March 23, 2006

Exhibition Reviews

It's hard to believe, but the sun was actually shining here this morning - but not to worry, by lunch it was cold and cloudy again! I took the opportunity to take this shot out our living room window. The church spire in the center is Sainte Chapelle, Louis XIV's personal chapel. On the far right you can see the crazy roofline of the Centre Pompidou, where the Dada Exhibition opened last October.

Despite the cold and rain the past couple of days, we did get out and visited some fantastic museum shows. Yesterday we saw an exhibition of works on paper by the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte at the Musée Maillol. It was a very well chosen selection of drawings and paintings, all on paper, and covered some of his most famous themes - the man in the bowler hat, the pipe (This is Not a Pipe), and some lesser known works. I know some of you think that Magritte is now a cliché, but it was beautiful show of some really fine work.

Then we went over to the museum at the Grand Palais and saw the recently opened show of works by Henri Rousseau "Jungle Images". Here was someone who spent his entire life within the Paris city limits, basically no education and no art training, who turned his hobby into what is now considered some of the finest naïve work of the 20th Century and was a huge influence on Picasso and Apollinaire. The critics referred to him as "The Customs Official" as that was his vocation, but he used his visits to the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo to imagine exotic worlds with wild animals and jungle plants. It was a great exhibition - including "The Dream" on loan from MoMA, NYC - and left one in total awe of this man who so believed in his dream of being an artist that he entered his works in the "Salon des Independents" to regular derision , each and every year. Now of course, his work is priceless and hangs in the greatest museums and collections in the world.

Finally, today we went to the newly re-opened "Musée d'Art Moderne, de Paris" to see Bonnard "The work of art, suspending time..." the first restrospective of his work in France in 22 years. The show offered 90 paintings and numerous documents, prints, photographs and even a set of his agendas from 1926-1947 with drawings on each page. Truly beautiful works in fabulous colors. I think there is very little more beautiful than a Bonnard bathtub painting, and it's easy to see how he influenced the Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko.

That's the art review for now! Riots are quiet, but 31 armored cars just passed by the Cafe Mondrian so maybe we're in for some more excitement!

Bon soir and see you soon!

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