the moment primarily for its two great artists, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Emile Antoine Bourdelle born six years before the master’s death. Last December, it reopened its museum after three years of restoration and 13 million €, and visitors have come in large groups all summer to see forty four paintings and 4 500 drawings by the master painter, and 68 sculptures and more drawings by the sculptor. If the Louvre and Musée Bourdelle in Paris, each own more of their works, Musée Ingres Bourdelle has a particularity which is delightful: it sets them in their milieu, showing what a great teacher Ingres was with so many brilliant followers like Chassériau, Flandrin, Gérôme and Cambon.
The first great visual pleasure is to enter the courtyard of what used to be the 17 th century Palais Episcopal (Bishop’s palace) with its delightful red bricks and two new glass pavilions which host the ticket office and convenience rooms. It was built in 1663-1680 by Pierre III de Berthier, at the same time as the cathedral, after the city was recovered from the protestants by Cardinal de Richelieu. After the Revolution, it became the town hall until 1909 and Musée Ingres, created in 1843, and enlarged when Ingres offered his collection in 1867, took over the building from that time. A room next to the (delightful) tea room is devoted to he history of the museum.
For the last ten years, Director Florence Viguier-Dutheil has been fighting for the renovation of the museum and nothing was easy. Bach Nguyen, the architect who won the competition, sadly died of pancreatic cancer after a few months of the construction work and his wife Stéphane had to take over. The few structural works which had to be done in this listed building were at first vetoed by the Monuments Historiques and thus the permit was delayed for a few years. These were mainly, the two beautiful and discrete glass pavilions in the courtyard and the extra floor (entresol) built inside the monument on the second floor to provide space to see the 4 500 Ingres drawings. They were finally approved thanks to the patience and determination of the museum team.
I enjoyed watching a short video on the website of the museum where the glass manufacturer is shown installing the cubes. At the entrance of the galleries, a short exhibition called “Constellation” gives an introduction to the work of both Ingres and Bourdelle with examples of their followers. The Louvre, Musée Picasso, Rodin and Bourdelle have lent some important works including “Portrait of Paul as Arlequin” by Picasso inspired by Ingres, and Martial Raysse’s “La Grande Odalisque” an acrylic from 1964. The painting in this section which struck me the most was “Madame de Loynes”‘s portrait by Amaury-Duval. He was a student of Ingres and a parent of Chassériau, she was a famous courtesan.
After seeing Ingres’ early works, the decor of his house, his personal paintings and the different portraits of his family and friends, it’s quite wonderful to understand his fascination for Raphaël and for Italian painters whom he knew well because he lived in Rome for many years first as a student then as the director of Villa Medicis (1835-1841). There is a charming painting by Jean Alaux showing him playing the violin in his Roman studio in 1818.
It is worth taking the time to go through the drawings which are kept in large wooden chests designed by Bach Nguyen. They are all fascinating and through them you get to revisit some of the most famous portraits like “Portrait of M. Bertin” or “Le Bain Turc” which you can go and see again at the Louvre afterwards… His own collection of Italian early paintings like Masolino Di Panicale or a copy of Raphaël’s Cross bearing, are illuminating. A room dedicated to his disciple and executor Armand Cambon, who became director of the museum, is also very interesting. But of course it is Chassériau’s incredible nude of a flying black man which is the attraction of the last rooms of the museum.
There are many nudes inspired to his followers by his odalisques and a wonderful Saint Jérome by José de Ribera. I particularly liked the high ceiling room with large formats including Jean Pierre Franque‘s “Jupiter asleep in Juno’s arms on mount Ida” ca 1821. It could well be used by today’s feminists who would be happy to see a tamed Jupiter, fully contented after lovemaking in his dominating mistress’s arms. The painter was a sheep keeper who engraved rocks in the countryside. Thanks to an aristocratic lady who was crossing his village, he was introduced to Jacques Louis David who taught him for free. He eventually painted a decor for the Elysée Palace. This large painting was recently taken out of the reserve and restored and shows remarkable clashes of color between reds and pinks.
A whole floor is dedicated to sculptor Bourdelle, also a Montauban born (1861) artist, who admired Ingres and is represented through 68 sculptures and many drawings. His bust of Emile Garrison and Professor Rousset, of Beethoven, Rodin and Rembrandt, complement a large plaster of Herakles archer, and his projects for Théâtre des Champs Elysées. The musée Bourdelle and studio in Paris is also a must.
Downstairs, the foundations of the building hide a large cave where you can discover archeological pieces and a video installation, “L’oeil de la machine” by Miguel Chevalier until December 15.
The visit ended with a nice tea and cakes (from the nearby Alexandres patisserie) in the pretty cafeteria where Florence Viguier told us about next year’s exhibition around Philippe, Duc d’Orléans, King Louis Philippe’s eldest son, who was prematurely killed in an accident in 1842. You will have understood by now that this museum is much more than an exhibition place for Ingres and Bourdelle. It tells the story of their careers which both started in Montauban, their attachment to their town and the vivid image they have left. I tis all about the city’s greatness.
Musée Ingres Bourdelle, Montauban. There is a train from Paris Montparnasse which reaches Montauban in 4 hours and the town is ideal for a week end visit.
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Auch is a little town of 20 000 inhabitants in the Gers of which it is the Préfecture and the gastronomical capital. This is where d’Artagnan (from the Trois Mousquetaires) reigned. In Roman times it was on the road from Arles to Toulouse and Bordeaux and thus very prominent economically. One of its oldest houses, Maison Fédel, dates from the 15 th century, the cathedral Sainte Marie is a beauty with stained glass by Arnaud de Moles and its 113 oak stalls in the choir representing 1 500 saints and other characters from the Bible. It is on one of the Santiago de Compostel pilgrimage path. But what brought me to Auch, is the special visit organized by Laure Martin for the Friends of Printemps de septembre in Toulouse, of the Musée des Amériques which is housed in a former Couvent des Jacobins. It is a true jewel and the largest collection of pre hispanic art after Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac including a rare collection of 7 feather paintings.Read More