Saving Brazil with Sebastiao Salgado

parisdiaPerforming arts, photography2 Comments

Mont Roraima, state of Roraima, Brazil, 2018 © Sebastião Salgado

There are two things I did not like in Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition “Amazônia” at the Philharmonie: the staging of the pictures, which are huge and stand like trees in a forest with too much light on them. This is what was meant by the photographer and his wife who designed the show, but it is not half as gracious as Joseph Koudelka‘s exhibition at Bibliothèque de France last September. And the extreme politicization of the exhibition. Yes the Brazilian tropical forest and its Indian tribes are dangerously threatened by corrupt politicians and the lumber trade. And yes this is totally frightening. But the beauty and wildness of Salgado’s pictures suffer from this hyper political correctness. In the large space of the Philharmonie, there are a few enclosed rooms with interviews of tribesmen who sound like they are reading a text,  and smaller prints which show the photographer’s real talent. And these are the ones I liked best with Jean Michel Jarre’s sound track. Read More

Saint Saëns is celebrated everywhere and at the Paris Opera

parisdiaPerforming arts1 Comment

Paul Berger, Camille Saint Saëns’ hands, 1911, (the pianist is 76 and still plays), BnF, Bibliothèque musée de l’Opéra

For the centenary of Camille Saint Saëns’ death (1835-1921), Bibliothèque nationale de France is celebrating the pianist and composer of 13 operas and 600 works with the show: “Saint Saëns, a free spirit“. Music scores, letters, photos and models of his decors partly lent by the museum of Dieppe, are all exhibited at the Paris Opéra Garnier until October 10 and the visit of the exhibition is like a travel through time, when costumes were outrageous and divas were true characters. Saint Saëns had a very free life after he left his wife and family. “Le Carnaval des Animaux”, “La Danse macabre” and “Samson and Dalila” are his most popular works. And some of his music is played discreetly in the exhibition.Read More

Tuscany wins on every count!

parisdiaArt, flowers and gardens, Performing arts10 Comments

Flutist Emmanuel Pahud and violinist Henning Kraggerud play Mantra- Metamorphosen by Kraggerud at la Foce, photo Isabelle Motte

How perfect can a week in Tuscany be? Far from the book “A Summer’s lease” by John Mortimer where everything goes wrong for the poor British tenants of a villa, my week in Fiesole and San Giovanni d’Asso near Pienza, were perfect from beginning to end, with a variety of activities from chamber music at “Incontri in Terra di Siena” to golf at “Castiglion del Bosco” and dinner at the nursery LeLune in Florence. How did it happen? Only thanks to generous and clever friends who like to laugh and chat a lot, and have beautiful houses. I used to do this in Luberon with the Aix and Avignon festival. But in Val d’Orcia, things are both grander and more modest, with the greatest world soloists playing chamber music in a garden with the crickets singing along and just for 150 people. How much more perfect can life be?Read More

How charming can a bed and breakfast get near Dijon?

parisdiaRestaurants & Hotels2 Comments

Marie Leguy is a dream hostess with her golden retriever Pomme

I rarely stay in beds and breakfast because I always try to invade my friends’ houses… but last time I was in Burgundy for a theater festival I found the most delightful hostess in a dream garden full of roses, with good beds and excellent linen, ten miles from Dijon. So if you need to stay anywhere in the area, drive to Arcelot and enjoy Marie Leguy’s hospitality at Manderley. There is even a little river at the bottom of the garden where you can swim. And her husband Michel, a former vice-president of Piaget watches, has great touristic tips to offer as he is a local. Starting with Château d’Arcelot, in the village, which has a English style park and a pretty history.Read More

In Brittany, Henry Moret is rediscovered and weddings are in vogue

parisdiaArt2 Comments

Henry Moret, “La Plâtrière du Four”, Finistère, 1898, private collection

I had a spell of Brittany for my first week of vacation and once again adored every minute of it. Pont Aven, Quimper, Beg-Meil, Sainte Marine, Pont l’Abbé, all magical names with poetry and dream attached to them. I was there for a wedding on the Odet, which was successful beyond words in terms of friendship, love, beauty and even spiritual fervor. And the discovery of painter Henry Moret’s hundred paintings at Quimper’s Musée des Beaux Arts was the cherry on the cake. Shopping for tablecloths at Le Minor in Pont l’Abbé is, of course, mandatory.Read More

Damien Hirst’s Cherry Blossoms bring pink to Fondation Cartier

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Fondation Cartier was designed by Jean Nouvel,© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2021

Damien Hirst has accustomed his public to surprises over the years ever since Charles Saatchi discovered his work at Freeze which he organized in a disused Port of London warehouse with sixteen of his classmates from Goldsmiths College of Art in 1988. He was 23 and had lived in Leeds until then. The exhibition “Cherry Blossoms” at Fondation Cartier takes after some of Van Gogh’s paintings which he discovered in 1984 during a tour of European museums, but also reminded me of David Hockney’s “My Normandy”. This show of 33 paintings (from a series of.  107) is very luminous, far from his glass vitrines with sharks or filled with “shipwrecks”. The works remain abstract and the thick oil painting gives it a specific depth. Read More

Book your tickets for Christo now!

parisdiaarchitecture, Art3 Comments

I know that many of you will be coming to Paris for the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe. Sales for the tickets to have access inside the Arc de Triomphe and on the terraces have started and even though the wrapping of the Arc will be visible from the Champs Elysées and all the avenues around, it is a good idea to book a 16€ ticket to get closer and to actually walk on the blue fabric on the roof of the Arc.Read More

Barthélémy Toguo is beautiful at Musée du Quai Branly!

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Water Matters, 2020, an installation created especially for the exhibition, courtesy Barthélémy Toguo, Bandjoun Station/Galerie Lelong & Co

It’s a good idea to have opened the Galerie Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, at Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac, to the brilliant artist Barthélémy Toguo, who was born near Yaoundé in Cameroon and lives between Paris and there. His colorful and meaningful paintings and installations give extra life to the collection of African statues, recently acquired by the businessman, and bequeathed to the museum. Toguo’s installation “Water Matters” especially conceived for the place, is particularly striking with its multiple glass bottles and the tragic depiction of a thirsty man. The show is called “Désir d’Humanité” (a Desire for humanism).Read More