Warhol @ Grand Palais

The Ethel Scull Series, photographed by Yoan Valat/EPA

The Ethel Scull Series, photographed by Yoan Valat/EPA

Anyone passing by the front of the Galeries Nationales de Grand Palais for the past couple of months couldn’t have missed the promotional noticeboard. Warhol’s artworks are arriving in Paris once again, and the exhibition opens today and will run until 13th July 2009.

Entitled Le grand monde d’Andy Warhol, a selection of about 150 portraits from Ethel Scull to Chairman Mao, will be on exhibition together for the very first time and unlikely to be repeated anywhere else. This is going to be a phenomenon exhibition, that I will not be surprised for it to emulate the success of Picasso et les maîtres and the tickets will be selling like hotcakes! Buy them online ahead of your visit in order to avoid the long queue that’s inadvertently going to gather outside of the Grand Palais, taking hours before your turn comes along.

Warhol had mused : “All my portraits have to be the same size, so they’ll all fit together and make one big painting called Portraits of Society. That’s a good idea, isn’t it?”

Indeed it is. And we get to see part of this vision of his. Unfortunately, one famous figure whose portraits you will not see along those selected are those of Yves Saint Laurent. A conflict of opinion of the location where the portraits should be hung, apparently. Pierre Bergé (YSL’s partner) was reported to have told the curator, Alain Cueff, that “the rags mustn’t be mixed with the serviettes”, to reveal his discontent that Saint Laurent’s portraits would go in the “glamour section” with other fashion coutouriers instead of a recognition for him as an unique artist. Not only that, as a general rule, for over 40 years he have not been shown among other couturiers. (Read Bergé’s letter in Le Monde) However, Cueff refused to move them and Bergé refused to back down. Instead he pulled the works. What a shame.

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