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Paris in August is deserted like a novel by René Fallet. Is it? Look again! Things have changed quite a bit and the summer’s cultural agenda is as full as that of the chilier months. From the Louvre to the Grand Palais, Orsay to the Jeu de Paume, here is a long enough choice to keep busy after 14 July.

J.F WILLUMSEN Brisants par temps calme sur la côte de Bretagne, 1904 Huile sur toile, 47,5x61cm Randers Kunstmuseum, Danemark © ADAGP, Paris 2006


GRAND PALAIS – Between the strenght of Art and the Antiques Biennial soon to come, the totally renovated Grand Palais treats itself to a pleasant amusement by hosting the incredible machines designed by François Delarozière and his team for the Royal de Luxe theater troop. Following in the tradition of the serious and zany such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vaucanson, Marcel Duchamp and Tinguely, they really racked their brains for mechanisms that are highly improbable. Here for example is a machine to spread a nut based butter (nutella), a machine to strip-tease a chicken, a machine that lifts skirts, a bicycle to stamp cows (practical for the Cow Parade). Some of these pieces would not have been out of place in a medieval siege such as this piano catapult. Machines have become such a part of our daily lives that we have lost the innocence of our look in face of their magic performances. Here is an opportunity to gain it back.

  • The big repertoire, show machines at the Grand Palais, until August 13 2006.
    The program of the festival Paris quartier d'été www.quartierdete.com

    Masterpieces from Qing imperial painting

    GUIMET-To celebrate the fifth anniversary of its reopening after renovation, the Guimet Museum presents to the public for the first time an exceptional collection of painted scrolls, imperial commissions intended to celebrate events marking the reign of three great sovereigns Qing: Kangxi (1662-1723), Yongzheng (1723-1736) and Qianlong (1736-1796). More than 100 works from the Ming and Qing dynasties are presented: monochrome scrolls and album sheets, paintings on fans, engravings, porcelain, albums of imperial seals and works dealing with perspectives. A unique opportunity to discover the museum's treasure and one of the great moments of the history of China

  • Musée Guimet, until September 4 2006
    Read the article on art-of-the-day.info
    The website of the Guimet Museum www.museeguimet.fr


    JEU DE PAUME - She is alternately movie actress of the fifties, fashion model, a medieval Saint or an anonymous woman waiting for the bus in an American suburb. Cindy Sherman is the queen of transformation. Since her beginnings in the mid-seventies she has represented a great number of characters while remaining, deep inside, Cindy Sherman. Through the use of makeup, staging, poses, lights, she simply embodies our clichés and fantasies, by walking through time and history. Cindy Sherman works by series, using nothing else than photography. The exhibition at the Jeu de Paume, one of the most complete ever dedicated to her, groups together 250 works . We will be able to see in particular all of Film Stills (69 images), and the series History Portraits, Fairy Tales, Murder Mystery, Fashion, etc. After using models as well (Sex pictures) and working in black and white (Broken Dolls), the artist finally approached an obvious prey, the clown.

  • Jeu de Paume (place de la Concorde), until September 3 2006
    The website of the Jeu de Paume


    LOUVRE - France and the United States have not always had a love story. On the other hand, between France and American artists, feelings have always been fruitful and cordial. We see this clearly in an exhibition on the interest painters from across the Atlantic ocean have always had in the Louvre museum. Nearly thirty paintings are presented, of which some were quite famous in the past, such as Panorama du Salon carré et de la Grande Galerie( Panorama of the Square room and the Great Gallery) (1831) by Samuel Morse, hung precisely in the location it describes. Another artist was famous in his time, George Catlin (1796-1872). In 1845, Louis-Philippe granted him the extraordinary privilege of an exhibition in the Salle des Séances (the Meeting Room) for its series of paintings on the Indians from Missouri. But the study visit to the Louvre is a tradition that still existed in the XXth century, as can be seen in the examples of Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper.

  • the Louvre museum, until September 18 2006
    The press release on the Louvre website


    LOUVRE-It was not such a bad idea after all to present these sumptuous jewels in the Summer, the season where one and all undress. What could we coordinate them with that would be better than the naked skin? The collection of sheik al-Sabah of Kuwait includes hundreds of jewels commissioned by the Muslim sovereigns of Northern India, from the XVIth to the XIXth century. It was started in the middle of the decade of the 1970s and was diminished in 1990 when Saddam Hussein took it off like a war trophy during his invasion of Kuwait. Whether it is the inventiveness of the forms, the techniques in enamel, in setting precious stones or in damascening, the silver and gold smiths of the Great Moghols left a great number of masterpieces. Sword sheaths in sculpted walrusq ivory, dagger ruby sheath, ring mounted with a gold bird, miniature cup cut in one single emerald… A British ambassador in the XVIe century, very impressed, spoke of the «treasure of the world», an opinion that was picked up again as the exhibition's title.

    The treasure of the world,Indian jewels at the time of the Great Moghols at the Louvre museum, until September 3 2006.
    Presentation of the exhibition


    MAILLOL-«It is as easy to undress Marilyn as it is to go to Egypt and turn a pyramid into a martini glass». And yet… Bert Stern, a fashion photographer from Brooklyn, kept of his wild bet and had the star pose in the nude. That was in 1962, a few months before her death. This «last show», held in a suite at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles, has since been archived among the myths. It includes 2571 photos, and has often been shownin very tight selections. This one, of only 59 images, belonged to a musuem before being bought by its current owner, Leon Constantiner. The titles of these photos taken with a a Rolleiflex or a Nikon, «Marilyn biting the stripped scarf», «Portrait with a necklace», «Marilyn with roses, cuddly» are very evocative and bring backto life a star who was both provocative and fragil, vane and sincere. Nearly half a century after her death, the Marilyn magic still works…

  • Marilyn, la dernière séance, at the musée Maillol, until September 30
    The Musée Maillol website


    ORSAY - The Orsay museum, which owns the largest drawing collections (600 in total) by Jean-François Millet, will be exhibiting an interesting ensemble. The avowed aim of this exhibit-dossier is to belie the image of Millet as a workshop artist, one who never worked outdoors. This interpretation is largely due to his son's memories when he wrote, "When he walked through the fields, he carried only his cane". While this may be true for his painting, his drawings at the Orsay museum reveal a rather spontaneous character, showing they were done in front of the motif. Among these works quickly sketched, some come from notebooks the artist slipped into the pockets of his pea jacket. Rural life is clearly at the heart of his sketches, of which many were done after he settled in Barbizon in 1849.

  • the Orsay museum, until September 3 2006
    The website of the Orsay Museum

    WILLUMSEN (1863-1958), a Danish artist

    ORSAY - The Orsay Museum did not undertake an easy task when it decided to show Willumsen’s work. Besides the fact that the artist’s very long career goes many decades beyond the chronological limits imposed on the museum, his work is multiform. Putting aside painting, he was interested in sculpture, architecture, ceramics and he practiced engraving and photography. His deeply individualistic, mobile and assimilating personality makes it difficult to approach his work, and holds many surprises. To try to figure him out the exhibition has grouped together some thirty paintings, nearly ten prints, as many ceramics as well as some forty photographs

  • the Orsay Museum, until September 17 2006
    Read the article on /www.art-of-the-day.info


    CENTRE POMPIDOU - He is one of the major American sculptors of the last century but his name continues to be largely ignored in France. The retrospective that is arriving at the Centre Pompidou from the Guggenheim in New York is here to fill that gap. David Smith (1906-65) is a child of the industrial civilization who carries within him the nostalgia of a golden rural age (a little like Frank Lloyd Wright, see below). With a strong preference for metal, he reconstructs figures by welding recycled objects together. One of his main series, called Agricola (in the 1950s), uses peasants tools, pieces of tractors, elements from carts. In another one, the Tanktotem, he uses boned boilers. More than forty of these sculptures, representing a link between Julio Gonzàlez and Arman, are brought together. They are accompanied by a few drawings.

  • the Centre Pompidou, until August 21 2006
    Presentation of the exhibition


    CANADIAN CULTUREL CENTER– In the context of the Francofffonies festival!, and witht he major participation of Jocelyne Alloucherie at the Biennial Urbi & Orbi at Sedan, the Canadian cultural center presents an installation by artist Jocelyne Alloucherie. Made up of five photographs and five lampposts , playing wi the images that are projected, she was presented for the first time at the Oratorio San Ludovico, in Venice, in October 2005.

  • Canadian Cultural Center, until 23 September 2006
    Read the article (in French) on artaujourdhui.info