Alone, at night, with La Joconde

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Céline Martel and Victorien Disse in front of “Wedding feast at Cana” by Paolo Veronese.

A few hundred members of “Les Amis du Louvre” were brave enough to walk through Paris in the middle of the strike, to honor the invitation, last Tuesday night when the museum was closed, to a private visit of the new “Salle des Etats” where Mona Lisa is exhibited. The huge room, painted in a combination of midnight blue and black layers, is spectacular and sees between twenty and thirty thousand visitors a day!  Facing the small Leonardo portrait, is the impressive “Wedding at Cana” (9,94 m by 6,77 m) by Paolo Veronese, which is the topic of Cynthia Saltzman‘s book, to be published in 2021 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux “Plunder: Napoleon’s theft of Veronese’s Feast”. It was originally painted for the Order of Saint Benedict in Venice to decorate the far wall of the refectory at San Gorgio  Maggiore.Read More

“Another Christmas” for children refugees! Quai Branly style

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This year children will be able to learn how to weave an Afghan carpet, photo Xavier Pierre

President Jacques Chirac, who created the “Prize for Prevention of Conflicts”, would have been happy to see this very special Christmas celebration at his Musée du Quai Branly. On December 29, between 2 and 6 pm, everyone is welcome to bring old and new toys for the Rohingya children refugees in Bangladesh. the afternoon is organized by the UN Agency for refugees and ASF, Aviation sans frontière (Aviation without borders), who transport the toys. Volunteers from Voisins le Bretonneux in the Yvelines come to help wrap the presents.Read More

MAD at its best !

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Johann Christian Neuber, snuffbox, ca 1765-1770, Dresden. Throughout the museum pieces given by the Marchesa are signaled by this pink lady

If you don’t want to queue at the Louvre during this holiday season, try MAD, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, around the corner, which has four interesting exhibitions at the moment, including one on their very special benefactor, Marchesa Arconati Visconti (1840-1923), who inherited a large fortune from her Italian husband when he died, in 1876, of typhoid fever. She bequeathed hundreds of objects to the Museum and to the Louvre as well as to Musée des Beaux Arts de Lyon. Going through the galleries on a treasure hunt, (every item she gave is signaled with a pink label), you will rediscover many period rooms and the newly lit jewelry gallery, while following the steps of this great art historian and generous collector.  The visit conducted by curator Anne Forray-Carlier, deputy director of MAD, was fascinating.Read More

Mes chaussettes rouges, socks, chic and shock ….

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Jacques Tiberghien and Vincent Metzger, the two partners of Mes Chaussettes rouges

It all started with the Italian brand Gammarelli which became famous over the years as the provider of red socks for the Cardinals in the Vatican and French Prime minister Edouard Balladur. Two young graduates from business school, Jacques Tiberghien and Vincent Metzger,  decided ten years ago to acquire the company and have since travelled a long way around the world. Their cashmere (49€)  or vicuna (520€) socks are famous and they now have a magical machine which will make your cotton Lisle socks with the colors of thread you choose. You can wear a  pair of socks that is unique in the world! The shop is a delight to visit but you can also order on line and be delivered in 48 hours. Read More

Bibliothèque Mazarine, a mythical place

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“Il Prof”, Cosimo Mazzoni in Sicily

Cosimo Marco Mazzoni, a law professor based in Fiesole, died four weeks ago in his sleep in Paris. He had such a passion for Bibliothèque Mazarine, at the heart of l’Institut, that he acquired an apartment a few blocs away, so he could be sure to walk there every day when he was in Paris. He taught at Università di Siena, at Yale University and at Université de Paris X, Nanterre. He wrote many of his books on bioethics law within the cozy wood paneled walls of La Mazarine.  His latest work, “Quale Dignità, Il lungo viaggio di un’idea” was published last Spring.

By coincidence, Marguerite de Merode, who lives in Rome, inaugurated an exhibition of photographs there last week, and I was irresistibly attracted to it, in memory of Cosimo. I must admit it is a delight to enter this quiet and refined space, where everyone can go and study for 15€ a year. Read More

Bordallo Pinheiro could solve your Christmas presents

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The display of the Boulevard Saint Germain shop is particularly attractive

I always spot the wonderful shop windows on boulevard Saint Germain, of Bordallo Pinheiro from the 84 bus which is my favorite transport to the Latin quarter and I never stop. So this time, I got off and visited the shop at length. It is the perfect china shop for Christmas presents, everything looks familiar to visitors of Portugal and their bowls, jugs, tea pots are so jolly that you cannot leave the shop without an item. For a very modest sum!Read More

Christian de Portzamparc is a painter at Kamel Mennour

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Christian de Portzamparc, “Il y eut les plages”, pigmented ink and acrylic on canvas, 2019

If you have a passion, like I do, for Pritzker Prize laureate Christian de Portzamparc, you will be curious to discover his new ink and acrylic paintings at Galerie Kamel Mennour rue Saint André des Arts. They are very architectural of course, with a strong sense of space and geometry, and a very special light which illuminates dust, gaz particules and partitions. In the two other galleries, on rue du Pont de Lodi and avenue Matignon, Tadashi Kawamata shows his fascinating  “Destructions” in grand style.Read More

Nils-Udo, from Bavaria to rue Récamier

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The artist, Nils-Udo, on the first floor of the Black Bamboo installation

It’s always moving to meet an artist you’ve admired for many years and my encounter with Nils-Udo and his wife Lisa, at Fondation EDF, started with our exchanging recollections of Prien am Chiemsee, a small village where I studied German some twenty years ago and near where he lives. He was raised in the North of the region, in Schloss Klingenberg, in Lower Franconia, where nature was omnipresent, and he has created a spectacular installation with very special lighting, an art which is at the chore of EDF’s (Electricité de France) workmanship. With more than a hundred bamboos selected in Anduze, Gard, and seven black marble eggs set on white marble gravel, the visitor is startled as he enters the dark room. And entrance is free.Read More