El Anatsui, a good reason to visit the Conciergerie

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Quest for Freedom, 2020, © Benjamin Gavaudo, CMN

The majestic XIV th century fireplaces of la Conciergerie, the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept prisoner during the Revolution, could not have been better adapted to show El Anatsui‘s metallic sculptures. The Ghanean artist who is present in all contemporary art fairs, uses discarded bottle tops and aluminum objects to create vast shiny curtains. I have always been fascinated by the poetry of his vernacular art. This monument located in Ile de la Cité next to the Court house has beautiful proportions and is managed by Centre des Monuments français, whose President Philippe Bélaval, has been confirmed for two more years. He is the man of the month in Paris with the opening of Hotel de La Marine on place de la Concorde, whose renovation he has driven for the last four years. And he is in charge of opening a Cité Internationale de la langue française in the château of Villers Cotterets, an hour North of Paris.  Valérie Senghor, the great niece of teh presidents of Senegal and poet Léopold Sédar Senghor,  is its director.Read More

Hyacinthe Rigaud in Versailles, don’t miss it!

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Hyacinthe Rigaud’s self portraits welcome the visitor in the exhibition © Didier Saulnier

This is probably the most gorgeous exhibition of the moment: it has been “unopened” for four months and closes on June 13. So if you have time to go to Versailles, do not miss this show of 150 portraits (mostly men) by Louis XIV th’ painter Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743). With a set designed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, it is the first retrospective of this master, who is best known for his “portrait en pied” of the Sun King showing his legs under the ermine of his royal costume.Read More

Leonardo Drew is strong at Galerie Lelong

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Leonardo Drew at work in Brooklyn, ©  photo Dede Young – Courtesy Galerie Lelong

At 60,  Leonardo Drew is now very famous in America but I had never seen any of his works and it was quite mesmerizing to discover, on a rainy morning, his wood sculptures at Galerie Lelong (until July 13). The power which emanates from his pieces is fantastic. Born in Tallahassee, Florida, and raised in the projects in Bridgeport, Ct, with a unique view on the City dump, Drew started early on creating works from discarded objects. “I came to realize this place as God’s mouth”  he once said. He started drawing for publicity at age 13 and studied later at Parsons and Cooper Union in New York. His large installation in Madison Square Park in New York in 2017, was a major moment in his artistic life. He is collected by the greatest museums in the world and now lives and works in Brooklyn.Read More

A l’étoile d’Or, a wonderful vestige of the past

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Meryl Streep, when she is in her flat in Montmartre, comes down to buy the Coussin de Lyon, a chocolate ganache with almond paste made by Voisin

Denise Acabo has been running “A l’Etoile d’Or”, the most exquisite chocolate shop for almost fifty years, on rue Pierre Fontaine, in the trendy 9 th arrondissement. With her long blond braids, she looks more like Bécassine than like a business woman and it is very charming. She is proud of her Italian ancestors, and mostly of the diversity of French sweets and chocolates that she sells, and for all she has explanations as to the health benefits you can get from them. To visit her shop is like having a pure moment of nostalgia and her products are delicious.Read More

Napoléon in full majesty at la Villette

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Napoleon’s funeral chariot in Sainte Hélène, ca 1815, wood an metal, Château de Malmaison et Bois-Préau

With la Grande Halle de la Villette, a gigantic cultural space set in the former meat market, in the North of Paris, Emperor Napoléon has found a perfect celebration spot two hundred years after he died on the island of Sainte Hélène 2 600 kms west of Angola… The exhibition which is just opening there instead of at the Grand Palais (under renovation), was set in the most lavish way with a group of scenographers and architects, worth the coronation itself. It is the perfect show to go and see with children or foreign friends. The two outstanding moments are the huge screen reproducing the animated version of the Sacre in Notre Dame, a painting by Jacques Louis David which could not come from the Louvre because of its size (621 X 979 cm). And the simple trolley which carried the emperor’s body in Sainte Hélène. Read More

Musée Carnavalet has great surprises after a four year renovation.

parisdiaarchitecture, Art, furniture, History, photography8 Comments

The decor of the Queen of Saba for the Ball room of the Wendel house on avenue de New York was painted by José Maria Sert in 1925, photo Pierre Antoine

Musée Carnavalet has been closed for four years but it was worth waiting and spending 58 million € under the supervision of Chatillon architects. Nathalie Crinière was in charge of the museography. Valérie Guillaume, its director since 2013, introduced our visit with a very politically correct speech on the importance of caring to young visitors and on the increase of exhibition space devoted to the prehistorical period to the 20 th century of the history of Paris.  The new rooms dedicated to archeology and medieval sculptures on the floor below ground are spectacular and the period rooms recreated on the first floor stunning. There was too much energy spent on museography but the 3 800 objects and paintings are there to prove how rich Paris history is. The entrance is free and the visit is really worthwhile. Wear flat shoes, there are lots of stairs and walking… Read More

In Rambouillet, antiques make a come back with Gabriel Wick

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La Laiterie de la reine, (the Queen’s milk room) was conceived and designed by Hubert Robert at Louis XVI th’ request.

Château de Rambouillet is not the most interesting building in the world but this new exhibition, “Vivre à l’Antique“, curated by Gabriel Wick  and Renaud Serrette, makes us discover fantastic wood panelings and la Laiterie, a building conceived by Louis XVI with painter Hubert Robert to lure Marie Antoinette into this hunting lodge which the king loved particularly of its rich reserve of animals. The Queen only came once but this little jewel of a building gave the occasion to Sèvres porcelain manufacture to create ravishing cups with cows, goats, sheep and tits supported by goat heads. It also inspired beautiful marble medallions by Pierre Julien on the theme of milking, butter making and breastfeeding. All of this with a Greek and Roman influence.Read More

At Galerie Maria Lund, Lyndi Sales lands from South Africa

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“Radiating fulfillment”, 2021, acrylic on paper, 6 500€

Born in 1973, in Johannesburg, Lyndi Sales has become in the last twenty years, one of South Africa’s most prominent artist. She represented her country at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and this is her fourth exhibition at Galerie Maria Lund, “On being” (until June 19). From her studio in Cape Town, she is searching for an elsewhere and is searching for a reunion. An escape to better connect to the world, to others, to herself. A love quest in the platonic sense, where love means a progression towards the knowledge of beauty and in fine the access to the indivisible. Read More