Art Today London & Paris

Passing through London or Paris?

Everyone benefits from a measure of art when traveling; museums are frequently some of the grandest architectural structures in a city and contain additional riches inside.

My recent Journey to London and Paris was enhanced by a few memorable hours in museums. Picasso is always an invitation to linger, and London and Paris have a plethora of Picasso’s at the moment. Might I recommend a few hours of wandering?

London’s National Portrait Gallery is one of my favorite museums; geographically accessible in St Martin’s Place, right off Trafalgar Square. When it opened in 1856, it was the first portrait gallery in the world. Primarily housing portraits of historically famous and important British people, it also hosts many traveling exhibitions.

Picasso’s Portraits runs until February 5, 2017. If I were required to choose between several exhibits in Paris at the moment and this exhibition, I would say get thee to Paris on the next plane…however, my schedule delivered me initially to London.

Picasso’s Portraits provide an immense variety of drawings, paintings and sketches of over 80 works focusing on friends, family, his numerous lovers and wives. The body of the work includes realist oil paintings, including many self-portraits from his early career and provides a full representation of his evolving technique and his experimenting with various painting styles. The website has a marvelous video presentation of many of the pieces.

Picasso- Woman in a Hat (Olga)

Picasso- Woman in a Hat (Olga)

Personally, I love Picasso and never tire of seeing an exhibit or visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. His career spanned so many interesting periods and styles…the moody Blue period, seeing his travel influences, in particular I love his perspective change after he saw an African mask exhibit in Paris. The female shape became so angular and descriptive, Picasso didn’t seem to be ruled by fear of change and loved to experiment.

picasso-maya-in-sailor-suit

Picasso – Maya in A Sailor Suit

picasos-self-portrait

Picasso – Self Portrait

PARIS-

Separate blog on the block buster exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton.  But while in Paris also look for ‘Frederic Bazille The Youth of Impressionism’ at the Musee d’Orsay until March 5. Monet and his best friend Bazille shared an Impressionist history, unfortunately Bazille  died on the battlefield during the Franco-Prussian War, his reputation as a significant contributor to the movement has been building. Much of his work and a number of pieces by Monet, Renoir are on display. This show moves to Washington’s National Gallery in April.

Paris Art – Oh My! Blockbuster Extended

UPDATE – Due to the incredible success of the exhibition “Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection”, which has already welcomed 600,000 visitors, the Fondation is pleased to announce the extension of the exhibition through 5 March 2017.

Long before I departed to Paris, I had read about the extraordinary exhibit at the Fondation Louis Vuitton…I’ve been known to visit New York just for an art exhibit, but Paris is a jaunt for art’s sake. In this case, I would highly recommend considering a visit to Paris for the riveting and impressive exhibit from Russian collector Sergi Shchukin.

The blockbuster exhibit “Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection” recently opened in the esteemed Frank Gehry designed Fondation Louis Vuitton…a double treat, an astonishing collection in a truly astonishing building.

The collection of 127 works of French masters – van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Picasso and additional artists is a massive assembly of work that originally belonged to a Russian textile tycoon – Sergi Shchukin.img_6672

Shchukin collected mostly French Impressionist and Post Impressionist art, amassing his visionary collection in a brief 15-year period. His palatial palace in Moscow housed the paintings. During the Lenin days and the revolution, Shchukin fled to Paris in exile and his collection was dispersed.

There are several astonishing points in regard to this exhibition – one, the massive collection of Picasso’s, Gauguin’s, Monet’s and Cezanne’s is almost overwhelming – so many masterpieces assembled in one location and imagining the political feat of orchestrating the exhibit. The collection has resided in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Pushkin in Moscow. Travel bans were partly fueled by Shchukin heirs requesting for restitution of the paintings. Bernard Arnault, president of the Fondation Louis Vuitton was determined and personally funded the insurance and all expenses in bringing this treasure trove to Paris. Merci, Monsieur Arnault.

Portrait of Shchukin

Portrait of Shchukin

With our hotel team at La Reserve, we can offer skip the line passes – otherwise, purchase online and expect to stand outside for at least 15 minutes while patrons pass through security. The Museum itself is an entirely other art story if you haven’t visited the iconic building. Do include exploring the outdoor spaces as part of this visit.

I’ve never been so impressed with such a collection of art – the eleven Gauguin’s, alone are worth the visit! Clustered together as they were once exhibited in the Trubetskoy Palace, represent what was then thought of as risqué – the nudes and provocative poses were in questionable taste.

Matisse is represented in twenty-two works, the collector found Matisse during a difficult financial period, stood by him and seemed to have funded much of his major work.

Really, if you love art, escape to Paris!  This exhibit runs until February 20, 2017 and will leave you awestruck! We will help you with the Art of a Visit!

Henri Matisse - Nude. Black and Gold

Henri Matisse – Nude. Black and Gold

Matisse - The Goldfish

Henri Matisse – The Goldfish

Henri Matisse - Spanish Woman with Tambourine

Henri Matisse – Spanish Woman with Tambourine

Pablo Picasso - House in a Garden

Pablo Picasso – House in a Garden

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Paul Gauguin – Do Not Work. Tahitians in a Room

Claude Monet - Luncheon on the Grass

Claude Monet – Luncheon on the Grass

Paul Gauguin - What, Are You Jealous?

Paul Gauguin – What, Are You Jealous?

Morning Shchukin! From Monday 27 February to Sunday 5 March 2017
Morning Shchukin! Early birds, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. recharge your batteries while visiting the exhibition.