Posts Tagged ‘Grand Palais’

Bubbles in the Grand Palais

during the special Nuit des musées exhibition!

Arts of France, Italy and Netherlands

09-09 Art Exhibits

In this cultured city, the abundance of exhibitions that one could attend can be rather overwhelming. But if you have some time and money in your hand, your effort will be richly rewarded, for the curation of these exhibitions means dispersed work of arts are shown together for a short period of time. The window of opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

Marguerite Gérard : Artist, 1789 in the Workshop of Fragonard
(10th September 2009 – 6th December 2009)

Over 60 portraits and drawings, from a female artists revered in her time, the works of Marguerite Gérard are on exhibit at the Musée Cognacq-Jay. Living in Louvre during the period, her works feature portraits of her family, friends, and people of consequences.

Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese – Rivals in Renaissance
(17th September 2009 – 4th January 2010)

Rivals these artists may be, but the competitive streak between them resulted in some of the most amazing works of Venetian Renaissance. Inspiring each other to push their talents to the maximum, hundreds of years later, the world still marvell at their genius and appreciate the beautiful pieces that they’ve created and presented.

Renoir in the 20th Century
(23rd September 2009 – 4th January 2010)

This is an exhibition that one must NOT miss. In fact, book your tickets ahead because the queue at the National Galleries of the Grand Palais will be insanely long. Exploring the works of this Impressionist artist in his later years, this collection comes from both public and private loan, including paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Bruegel, Memling, Van Eyck… The Brukenthal Collection
(11th September 2009 – 11th January 2010)

Exhibiting at the Musée Jacquemart-André is a wonderful collection of Flemish arts, by the grand masters of 15th to 17th century. The fifty pieces on loan from Muzeul Naţional Brukenthal of Romania are shown for the very first time in France, and you can even download the podcast (in French) prior to your visit.

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.

The Sale of Lots 677 and 678

The final auction tally came up to €374,392,500. Not shabby at all at times of recession and economic downturn. Soon all these work of arts and treasures will be placed in crates, packed away and delivered from Paris to the homes of their new owners. I do hope plenty of these will go to the AIDS research foundation as promised, and not just some token sum while someone else pocketed a whole lot of profits.

The most controversial sale came from the auctioning of lots 677 and 678 – featuring two rare Qing dynasty bronze sculptures, depicting a rabbit head and a rat head, which were part of a set of 12 that represented the 12 animals in Chinese Zodiac. They were sold at €15,745,000 each to unknown/private telephone bidder(s). Just as well, because I fear whoever that bidded for them openly may find themselves mysteriously disappear or something… (Sorry I’m being very cynical but with a good reason.)


This is a rather contentious issue. In China, those interviewed by foreign journalists believed that these two relics should be returned to the rightly owner – China. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage even brought this to court, but their filing was shot down by the French court. Rightly so, in my opinion.

Afterall, while Chinese authority is indignantly demanding for what they believe they have a claim to (in a way, they do but very very technically, these belonged to the past Emperors but since they decided to do away without the Imperial powers… just sayin’) their behaviour is nothing short of a bully at the playground who wants everything his way or else… Oh their contempt at the failure to block this sale is evident from miles away.

How conveniently they never mentioned Bergé’s offer to re-gift the relics back to China. “I would be very happy to go myself and bring these two Chinese heads to put them in the Summer Palace in Beijing. All they have to do is to declare they are going to apply human rights, give the Tibetans back their freedom and agree to accept the Dalai Lama on their territory.”

Of course, to accept this offer would mean an acknowledgement of their own looting of other customs and cultures, and their lack of respect for human rights. Therefore, from my point of view (and echoing many who are pro-human rights and in favour of a free Tibet) – “Until they return the rights of others along with the looted treasures they got away with, they can shut up”.

(I am so never going be issued a visa to visit China from now on, am I?)

Quick update on the auction of Collection YSL/PB

So, were you one of the people who queued for several hours just to get a glimpse into the marvellous art collection of YSL/PB? I certainly didn’t, and instead spent my time browsing the catalogue online.

The first of the auction sessions started today, at 7pm in the evening, in Paris. The organisation of the auction is unprecedented, with seatings prepared to accommodate over 1000 buyers, with additional 100 telephone lines for off-site bidding. My my, if only I live in a world of richesse to afford them. There were some seriously handsome pieces of Matisse, Gris, Vuillard and Leger on the block.

The entire collection is expected to fetch up to €300 million but the punters are obviously willing to shell out more, despite the difficult economic time. The sale from the first session alone has so far amassed in a whopping €206 million (check out what was sold at which price)!

While many pieces are obviously sold at higher bids than expected, the star piece of the first session – Picasso’s “Instruments de Musique sur un Guéridon” – failed to reach the minimum price of €30 million and instead attracted a highest bid of only €21 million.

In case you wonder where all the money from the sales is going to go to, the proceeds will be used to help create a new foundation for Aids research.

Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé

For a couple of arts lovers and collectors to have a few pieces of acclaimed pieces is great. But when a couple of art lovers and collectors to own an impressionable collection that is large enough to host its own museum exhibition, that’s just simply amazing.

If you have not yet heard, following the recent death of Yves Saint Laurent, the art collection that he worked on acquiring in his lifetime, together with Pierre Bergé will be going on auction by Christie’s in a few days time. But from yesterday to tomorrow (yes, very limited time!) there is an once in a lifetime opportunity to have a glimpse into the marvellous collection that will soon be sold to various bidders and be despatched on special delivery worldwide.

Art collection of YSL and PB

Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, photos from Christie's photoblog

The collection is now on exhibition in Grand Palais, so don’t miss out on this chance to check on the 733-pieces collection. Entry is free, but expect the queue to be long. The pre-auction exhibition will end on Monday afternoon, as the first (of six) auction sessions will start on Monday evening at 7pm with the sale of Impressionist and Modern works including pieces by Mondrian, Léger, Picasso and Matisse.

Gosh, if I ever have such wealth to garner such a collection, I would be rather heartbroken to see it dismantled in such a manner. But hey, I doubt that I’ll ever be in such a position, so I guess I don’t really have to be concerned over something like this. Anyway, so go now if you could, otherwise, checkout Christie’s Special YSL photoblog to have a look at the items and photos of the preparations, exhibition and subsequent auctions.

Dans la nuit, des images…

Du 18 au 31 décembre, la Nef du Grand Palais ouvre ses portes aux visiteurs pour célébrer les “arts visuels”. De nombreuses oeuvres sont projetées au sol, sur les murs et sur la façade de la nef… Ca promet !

Pour plus de détails :

Update : une petite photo de l’extérieur

Et une de l’intérieur

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