American Icons in Paris and in Aix en Provence

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Philip Guston, Back View, 1977

I had the feeling of being in Marfa, Texas, at the Guggenheim, at the Whitney, at MoMA all at the same time. And yet, I was just visiting a small exhibition of very high quality American artists at the Grand Palais in the center of Paris.
Eleven small rooms with just the perfect selection of « iconic » American paintings : these came from the San Francicso Museum of Modern Art and from the 1 100 pieces lent by the Donald and Doris Fisher collection. They will travel to Provence at Musée Granet in Aix, from July 11 to October 18.Read More

The Tudors, a real fashion show

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Henry VIII, after Holbein. © West Sussex, Petworth House, National Trust

I have to admit it, I plunged back into Rebecca Fraser’s « A People’s History of Britain » (Chatto and Windus) in order to understand the dates and filiations of the Tudors. At a time when Shakespeare’s « Henry VI » (the play on the French and English king is directed by Thomas Jolly) is a hit at Ateliers Berthier in two 9 hour shows, the new exhibition at Musée du Luxembourg is a fabulous short cut to understanding History. It is also a true fashion show.

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A new reason to go to Hôtel Drouot!

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Choosing a Scotch! The brass sculpted wall by Erwan Boulloud was commissioned by Jean Claude Binoche

The auction house, Hôtel Drouot has always been a place of fascination and sometimes a very intimidating one for visitors. Now that it has added a restaurant and bar, « l’Adjugé » in the hall, it should be even livelier than ever.

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Pol Bury’s necessary come back

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Sociologist Velma Bury with curator Daniel Marchesseau in front of “4087 cylindres érectiles”, 1972

Kinetic sculptor Pol Bury died ten years ago but his wife, the New York sociologist Velma Bury, and his long time friend and museum curator Daniel Marchesseau, are well alive. And they were asked to organize  a restrospective of this major Belgian artist’s work at Espace Fondation EDF, next door to Le Soufflé Récamier. Thanks to Hubert Le Gall’s scenography, it is a breath of fresh air, a moment of joy, a dance of sculptures, all animated by « La fée électricité »  as Dufy called it…

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“25 oeufs sur un plateau”, 1970 (a moving sculpture)

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A genius clarinetist at the US Embassy

Hotel de Pontalba, an 18 th century house is the residence of the US ambassador

Hotel de Pontalba, built in 1855, is the residence of the US ambassador

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Madame Ambassador and very elegant Stanford Warshawsky

« Madame Ambassador » was hosting a concert with five soloists from the New York Philharmonic, what a treat to be invited! A small group of French politicians including President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former Minister of Health Roselyne Bachelot and diplomats Benoît d’Aboville and Jean David Levitte were happy to celebrate with her.

Clarinetist Anthony McGill

Clarinetist Anthony McGill

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Napoleon’s last visit to La Malmaison

Joséphine's red bedroom facing the beautiful park

Josephine’s red bedroom facing the beautiful park

Joséphine's white angle bedroom

Joséphine’s white angle bedroom

La Malmaison is the fairly small country house that Josephine found for Napoléon and herself in 1799 ; it is located in Rueil, a chic suburb 30 mns west of Paris. The long tree lined avenue, which used to be the main road from St Germain to Paris, leads to the charming « Consular style » house that is especially pretty in early June when the collection of ancient roses are in bloom.9780307962928

On this topic you can read the fun book by Andrea de Robilant, « Chasing the Rose » (Knopf) which describes the passion some collectors have for old roses and Joséphine was one of them.

 

 

 

 

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Indulge in softness

Broceliande

Broceliande sheets

If you have never tried a pair of linen or Egyptian cotton sheets, this is the time and place start. It took me about forty years to understand that and then, I got addicted. “Vis à Vis” is a fairly new shop hidden in a courtyard of Faubourg St Honoré, between Lanvin and Gucci. The atmosphere is cold and intimidating at first, but once you have asked a hundred questions to the nice saleswoman, it feels a bit warmer.

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Giverny forever

The famous pond created by Monet in a field

The famous pond created by Monet in a field

The waterlilies were not in bloom and Hugues Gall, the brilliant President of the Monet Foundation was not in town, but our day in Giverny was nonetheless scintillating. My initial desire was to visit the Degas exhibition at the Musée des Impressionismes (former American Museum) and I picked a very sunny day to drive up to Giverny (one hour from Paris). The walk from the parking to the museum is already an introduction to the mosaic of flowers that we were going to discover all day.

Houses on the sea shore

Maisons au bord de mer, pastel sur papier chamois, by Degas,© RMN-Grand Palais

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