Picasso, the Foreigner, by Annie Cohen Solal

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Récépissé de demande de carte d’identité, 1935 © Archives de la Préfecture de Police de Paris. © Succession Picasso 2021

Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration has never found a better role than with this exhibition “Picasso l’Etranger” (Picasso the Foreigner) curated by Annie Cohen Solal, the well known intellectual and excellent biographer of Jean Paul Sartre and Leo Castelli, who has written a very interesting book on Picasso’s immigration dramas in Paris after seven years of research in the police archives. The “greatest” artist of the 20 th century had a miserable time with the French police who listed him as an anarchist in 1901 and persecuted him for a long time. This show highlights the paintings he did while suffering in misery. It puts back a light on how tough artists’s lives can be even when they are acclaimed geniuses. And it points to the fact that Picasso spent his life in France and was never naturalized. Read More

Giacometti is on all fronts again

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Alberto Giacometti, Tall Woman II, 1960, Fondation Giacometti and Barbara Chase Riboud, Zanzibar, 1970, CNAP

Two exhibitions will lead you to two delightful little museums. One is at Institut Giacometti which you might already know near the Fondation Cartier with sculptor Barbara Chase-Riboud (Marc Riboud’s first wife and biographer of Sally Hemmings) and the second one is at Musée de la Libération de Paris, an interesting historical museum set on the premises of the Resistance’s headquarters place Denfert Rochereau. This one is devoted to Henri Rol-Tanguy (1908-2002), hero of the Liberation of Paris, who was painted and sculpted by Giacometti. Fourty pieces dating from 1946, give a new life to the museum, which is by itself a fascinating visit. Read More

Paul Signac as a collector at Musée d’Orsay

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Vincent Van Gogh, Two herrings, 1889, private collection © musée d’Orsay / Patrice Schmidt

Wandering through the exhibition of “Signac, the Collector” (1863-1935) at Musée d’Orsay is one of the most pleasant experiences I have lived recently. His own works are presented in the first rooms, with magistral paintings owned by the museum, but the surprise comes from his taste and friendships with many contemporaries such as Jongkind, Manet, Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne, etc. But also with lesser known painters such as Charles Angrand, Lucie Cousturier, Maximilien Luce or Gabriel Biessy. The show is a complete round up of the most excellent works the period had to offer and it is light and charming. It is curated by Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon and his great grand-daughter, Charlotte Hellman. Read More

A new gallery from Barcelona settles in the Marais

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Alberto de Udaeta, The wall I,  with works in chalk and lava by Julio Vaquero © Pigment Gallery

Pigment Gallery is a young contemporary art space created in 2016 in Barcelona and in Mallorca by the collector Ferran Josa. He has just inaugurated a beautiful space on two levels on rue du Roi de Sicile, at the heart of the Marais, with three French partners involved in the movie industry. So far focused on Spanish painters, photographers and sculptors, the gallery will now open its doors to French artists. The shows will change every two months. The first exhibition includes 100 works by 18 different artists among whom I particularly loved Marcelo Fuentes‘ small watercolors on paper, drawings by Marcos Isamat a scientist by training who holds a PHD in molecular genetics from Cambridge University, Aurelio San Pedro‘s tondo with books, Julio Vaquero‘s drawing in chalk an lava and Alberto de Udaeta‘s iron sculptures. Read More

Maria Lannino brings our dear Palermo to Paris.

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Maria Lannino, Palazzo Arcivescovile, July 2019, print on aluminium, 60 x 40 cm at Galerie Eeckhout

This week Paris Photo took over the Grand Palais Ephémère with 148 galleries from 25 countries, and it was fun to hear again all sorts of languages being spoken with a large group of German galleries from Berlin, new ones from South Africa and Morocco,  and the usual New Yorkers. But for us, long time fanatics of the fair, there was not much new. Many of the photographers had already exhibited in the galleries which were showing them and if, like me, you were a bit frustrated, do not miss the very strong exhibition at Galerie Xavier Eeckhout on 8 bis rue Jacques Callot of Maria Lannino‘s “Palermo” until November 20. There you will find poetry and style from an insider who was brought up in Sicily and has lived in Paris for twenty years with her husband, the auctioneer Alexandre Giquello. The pictures are printed on aluminum which gives them a very specific glow and Palermo’s life is as fascinating as ever!Read More

In Versailles, animals reign in lavish decors.

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Pierre Legros and Benoît Massou, Monkey riding a goat and watching right, 1673-1674, polychrome  lead, National Museum of Versailles

Driving to Versailles on a sunny day to see the exhibition “The King’s animals” was a very exciting moment, especially since I was accompanied by photographer Karen Knorr who often works with animals in museums and palaces and who was showing her works at Paris Photo. There were lots of children running around and loving the large elephants and birds painted by François Desportes or Nicolas Robert. And the very extensive exhibition (300 works) was never tedious thanks to great decors created by Alessandro Vicari and Guicciardini & Magni architects. Sculptures, paintings, porcelain, bronzes and furniture show how very much loved, animals were at court for over a century and Marie Antoinette is even featured hunting in 1783 painted by Louis Auguste Brun, dit Brun de Versoix.Read More

In Moscow, a French curator makes the news

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Yacob van Geel. Lanscape with a big tree. First half 18th century

While two Russians are in fashion in Paris at the moment, Ilya Repine and Morozov, French curator Jean Hubert Martin is creating the buzz at the Pushkin museum in Moscow. His exhibition, “Odd Convergences”  is similar in style to “Carambolages” which took place at Grand Palais five years ago. It  includes over 400 items mostly found by the curator in the galleries and storerooms of the famous museum, with some loans of contemporary works by foreign museums and collectors. “Deconstructing the conception of the museum as a temple or a huge archive with carefully arranged hierarchies, he proposes turning it into a play space, where visitors can discover similarities and differences that exist between artworks of different periods despite chronological and geographical distances. ” Since I could not travel to Russia, Sarah d’Amécourt, who is based in Moscow,  was gracious enough to report on the show which she loved.Read More

Vogue and the history of fashion are disappointing at Palais Galliera

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Christian Lacroix, wedding dress, 1987, © Stanislas Wolff, Paris Musées, Palais Galliera

Under Olivier Saillard‘s reign, Palais Galliera was a fun and glamorous Museum of Costume culminating with Comtesse Greffulhe’s exhibition. Now that the downstairs galleries have been completely transformed thanks to the generosity of  Chanel, it feels a little gloomy and dark. On the ground floor, the exhibition devoted to the 100 years of Vogue Paris, 1920-2020 is definitely understated. When I think of the fun we all had in the 1980’s on place du Palais Bourbon, I was very sad to see how stern the show is and how all the talent and craziness of genius photographers such as Bourdin, Mugler, Newton etc… had been cleaned in the scenography. Why did they not ask one of the (still alive) editors to help? “The History of Fashion” exhibited downstairs shows part of the fabulous collections with 350 items owned by the museum of the City of Paris from 18 th century Watteau style gowns to Comme des Garçons. It is a great pleasure to see all these impeccably kept dresses and accessories but the lighting is definitely wrong and again, there is no glamour to it. Read More