October 29, 2006

Autumn in New York

Ella Fitzgerald sang it perfectly,

"Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-nighting"

"Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds
In canyons of steel
They're making me feel - I'm home"

"It's autumn in New York
That brings the promise of new love
Autumn in New York
Is often mingled with pain"

"Dreamers with empty hands, they sigh for exotic lands
It's autumn in New York. It's good to live it again"

"Autumn in New York, the gleaming rooftops at sundown
Oh, autumn in New York, it lifts you up when you run down"

"Yes, jaded roués, and gay divorcés
Who lunch at the Ritz
Will tell you that it's divine"

"This autumn in New York, transforms the slums into Mayfair
Oh, autumn in New York, you'll need no castles in Spain"

"Yes, lovers that bless the dark, on the benches in Central Park
Greet autumn in New York. It's good to live it again"

October 18, 2006

From Picasso to Pinocchio

There is a plethora of wonderful museum shows in Paris right now and here is a very personal tour of what's on view this fall!

The Musée Picasso is housed in a magnificent 17th Century townhouse in the 4th Arrondissement. Totally renovated in the 1970's, it now features one of the largest permanent collections of this prolific artist's work. An added bonus this autumn is the special exhibition "Picasso/Berggruen - A Private Collection". Heinz Berggruen was born in 1914 in Berlin and developed a passion for Modern Art between the wars. Although he escaped to the United States during WWII (he eventually became a US citizen), Berggruen returned to Europe in 1947 and began collecting Picasso in the 1950's. He continues to collect to this day, and for a limited time the Musée Picasso is presenting highlights of his collection. It is a superb selection of "Picasso's Greatest Hits" and well worth seeing. To top it off, the museum has completed a re-hanging of its own and has many works on display that have never before been shown.

The Centre Pompidou finally re-opened to the public after some labor problems and our patience was rewarded with an outstanding retrospective of the work of Yves Klein. "Corps, Couleur, Immateriel [Body, Color, Immaterial]" highlights the works of this remarkable artist who prefigured conceptual and performance art. For Klein, color was the link between the body and the immaterial, and he expressed this force with three emblematic colors - gold, rose, and his famous blue (actually registered as "I.K.B." for International Klein Blue). The exhibition is divided into three main concepts: Impregnation, The Illumination of Matter, and Incarnation. The last subject is for me the most fascinating as he used women as his living paintbrushes. In his "Anthropometries" he literally covered his models in paint and created a painting by dragging them across or pressing them onto the canvas. The results are sensual and stunning. Yves Klein's career lasted only 7 years. He died of a heart attack at the age of 34 in 1962, but the impact of his ideas remains very much alive.

After years of renovation, the Musée des Arts décoratifs re-opened to the public on September 15th. Situated next to the Louvre, on the rue de Rivoli, the newly reconfigured space seeks to present a historic and cultural overview of the decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present day. The 9 floors of galleries are arranged to display furniture, objects, jewelry, fashions and textiles through history. A special inaugural exhibition of gowns by the couturier Christobal Balenciaga is on display through January. Although the recreated rooms in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco sections are outstanding, I think I would wait until the museum is fully functioning before spending another 30 minutes in line for tickets.

From the fancy of French decor, I take you to the mystery of Africa and the Musée du Quai Branly. Housed in a dramatic building designed by Jean Nouvel and located at the base of the Eiffel Tower, the museum opened in June of 2006. It is entirely dedicated to the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, and houses an enormous permanent collection of primitive and tribal art from these non-western cultures. One follows a curving path through innovative installations of masks, tools, weapons, religious objects, clothing, adornments and amusements, some ancient, some fairly recent, from the Incas of Peru to the Inuit of Alaska. Both the collection and the building are fascinating.

Our tour ends on a high note with a fabulous exhibition at the Grand Palais. "Once Upon A Time - Walt Disney" is not simply a review of the cartoons that we remember so fondly, but an indepth look at how Walt Disney was influenced by the fine arts - painting, music, literature and film - in creating these 20th Century icons. Walt Disney was a creative genius and his many masterpieces, Snow White, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Fantasia, to name just a few, were influenced by art from the Gothic Middle Ages to Surrealism. In the days before computer graphics, a Disney illustrator was a true artist in his or her own right. This exhibition presents side by side, the preliminary drawings and cartoon cells, as well as video clips from the actual movies, with the art that inspired them. Of particular interest was a short film made in 2003 by Roy Disney that for the first time presented "Destino", a collaboration envisioned between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney in the 1940's that was sadly never completed in their lifetimes. The 6 minute video tells the story of a ballerina and a baseball player as only these two Masters of the Surreal could have imagined. The exhibition is outstanding - fine art and popular culture in a fabulous presentation.

It is time to leave Paris and return to New York, but I leave you with a view of the Seine on a gorgeous Indian Summer day and a fond adieu until the next time!

Looking West from the Pont du Carrousel
with the spires of Notre Dame in the distance

October 16, 2006

Parisian Perambulations

It's been a wonderful weekend here in Paris. The weather has been divine and there is a lot to see and do.

On Friday night we were invited to a book launch party by a writer friend. He said it would be a little cocktail held at his publisher, but it turned out to be a big party held inside a lithography printer's atelier. The food and drinks were set up next to the huge presses and the smell of printer's ink permeated the air. There must have been 200 guests and everybody was having a great time.

Saturday was taken up with galleries on both sides of the Seine. The Centre Pompidou is closed due to a strike so we have to play it day by day and see if and when they re-open.

On Sunday we made an all-day excursion to the magnificent castle and gardens of Vaux le Vicomte. A train ride to the town of Melun, and then a 20 minute taxi ride, delivered us to this incredible monument. Built in the early 17th Century by Nicolas Fouquet, this edifice was the result of a collaboration between the greatest architect of the day, Le Vau, the greatest decorator, Le Brun, and the greatest gardener, André Le Nôtre. Three villages were razed and 18,000 workers hired with no expense spared. Ironically, this masterpiece proved to be Fouquet's downfall. In August of 1661, the Sun King himself, Louis XIV, was invited to a fete at the castle. Fouquet pulled out all the stops, with water fountain displays, concerts in the garden, a ballet commissioned and performed for the first time, a new dinner service made of solid gold... The King was so jealous that he had his host arrested and imprisoned for the rest of his life. Today, Vaux-le-Vicomte is still privately owned and open to the public from March to October.

More adventures await, so I say "A bientot" till I blog again!

October 13, 2006

Autumn in Paris

It is wonderful to be back in Paris! Although the days have been mild, the leaves are changing color and fall is definitely in the air.

We arrived here 3 days ago after a short but nice visit in Cologne, Germany. Took a short train ride along the Rhine to visit the Hans Arp Foundation in Rolandseck. It was an interesting time and they have some beautiful works, not just by Arp. The Foundation is located in a villa overlooking the river with views of historic castles dating from the time of the Knight Roland and the Crusades. Also visited the Ludwig Museum in Cologne. Although their current exhibition "The Eighth Square: Gender, Life, and Desire in the Arts since 1960" was a bit too strident for my taste, their permanent collection of Modern Masters and Pop Art is outstanding.

A high speed train service now links Cologne to Paris in just under 4 hours and is a fun and comfortable ride. We got here in time to visit Sotheby's auction house and preview a sale of rare books and photographs from the collection of Fred Feinsilber. He had amassed a superb group of ancient manuscripts and printed books as well as rare 19th and 20th Century volumes of literature and art books. Many were in custom bindings which added to their value. It was a two-day sale and I attended the first day, both morning and afternoon sessions, and it was very exciting.

Haven't had time to see any museum shows as we are shopping for new and exciting material for the website and my next catalogue. There are lots of things to see and do and more blogs are coming. In the meantime, I leave you a photo taken early yesterday morning from my living room window! Have a great day!

Sunrise over Notre Dame

October 08, 2006

Greetings from Germany

Hello from the Cathedral City of Cologne where we arrived late Sunday afternoon. Little did we know it was Marathon Sunday here, and the streets were littered with race debris while the beer halls were full of runners celebrating their times and numbing their aches and pains! It was warm enough to sit outside and partake in the festivities and the walk back to the hotel under the full moon was very lovely indeed. The historic "Dom" is magnificent - it dominates the skyline and is a beacon to all who visit this beautiful city.

It has been an action-packed few days! It seems like eaons since we left New York, but it was only last Thursday evening that we flew to Zurich and then on to Frankfurt. After a classic German sausage and beer dinner on the Römer Platz, we departed Saturday afternoon and rode up to Hannover on the train . The point of the visit was not just nostalgia - we were there to attend the opening of an exhibition at the Sprengel Museum celebrating the work of Kurt Schwitters, the famous Dadaist and native son of Hannover, and his influence on his artist friends.

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) did not work in isolation. This exhibition is a testament to his collaborative abilities. Not only did he influence other artists, but he drew from his friends' creative ideas and integrated them into his own distinctive style. This exhibition presents for the first time a side-by-side comparison of some of Schwitter's masterpieces and the works of those artist he admired. Strongly represented here are Hans and Sophie Taeuber Arp, Hannah Höch, Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Theo van Doesburg and many others. The curators have followed his career from Dada Zurich, Berlin and Holland, to his Constructivist period, Bauhaus, Typography, Abstraction, "Cercle-Carré" (literally "Circle-Square") and finally his exile in England during the War. It is a superb exhibition and congratulations to the organizers Dr. Isabel Schultz and Dr. Karin Orchard.

Today we are continuing our Dada theme, with a visit to the Hans Arp Foundation in nearby Rolandseck. So, stay tuned, more reports are on the way!

October 02, 2006

Announcing Catalogue Number One!

I am pleased to announce the publication of my first catalogue!

Georgina Kelman :: Works on Paper presents "Catalogue Number One", a selection of European and American prints, drawings and watercolors from the Victorian Era to the Jazz Age. Fully illustrated in color, this catalogue gives a good overview of the type of art I specialize in and adore. For more examples from my collection, please visit my website at www.GeorginaKelman.com. If you would like to know more about the catalogue, you can contact me directly from the site.

On another note - it's that time of year again! Time to pack up and head across the ocean for another round of museums and shopping for art, not to mention a few delicious meals. So, stay tuned! Starting in Germany this weekend and continuing in Paris till the end of October, I will be posting regular blogs on what's new and happening in Old Europa!