Man Ray and Fashion, at Musée du Luxembourg

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Man Ray, Hair, 1929 late print,© private collection, courtesy Fondazione Marconi © Man Ray 2015 Trust / Adagp, Paris 2020

It is not so easy to put on an exhibition of Man Ray, with only his fashion photographs, and I am not sure that the pink and celadon colors of the rooms at Musée du Luxembourg help much. Yet, fashion photography is an interesting phenomenon which started with Paul Poiret in 1911, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1920’s. Before, drawings and sketches were the only way to illustrate fashion.  Many magazine covers are here to prove it from Vogue to Harper’s Bazaar. Yet we have been accustomed to such brilliant painting retrospectives in this museum that the theme of the show seems a little light… The artist himself considered this professional occupation as a “minor activity” and he was right. But we are so happy to have any exhibition at all, that I am sure the young crowds will like rush to see it.Read More

In Compiègne, Eugénie is the topic of a new book and a costume show

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Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Empress Eugénie with her ladies in waiting, 1855

Château de Compiègne is a sleeping beauty which is slowly being awakened by the senior curator Rodolphe Rapetti and at the moment, a modest exhibition of costumes worn by Empress Eugénie, Napoléon III’s wife, is matched by a brilliant book written by Laure Chabanne with photographs by Gustave Le Gray, paintings and watercolors by Eugène Lami, and numerous artifacts which give a good idea of the lavishness of the period. I highly recommend that you visit the well restored apartments where many objects are now being shown and read the book first. It is a charming jump into luxury and glamour of the past. The museum of old cars is also an attraction. Read More

“The Golden Danish Age” at Petit Palais, is very pleasing

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C.W.-Eckersberg, “View through three arches of the third floor of the Coliseum”, 1815, Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst © SMK Photo/Jakob Skou-Hansen

Once again Christophe Leribault, director of Petit Palais, gives us a perfect exhibition with “The Golden Age of Danish painting” 1801-1864, a charming mix of studio life and landscapes at the beginning of the 19 th century in Denmark.  The exhibition is a happy one, developing themes like family (there are many children), travels to France and Italy, bourgeois life in Copenhagen and sea views. It starts at the time when the English destroyed the Danish fleet and bombarded Copenhagen in 1807 and when the State went bankrupt in 1813. And yet artistic talent flourished and a perfect harmony developed between writers such as Hans Christian Andersen, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, painters and sculptors. Christoffer Eckersberg, who taught at the Royal Academy, is the leader of a school of painters who described the society of the time. The exhibition  is organized with the Statens Museum for Kunst, in Copenhagen and the Nationalmuseum, in Stockholm

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With “Der Messias”, Bob Wilson is back at his best

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Tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac, © Vincent Pontet – TCE

The first live music performance took place on the 16 th at Théâtre des Champs Elysées with Bob Wilson’s “Der Messias” which I was expecting not to like. Well I was wrong, the show is so beautiful visually and musically that it was a revelation for the public. Michel Franck, the director of the theatre, spoke in a warm and intimate way at the beginning, saying how happy and relieved his teams were to have been able to produce these three evenings of Der Messias, created last January in Salzburg. Everyone was concentrated and happy to be sitting in an opera house again. The oratorio in three parts composed by Mozart after Haendel’s Messiah, was considerably enlivened by a funny, handsome and exciting set of characters, singers, dancer and actor. The original libretto in English by Charles Jennens was sung in German in an 18 th century  translation by Christoph Daniel Ebeling.Read More

Who was Henri II? an ambitious warrior now at Vincennes.

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Léonard Limosin, Portrait of Henri II, musée du Louvre, © RMN-Grand Palais Stéphane Maréchalle

I had barely ever heard of our king Henri II (1519-1559), whose father François I and wife Catherine de Médicis, mistress Diane de Poitiers and cousin Henri IV, completely eclipsed him. He reigned for twelve years, ten of which were at war, trying to expand the Kingdom of France. And he should at least be remembered for taking back in 1558, Calais, from the English after 211 years. Strongly backed by Connétable Anne de Montmorency (who reigned in Chantilly), he fought Charles V in Italy and financed a French expedition which discovered the bay of Rio de Janeiro in 1554. He never fought himself but achieved to enlarge a “Christian” empire and created the order of Saint Michael first held at Mont Saint Michel. He is represented as such in the Chapel of Château de Vincennes on a large stained glass window.Read More

DDessin, a modest drawing fair with great young artists

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Yoon Ji-Eun laureate of the 2019 DDessin prize

What is interesting about DDessin, a drawing fair celebrating its 8 th edition, is the number of young artists who show on their own. Of course, the star this year is Korean artist Yoon Ji-Eun, whom I had spotted at Drawing now 15  years ago. I love her work on plywood or paper and her galerist Maria Lund has always supported her heartily. She won last year the DDessin Prize and is therefore the main attraction this year. Margaux Derhy who embroiders paintings and Clovis Retif who draws waste and accumulations of objects, were my two other choices. And of course, I was happily surprised by novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun‘s works in acrylic on paper at gallery Art Absolument. Read More

Josef Koudelka is magic at BNF

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Amman, Jordan, 2012 © Josef Koudelka /Magnum Photos

It’s rare to enter an exhibition of photographs and to be mesmerized. Of course, you rarely have the conjunction of  an amazing space, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France with its huge heights, a brilliant photographer Josef Koudelka, and a team of scenographers (Jasmin Oezcebi), researchers, curators as high in quality. This show “RUINS” of 110 panoramic prints (124 cm X 260cm) took thirty years to prepare, was shot in twenty countries around the Mediterranean sea,  with 200 archeological sites. And Josef Koudelka gave all but three photographs to the Library. Very elegant.Read More

Lunch outside at Golf Paris Longchamp

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The Restaurant du Golf at Paris Longchamp, a true respite in the day

I already told you last May about Nathalie Jeanson, the great French Pro, who took over the management of Golf Paris Longchamp, the golf practice in the Bois de Boulogne. Well, I went recently to check out the changes and had lunch at Le Restaurant du Golf, which opens all day and serves lunch but no dinner. My first surprise was to run into a number of elegant friends who seem to use it as their cantina in the middle of the week,  when the weather is pretty.

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