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Saturday, January 18, 2014

* Art exhibitions in Paris, autumn-winter 2013-2014

January 16, 2014

Autorretrato con Traje de Terciopelo by Frida Kahlo, 1926
©Francisco Kochen © ADAGP, Paris 2013

As winter gloom approaches, Paris’s art galleries offer shelter from the rain and, perhaps, a little cultivated cheer. The new season features 20th-century master Georges Braque, Florence at its creative apex, fashionable Frida Kahlo … and there’s quite a bit of nudity and Victorian naughtiness.

Georges Braque, Grand Palais, 18 September 2013-6 January 2014: The season’s headline show, a brave choice since Braque’s work looks understated in today’s shouty art world. He may have been a cofounder of Cubism and a major aesthetic influence on post-war Europe but he is “underestimated” today, curator Brigitte Leal tells RFI. His reputation has been dwarfed by those of Picasso and Matisse, so Leal hopes to rehabilitate him by presenting about 200 works covering a 40-year career to the public.


The Springtime of the Renaissance, Louvre, 26 September 2013-6 January 2014: A frankly tactless choice of title as the temperature drops but a visit to Florence in the decisive years of 1400-1460 should warm the cockles of any art-lover’s heart. Pretend you’re a judge in the competition to decorate the doors of the Baptistery – Brunelleschi’s and Ghiberti’s entries are here. See how discoveries of Classical art transformed European visual culture. The emphasis is on sculpture with works sent by Italy’s top museums. Lots of Donatello, by the look of things, which is no cause for complaint.

Roy Lichtenstein, Pompidou Centre, 3 July 2013-4 November 2013: Lichtenstein’s limited repertoire may have led to a decline in his critical standing over the years but this show has proved so popular with the punters that visiting hours have been extended to 11.00 pm every day (except Tuesday). Whaam! And then there’s … Surrealism and the Object, 30 October 2013-3 Mars 2014: Subverting reality through dialectical materialism as applied to dreams and the subconscious. That’s what the surrealists were up to according to curator, Didier Ottinger, and he summons the work of Giacometti, Dalí, Calder, Picasso, Miró, Max Ernst and Man Ray as evidence. Pierre Huyghe, 25 September 2013-6 January 2014: This contemporary French artist creates projects not paintings so the Pompidou’s South Gallery “opens to the outer world as an outgrowth, where certain organic and climatic works by the artist will exist”. Huyghe’s works have featured a trip to the Antarctic, a dog with a pink leg and a sculpture of a nude woman with its head covered in bees. Should cause a buzz.

Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera: Art in fusion, Musée de l’Orangerie, 9 October 2013-13 January 2014: Showing the works of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo together proves “the impossibility of their divorce”, a judgement the couple would certainly have agreed with since they married, divorced then married again. Rivera is the giant of modern Mexican art but, given that his most important works were murals in his homeland and the US, one suspects that there will be more Frida than Diego. Since she has been trending since the 90s – Madonna, Isabella Rossellini and Cindy Crawford are fans – the Orangerie should clock up a healthy number of visits.

Masculine/Masculine. The Nude Man in Art from 1800 to the Present Day, Musée d’Orsay, 24 September 2013-2 January 2014: So nude they named it twice. The Orsay has fished 200 naked men out of its cellars, well, pictures, sculptures and photos of them, anyway. All for a purely academic examination of the treatment of the male nude since 1800, you understand. There are Cézanne, Rodin, Muybridge but, with Hockney, Mapplethorpe, Pierre et Gilles, not to mention Jean Jules Antoine Lecomte du Noüy’s buttocky warrior in Mort pour la patrie also present, there’s no avoiding the gay aesthetic. Visitors may get more than what’s advertised – a man stripped off at the opening party and another did so outside the museum on the first day.

Désirs et volupté, Victorian masterpieces, Musée Jacquemart-André, 13 September-20 January 2014: If you ever wondered how those buttoned-up Victorians let off their repressed sexual steam, this suggestively titled exhibition of cavorting nymphs and pouting odalisks should give you an idea. Mexican Perez Simon collected paintings by Alma-Tadema, Leighton but also pre-Raphaelites, such as Burne-Jones and Millais. You may approve of his taste. You may find it a bit of a kitschfest.

The Renaissance and the Dream: Bosch, Véronèse, Greco, Musée du Luxembourg, 9 October 2013- 26 January 2014: Back to the Renaissance and to dreams, which were believed to take you into the beyond, divine or satanic. How to represent the unrepresentable? Was the question according to the organisers. There are plenty of pictures of people falling asleep – With works by Veronese, Durer , Corregio. Then there’s Hierinymus Bosch, who really gets to grips with your nightmares.

Etrusques, Un hymne à la vie, Musée Maillol, 18 September 2013-9 February 2014: There’s been too much rooting about in Etruscan graves and not enough attention to how they lived, believes the Musée Maillol, so this show aims to look at the daily life of this people who came inhabited the Italian peninsula until the Romans took over. As well as the well-known grinning terracotta figures, there are stone sculptures from Vulci and paintings from Tarquinia.

Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969), Photographies, dessins et photomontages, Jeu de Paume, 15 Octobre 2013-26 January 2014: From Dada in the 20s to Vogue in the 50s, Blumenfeld was one of those artists who turned the avant-garde to commercial advantage. Experimental black and white photos from the 30s, drawings, montages and collages follow his career from Berlin to New York via Paris, of course. Plus Natacha Nisic, 15 Octobre 2013-26 January 2014: Videos by the French artist look for “invisible relationships”.

Biennale images of the world, Quai Branly, 17 September-17 November: Curators from around the world have chosen photos for this fourth Seineside biennale. People are the common theme.

Serge Poliakoff, the dream of forms, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris,18 October 2013-23 February 2014: A retrospective of the abstract painter’s work between 1946 and 1969. Perhaps more appreciated in France than elsewhere and in the 60s than today. Plus Zhen Fanzhi, 18 October 2013-16 February 2014: The first French retrospective of one of China’s (relatively) new breed.Tony Cross

Also showing:

Jordaens, the pride of Antwerp, Petit Palais, 19 September 2013-19 January 2014.
Goya and modernity, Painters as Witnesses of their Times, Pinacothèque de Paris, 11 October 2013-16 March 2014, plus The Breughel dynasty, 11 October 2013-16 March 2014.
America-Latina 1960–2013, Fondation Cartier, 19 November 2013-6 April 2014.
Raw Vision, 25 years of Art Brut, Halle Saint Pierre, 18 September 2013-22 August 2014.
Bronzes of Imperial China from 10th to 19th century, Musée Cernuschi, 20 September 2013-19 January 2014.
Angkor, birth of a myth, Musée Guimet, 16 October 2013-13 January 2014.
Genesis, Sebastiao Salgado, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 25 September 2013-5 January 2014.
Europunk, Cité de la musique, 15 October-19 janvier 2014.
Kanak, l’Art est un parole, Musée du Quai Branly, 15 October-26 January 2014.
Astérix à la BNF !: à la recherche de la Gaule perdue, 16 October-19 January 2014.