21 July 2019

 

 

 

 “Helena Rubinstein: l’adventure de la beauté”

 

This exhibition at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme recounts the life and career of the exceptional woman, Helena Rubinstein (1872-1965). We all recognize the name but do we know what an iconic woman she really was? How did this girl manage such an extraordinary journey? How did her vision of beauty accompany the emancipation of women? Being the oldest of eight children born to a modest Orthodox Jewish family in Krakow, she amazingly reinvented the culture of beauty and founded the worldwide cosmetics empire named after herself. Krakow, Vienna, Melbourne, London, Paris (in particular), New York and Tel Aviv were key places in her life and career. As a visionary and self-taught woman, she learned how to put science at the service of cosmetics starting with the creation of her first institute in Melbourne in 1902. Her initial “claim to fame” was waterproof mascara. She was the first business woman to use the press and advertising to explain a new power for women. Throughout her life Helena Rubinstein realized the importance of using herself, her beauty salons, factories, apartments, furniture, artworks, haute couture clothes and jewelry to promote her brand and create her legendary image. This avant-garde woman collected fine works of art and paintings, posed for well-known modern artists such as Dufy and Dali, and dressed in clothing by famous designers including Poirot, Balenciaga, Chanel and Dior. More than 300 items from her famous collection – objects, garments, photographs, etchings, books, paintings, sculptures and tapestries - are on display. Discover how even in death this “empress of beauty” was buried in elegance. I feel this quote by Helena Rubinstein summarizes perfectly her life philosophy: “Work has indeed been my best beauty treatment. I believe in hard work. It keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and the spirit.”

 

 

Hints:

1. This exhibition runs through 25 August 2019. The museum is open every day except Monday from 11:00AM to 6:00PM, Wednesday to 9:00PM and weekends from 10:00AM to 7:00PM.

2.Information is provided in French and English in a brochure and on the wall in each section plus by many of the items on display. Take time to watch the short video titled “4 Steps to Beauty in 5 Minutes” (1950). The steps sound familiar even today!

 

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10 June 2019

 

 

 

 “Le Monde en sphères”

 

This chronological and most informative exhibition at Bibliothèque nationale de France - site François Mitterrand (Galerie 2) retraces 2,500 years about the spherical model of the universe and scientific instruments from Antiquity to the present day. The history begins with the conception of a closed spherical world centered on the Earth and continues to that of an infinite universe in perpetual evolution. Nearly 200 exceptional objects including over forty terrestrial and celestial globes and spheres, rare archeological remains, rich handwritten and printed treatises and magnificent world maps, prints, paintings and other artworks represent the Earth and the sky.

There is much to see and learn in the various areas. Interactive terminals provide information for all ages. Have you ever wondered how a flat representation of the earth can be converted into a circular representation? To see this done watch “La Fabrication d’une Globe” with six short explanatory sections. I have now added the word “gore” to my English vocabulary. Notice how often a globe in represented in paintings over the centuries. Look carefully to find a globe of the earth embossed for the visually impaired. Interpret what you think Thomas Hirschhorn’s Outgrowth unique wall of 131 round contaminated globes placed in seven rows means to our contemporary society. Take a moment to watch an entertaining extract from Charlie Chaplin’s “Le Dictateur” (1940) with the balloon globe. I hope you enjoy this show as much as I did!

If you have never seen Les Globes de Coronelli, two monumental spheres each four meters in diameter dedicated to Louis 14th, walk nearby to the West Hall and see them plus learn more about the history of globes in this permanent exhibition. It’s a perfect complement to the temporary show.

 

Hints:

1. This exhibition runs through 21 July 2019. Galerie 2 is open Tuesday through Saturday from10:00AM to 7:00PM and Sunday from 1:00PM to 7:00PM. Tarif reduit with Amis du Louvre card.

2.A brochure is provided in French. Information on the walls throughout the exhibition is in French and English. The interactive terminals are in French, English and Arabic.

 

Check here for more information:

01 June 2019

 

 

 

 “Paradis d’Oiseaux”

 

This original exhibition at Van Cleef & Arpels’ L’École des Arts Joailliers features iconic bird brooches representing them on land, perched on branches and in flight as well as through the media of painting, drawing, engraving and ceramics. It begins with a chronological overview of the evolution of jewelry design between 1850 and 1960. In the 19th century, an attraction of exotic birds as well as birds from the countryside transformed these graceful creatures into jewelry and elements of interior decoration. Hummingbirds, swallows, roosters, swans and peacocks were popular birds of paradise since they offered a dazzling range of shapes but also have symbolic and cultural references. By recreating the bird’s graceful shapes, brilliant colors and lively movements in cleverly arranged gemstones (often a ruby was used for eyes), the jewelers designed a dazzling paradise and provided insight into jewelry creation and the arts in general.

Be sure to take a look at Portraits d’Oiseaux, a collection of beautiful gouache and watercolor paintings on vellum (fine parchment) from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, that is presented digitally. The trend for romance, curiosity and travel was inspired by the growing knowledge of birds that were presented in richly illustrated ornithological publications.

Birds singing in the background and a wall looking like the sky create a perfect setting. Many birds look realistic enough to fly into paradise! I wonder if brooches, considered as being vintage decorative jewelry items, will become fashionable again like vintage clothing.

 

Hints:

1. This exhibition runs through 13 July 2019. The School of Jewelry Arts is open Monday through Saturday from 12:00PM to 7:00PM. It is located at 31, rue Danielle Casanova, Paris (1st). Free entry.

2.A beautifully illustrated and very informative free book (141 pages!) is available in French and English and descriptions are in both languages. It’s a delightful visual experience!

 

Check here for more information:

11 May 2019

 

 

 

 “Calder - Picasso”

 

This exhibition at Musée Picasso Paris located in the beautiful Hotel de Salé features masterpieces by two great 20th century artists, Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). It explores the common theme of the void, or the absence of space, through their abstract and figurative works. Both wanted to present or represent non-space, whether by “giving definition to a subtraction of mass, as in Calder’s sculptures, or by expressing contortions of time, as in Picasso’s portraits.” Each room has a different theme – such as capturing the void, the void and volume, drawing in space, making and deconstructing, piecing and folding, in the studio, and more – with quotes from various major texts. More and more I am discovering artists, consciously or not, are influenced by each other. I found the common ideas shared yet differently expressed by these contemporary artists rather intriguing as well as fun to identify. It was also the first time I visited the garden and took this opportunity to admire a large sculpture by each artist.

 

Hints:

1. This exhibition runs through 25 August 2019. The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 10:30AM to 6:00PM and weekends from 9:30AM to 6:00PM.

2.Information is provided in French and English on the wall in each section. Plus an audio guide is available in various languages.

3.Museum is accessible to people with limited mobility.

 

Check here for more information:

05 March 2019

 

 

 

 “Roux! De Jean-Jacques Henner à Sonia Rykiel”

 

Red hair! If you are a redhead, this exhibition at Musée National Jean-Jacques Henner will be of special interest to you. It is a perfect location for this theme since during Henner’s career he used red hair as his signature. Through Henner’s permanent works and the temporary collection, insights into the perception of red hair during the 19th and 20th centuries are explored. An eclectic set of paintings, fashion sketches, posters, photographs, drawings, masks, films and more are displayed alongside Henner’s paintings. Redheads attract and stand out perhaps because they are so rare. As they are often nicknamed, these “carrot tops” have been viewed differently over time – sometimes feared and other times admired. Discover the portraits of American Indians with their red mohawks, the uniqueness in Sonia Rykeil’s red hair “homage dresses” and the charm of a super-strong redheaded and freckled faced Pipi Longstocking (called Fifi Brindacier in France). Have you ever wondered how you would look as a redhead? Try on a wig and take a photo of yourself. I saw a young bearded man do this and we shared a smile!

If you have never been to this museum, this is a good opportunity to plan a visit. I was totally intrigued by this beautiful 19th century mansion with its four floors, winding staircases, period furniture and much more.

 

Hints:

1. This exhibition runs through 20 May 2019. The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 10:00AM to 6:00PM. It is located at 43, avenue de Villiers, 75017 Paris and the building deserves 5 paws! Thanks to a renovation about ten years ago, it is accessible to people with reduced mobility.

2. A brochure provides information about the exhibition in French and English. Also, there are descriptions in French in the various rooms and a film in French to watch in the indoor winter garden.

 

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14 February 2019

 

 

 

 “Braco Luz (White Light) by Joana Vasconcelos”

 

This amazing installation in the atrium and the windows of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche features a Valkyrie named “Simone.” The strange and invading work of contemporary art is suspended under the skylights and entangles itself around the escalators as it looms over the store. It is composed of two monumental, ethereal creatures. The Portuguese artist, Joana Vasconcelos, created these organic white forms with various trimmings including sequins, fringe, lace, knitted wool, feathers and tiny lights. Take a close look at it from all three floors as well as the escalators. Wish I could have seen it being hung in place from the ceiling!

 

Hints:

1. This exhibition runs through 17 February 2019. Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche is open Monday through Friday from 10AM until 8PM and 8:45PM on Thursday. It is also open Sunday from 11AM until 7:45PM.

2. Information is provided in French and English.  However, it’s really just an incredible visual experience!

 

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