Otto Freundlich’s dark destiny at Musée de Montmartre

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Man in front of a fountain, gouache on paper, 1911/1942, Donation Freundlich © Musée de Pontoise

Musée de Montmartre has now accustomed us to showing original painters who worked on the magical hill at the turn of the century and Otto Freundlich is another discovery (for me at least) of a Prussian born artist, who very much wanted to become French and died at 65,  deported by the Nazis in 1943, while hiding in Saint Paul de Fenouillet near Perpignan. He is one of the first abstract painters and his Jewish origins condemned him to die in the camp of Sobibor. He spent most of his career in Paris, his “Large Head” was featured in 1937, on the cover of the “Entartete Kunst” (degenerate art), exhibition catalog and he always fought to impose artistic beauty. 80 of his works with many letters and official documents have been lent by Musée de Pontoise, the Museum of Modern Art and private collectors.Read More

Magic food at Le Clarence

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A view from the Library through the dining room and all the way to the kitchen

I am always worried to be disappointed when I am invited in a fancy restaurant. Most often, the ceremonial style of the waiters, the complicated dishes, the difficulty of choosing in the long expensive menu, tire me off before I start eating. Well, there is none of this at Le Clarence, the two star Michelin restaurant which opened five years ago on avenue Franklin Roosevelt with chef Christophe Pelé. You only have to decide on the size of the meal (three courses, five courses or seven), and on the wines. Then dinner is served to you in a magical ballet and I have to admit, I was totally fascinated.Read More

Claudia Andujar’s fight for the Yanomami tribe at Fondation Cartier

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Claudia Andujar, Opiki thëri group in Ajarani, 1984

The exhibition at Fondation Cartier is, once again, more political than artistic. But some of you might be interested to discover the fight led by the Yanomami people in North Western Brazil and Venezuela. And thanks to Claudia Andujar, the Brazilian photographer born (Claudine Haas) in Switzerland in 1931, who fled Europe and her father’s extermination in Dachau, we can discover part of their story. “The Yanomami Struggle” is on until May 10.

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Christian Louboutin glitters at Porte Dorée

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This sign at Palais de la Porte Dorée in the 1970’s started Louboutin’s career

When he was a little boy, Christian Louboutin wondered why his three older sisters were blond while he was so tanned. He only discovered a few years ago that his mother had an affair and his father was Egyptian, not from Brittany… Is it this Oriental influence that gave him a genius for creating shoes that are universally loved, and transformed his last name into a common name like Kleenex or iPhone? The large celebration at Palais de la Porte Dorée, “L’Exhibition(niste)” curated by Olivier Gabet, is a true feast, an explosion of imagination and of generosity. For his first large show in France, he asked all his friends to create glass windows, videos, paintings, installations (Stéphane Bern is even part of a television show) around his famous shoes, which are presented as true sculptures. The former Musée des Colonies has never looked so happy and crowds will certainly rush there like they did to the Christian Dior show at MAD. So do not loose any time!Read More

Contemporary African artists at Anne de Villepoix

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Gedwin Nabuya, “Across White Waters”, 2019

When she moved to her new gallery in the 11th, Anne de Villepoix made a brave change and she was right because her space is spectacular. She has developed a group of contemporary African artists who are all interesting and in parallel with the exhibition “L’Afrique Fantôme” (Phantomatic Africa) which presents them in Lyon at Manifesta until April 3, she shows her twenty best artists at home. I did not love everyone but here are my favorites.Read More

At Fondation Custodia, three exhibitions and another surprise!

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Siemen Dijskstra, “Through the Uitbuizer Wad n°2, Oude Westereems”, 2011, collection of the artist, photo Bert de Vries

The lead exhibition at Fondation Custodia was advertised as “Studi & Schizzi”, Italian drawings from 1450 to 1700, and this is what Frits Lugt‘s exceptional collection is all about. Thousands of classical drawings collected until his death in Paris in  July 1970. A group of exceptional drawings, which are now progressively put online for the researchers’ benefit and the first 600 pieces can already be consulted. I searched for Leonardo and found 15 drawings! But what took me by surprise this time, is the series of wood prints by Siemen Dijkstra, a 50 year old artist from the North of the Nederlands, who lives in the woods and creates the most singular drawings and large prints.Read More

Hugo Vickers’love affair with Gladys Deacon

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Hugo Vickers with Lady Holmes at the British Embassy

British Ambassador Lord Llewellyn was on school vacation with his three young children but this did not deter Parisian book lovers to attend Hugo Vickers‘ conference and book signing at the beautiful residence once inhabited by Pauline Borghese. Former Ambassadress Lady Holmes, back in Paris, was in attendance and the tragic life of Gladys Deacon, duchess of Marlborough, was the focus of the evening. First published in 1979 by the young biographer who had visited Gladys 65 times at the St Andrews Hospital in Northampton, the book was completed and published again last January with a French translation coming out this week. “The Sphinx” is the extraordinary story of a young American heiress born in 1881 in a Paris hotel, who decided very young that she would become a duchess. She only managed this at the age of 40 when she moved into Bernheim Palace, after the 9 th Duke had divorced Consuelo Vanderbilt.

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Pandora is back at La Calèche, on rue de Lille

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At 8 rue de Lille, La Calèche has a supreme position to attract the well-to-do

You might remember reading here two years ago about the delightful pizzeria “Marzo” on rue Paul Louis Courrier which was run by Pandora Pearson. It had a happy atmosphere, the food was excellent and one left the premises with a light heart. It still exists but Pandora has moved on, not too far, to rue de Lille where she took over, with her associate Jean Baptiste Varenne, the old La Calèche which definitely needed a clean up. The old beams have been painted white, the bar serves as a counter and the modern decoration with a soft lighting at night is cheerful. Read More