Sheila Hicks glitters on rue de Seine and at Mobilier National

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At Galerie Zlotowski, “Beldrick”, Paris 2018, astronomers laid to rest with tombstone of giant shell

American textile artist, Sheila Hicks, was one of the acclaimed artists at FIAC with galerie Zlotowski and she is exhibited on 20 rue de Seine as well as at Galerie des Gobelins, the Mobilier national museum for furniture and tapestry, where her new installation is taking place in the chapel. The American artist has lived in Paris since 1964 and had a retrospective at Centre Pompidou in 2018. She was inspired during her studies at Yale University in 1954, by her professor Josef Albers’s “exercises in the interaction of color” and by his wife textile artist Anni Albers, whose fabulous works can be seen at the moment at MAM, the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris.  Read More

Gustave de Staël dreams with ink at Galerie Documents 15

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Tempest, 2020, Ink and gouache on paper

Three years ago, Gustave de Staël had already shown his drawings with his wife Elena Prentice at Galerie Documents 15. He is back with views of Tangiers, more mature and assertive, with a mix of city and nature topics. His pen is dynamic with broken strokes and he draws very oniric  landscapes. There is no realism there but one can imagine one’s own landscape with moving shapes and contrasted shades. Country, cities, forests, appear like a reinvented world full of poetry. I particularly liked his constructions in “Coup de Vent” (blowing wind) and “Turbulence” where strokes of ink go wild. Read More

Annie Leibovitz is disconcerting at Académie des Beaux Arts

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David Byrne, Los Angeles, 1986, © Annie Leibovitz

She is such a legend in the world of photography that I was surprised to actually see and even talk to Annie Leibovitz at the presentation of her exhibition at Pavillon Comtesse de Caen. The 72 year old photographer, an admirer of Henri Cartier- Bresson an Robert Frank, who started working for Rolling Stone magazine in 1970 while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, had just flown in the day before from New York and says she was crying of emotion on the plane. She was awarded the William Klein Photography Prize on the recommendation of photographer Sebastiaõ Salgado whom she describes as “He has God in him”. The show is chronological with 200 photographs selected with her art director and pinned on the walls without any frame. The modesty of the hanging is a stark contrast with the famous people she portrays from John Lennon and Yoko Ono to Keith Haring and the Queen of England.Read More

In Sceaux, the Musée du Grand Siècle already whispers…

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Pierre-Denis Martin, dit le Jeune, View of Château de Pontchartrain from the front, ca 1700

I was by chance at Château de Sceaux with two hours to spare and noticed that the Pavilion for the Prefiguration of the Musée du Grand Siècle was open in the petit château, a ravishing house in the old part of town. So I knocked on the door and Etienne Faisant, a specialist of 17 th century architecture, who was recently hired by his former professor Alexandre Gady, the director of the museum, opened. I had not realized that I was entering the new and fairly secret spot where the Museum wanted by Pierre Rosenberg was being born. This project devised with the regretted Patrick Devedjian, President of the Conseil général des Hauts de Seine, will house the 673 paintings, 3 502 drawings and 50 000 books collected by the former President of the Louvre over a 60 year career. He was an admirer of Nicolas Poussin all his life but sadly does not own one. His collections range from 15 th century to 20 th century and also include 805 glass animals from Murano. The prefiguration museum can be visited on the week ends from 1pm to 5pm or by reservation. Read More

Gustave Moreau’s ravishing watercolors of La Fontaine’s Fables open at the Museum

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Allegory of the Fable, 10 July 1979, Private collection

Musée Gustave Moreau can be a bit dreary at times with its dark 1860 studio and huge canvases, but the exhibition of the symbolist master’s 34 watercolor illustrations of Fables de La Fontaine curated by Dominique Lobstein is a pure moment of magic and poetry. It already was shown at Waddesdon Manor, in Great Britain, the summer. Designed by Hubert le Gall, who had the idea of framing each preparatory drawing or final watercolor in coded colors, the exhibition gives a light touch to the sanctuary. There were originally 64 watercolors commissioned by collector Antony Roux between 1879 and 1884 which were painted in the very premises of 14 rue la Rochefoucauld, where we see them. Read More

Books, Books, Books…

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Pierre-Louis Pierson, “Scherzo di Follia”, portrait of Virginia, 1863-1866

There have never been so many books coming out, all on fascinating topics, as if publishers were trying to catch up on lost times. Benedetta Craveri, who made a name to herself in the US in 1982 and in France with her book on “Madame du Deffand and her world”, is publishing at Flammarion a biography with a flashy title,  “La Contessa”,  of Virginia Verasis di Castiglione who was both Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel II’s lover, but also seduced the Duc d’Aumale, the banker Charles Laffitte, Robert d’Orléans, and so many more… She was a spy for Cavour at a very young age, and mostly remained in our memories thanks to the multiple photographs she commissioned from Pierre-Louis Pierson which are often exhibited at Musée d’Orsay and at the Metropolitan museum.Read More

Mugler makes a show at MAD

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Helmut Newton, Thierry Mugler with Jerry Hall, 1996, 1996, The Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin © The Helmut Newton Estate

I was looking forward to finding the beloved Thierry Mugler at MAD’s “Couturissime” with all the creations that we discovered year after year in the 1980’s but was disappointed by the overdone and glittery costumes. No emotion just partying. Which of course pleased enormously the crowds of the Fashion week and correspond well to the spirit of the designer who revolutionized style with photographers such as Helmut Newton and his own shots. Mugler is now called Manfred and his company and perfume were bought from Clarins by L’Oréal in 2019. The opening party was offered by the legendary beauty group and the atmosphere of the fashion shows and multiple musicals or plays for which he designed costumes was at full speed. I just regretted not seeing more of his perfect cuts for daily suits or dresses which anyone could wear and look stylish in.

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FIAC, Moderne Art Fair and Asia Now, what a race!

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Chiaru Shiota’s installation at Templon, Asia Now,  was a big hit

FIAC is every year a moment of gathering for International art lovers in Paris and the new building of Grand Palais Ephémère on the Champs de Mars, proved again its excellence. It was added on with a large tent for young artists and the luxury of  smoking cigarettes or just getting some fresh air in the gardens facing the Eiffel Tower was a bonus. But galleries were very traditional in their choices and I found it quite disappointing. So I escaped to the Champs Elysées where Moderne Art Fair took place for the first time. There were a  few decorative art galleries and the tribute to Bénédicte Pesle moved me very much. But I really went for a French artist from the north, Sébastien Bayet, who creates canvases with patchworks. The fireworks of the week was the opening of the seventh edition of Asia Now, the Asian art fair which celebrated Iran this year. It was pouring rain, the dim sum chef was desperate and had to fold but the atmosphere was electrical and some of the artists exceptional. Read More