The Machu Picchu show at the Trocadero, what a nightmare!

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Head of Ai Apaec with wrinkles, ceramic Stirrup-spout bottle, Moche culture, Larco Museum Lima

First you book your ticket, 23€ on a special ticketmaster website. Then you queue on place du Trocadero to walk into the Cité de l’Architecture, then you are sent downstairs and you queue again in a dark and narrow corridor with too many people around. Some are masked. Then you enter a smallish room where you are told to pack and you are locked in for three minutes to watch a soulless film on the jungle around Machu Picchu. Then you are allowed to enter the very crowded  exhibition. A nightmare. So when you finally walk in, you feel like you are at Disneyland with bright blue lighting and the precious precolumbian objects seem artificial. What a waste! I felt totally claustrophobic but I survived.

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In le Mans, Musée de Tessé is a find

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Jacques Laumosnier, Portrait of Maréchal de Tessé, after 1703

I drove to Morbihan for Easter week end and thought it would be fun to stop in Le Mans for once. It is two hours west of Paris and has the most charming old city around Cathédrale Saint Julien. After booking a bed and breakfast with a view of the cathedral from my bed, I walked around the old quarter, which has many shops for musical instruments, and enjoyed the views of the old houses with beams. But the revelation was Musée de Tessé, which always lends the most amazing paintings to International exhibitions of 17th-18 th century and whose collections are based on revolutionary seizures from religious institutions, in 1792. Read More

Yes he made it! and lily of the valley is out early

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Emmanuel Macron with the Eiffel Tower in the background

Thank God for lilac and lily of the valley coming out on Sunday. I was so nervous about the outcome of the elections (followed by 1400 journalists) which I feared could be a terrible surprise like Brexit, that I spent the day picking flowers. The date was bad because in the middle of the Spring vacations and the atmosphere so negative for Macron that one feels that half of the votes were “anti” rather than “for”. No-one seemed to notice how sturdy he was with the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) crisis, Notre Dame burning, the Covid and the war in Ukraine… Thank you for all your kind messages at 8 pm! It seemed that you all cared for France and for our future.Read More

“Ma Famille Afghane”, a soothing new animated film

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Herra with her adopted son and her husband’s father

Ma Famille Afghane” (My Sunny Maad in English) is the great surprise (animated) film of the spring. Made by Michaela Pavlátová, who runs the Academy of performative arts in Prague, it is the story of Herra, a beautiful Czech Economics student who meets Nazir, an Afghan, at university, and decides to follow him to Kabul in 2001. Adapted from a novel Freshta by Petra Procházkova, it won many prizes and was nominated to the Golden Globes 2021. Because Herra cannot get pregnant, she adopts a young singular boy Maad, who will change the whole family’s synergy. the drawings are spectacular and the story very well developed far from extremisms.Read More

Eugène Leroy is a good surprise at MAM

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Portrait (Valentine), ca 1940

I have to admit I did not know Eugène Leroy‘s paintings and the very large (169 works) exhibition at Musée d’Art Moderne Paris, is a revelation. This artist from Tourcoing, who lived to be 90, had different themes of predilection and the clever design of the exhibition set in a multitude of intimate white rooms, devotes a special space to each of his passions. The last very large space lit with natural zenithal light is devoted to landscapes and marines and is a true display of fireworks. Suitably enough, the first room concentrates on the two women of his life, Valentine, whom he met when he was a teenager (she died in 1979), and Marina, the companion of the last twenty years. There had not been a exhibition of his work since 1988 and it was at the same MAM museum, then curated by the legendary Suzanne Pagé.Read More

“The Theatre of Emotions” at Musée Marmottan-Monet, did not move me

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Johannes Moreelse, “Marie Madeleine repenting”, ca 1630, Caen Musée des Beaux Arts

An art critic friend of mine told me that if I wasn’t moved by the show “Le Théâtre des Emotions” at Musée Marmottan-Monet, it meant it was too intellectual for me… Which I concede. The paintings gathered here are all interesting and some of them are even beautiful, but I never found the link between them. Yes “Le verrou de Fragonard” (Fragonard’s bolt) is lent by the Louvre and it is a fascinating work about desire and fear, but why include Alberto Giacommeti’s “Large Head”, Hans Richter’s “Visionary portrait” at the end of the show? I loved of course the room with lovers which includes a Courbet and an Emile Friant. The theme of madness is also well treated. And children are charming. The scenography is as always exquisite. But do these emotions relate to each other?Read More

The news of Easter week

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Marina Rebeka, in tears, while the public gave her a standing ovation, with conductor Maurizio Benini and Orchestre de Chambre de Paris at TCE

The first wonderful surprise of the week was to hear Marina Rebeka in Anna Bolena by Donizetti at Théâtre des Champs Elysées. She replaced at the last minute Sonya Yoncheva who was sick and will sing again next month at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam. If you are around, make sure to book your ticket. She is just amazing in the part. Karine Deshayes had also replaced Marianne Crebassa as Jane Seymour and this last minute reshuffling gave a special resonance to the evening where the public literally went wild. At Galerie David Zwirner, the Brazilian artist Lucas Arruda, paints silence in the jungle with a magic light. A new galerie Raphael Durazzo opens on rue du Cirque, next to Place Beauvau with a group of German post war painters and the very trendy Kamel Mennour sides with the mythical Claude Bernard to show Maryan, the Polish painter (1927-1977) whose estate he has taken over.Read More

Marcel Proust and his mother at MahJ

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Marcel Proust, 1892, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Marcel Proust was baptized but he loved his mother who was Jewish. At Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme, Professor Antoine Compagnon and curator Isabelle Cahn have produced an exhibition on the writer’s Jewish world with -disappointingly- already well known paintings recently shown at Musée Carnavalet and at IMA. The greatest discovery of the show is Baruch Weil, 1780-1828, his great grand-father on his mother’s side, who was born in Alsace and conquered Paris with his successful porcelains. He became the official circumciser of the first Parisian synagogue in Paris, on rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth which he helped finance and built in 1822. He was vice president of the French Jewish Welfare Committee. He married twice, had thirteen children, founded a successful porcelain factory in Fontainebleau and died at 48! He received the Legion of honor from King Charles X. What a character. And this Thursday 21 April at 8 pm, the Quatuor Tchalik, will play César Franck with their sister Dania at the piano. This talented family of Russian parents, is composed of Gabriel and Louise, violins, Sarah, alto and Marc, cello. Read More