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Art Of The Day Weekly

#101 - from 18 September 2008 to 24 September 2008


The Acropolis done me in

In Athens, the museum of the Acropolis – a trite news subject- is finally taking shape. Some of the spaces are now open to the public in the morning, from 10 AM to noon, as prefiguration. The building designed by Bernard Tschumi did not get back lord Elgin’s famous friezes that still stand at the British Museum, but it is getting ready for an inauguration that has been set back various times – it should have coincided with the Olympic Games of 2004…. We hope the same hesitations will benefit the construction at Areopagitou 17, designed in 1930 by architect Kouremenos. Formerly the house of Parthénis, a colleague of Matisse’s and Picasso’s, included in the historic Monuments list since 1978, it is the most beautiful example of Art deco architecture in the Greek capital. But it has the sad role of disturbing the «dialogue» between the Acropolis and the new museum, located lower down. In other words, it partly hides the view of the Parthenon… In the current era of museums-monsters, this sort of situation could not be tolerated. The minister of Culture therefore cancelled the decree that protected the Art deco jewel that now awaits its own demolition. Unless… On the door, a flying piece of paper is progressively covered with signatures from protesters. In parallel, international personalities, among them Jean Clair, are trying to convince the government to come back on its position. Until now the lack of interest in the Acropolis was such that it had been turned into a quarry. Today it has been sanctified to such a point that everyone is ready to raze everything around it. Looking for middle of the road position desperately …

Consult: the website of the defenders of the Areopagitou 17 Art deco building


Boldini, idealizing women

MONTECATINI TERME – Just like Domergue or Helleu, Boldini has an ideal woman, the symbol of snobbish elegance that is a little vain, between the end of the century and the Belle Epoque era. The Italian painter, born in Ferrara in 1842, settled down in Paris after the Universal Exhibition in 1867 and found there a perfect context, and he became the appointed portrait artist of the aristocracy and the greater bourgeoisie. In an unexpected place but which lends itself well through its cosmopolitanism – the major Tuscan spa – the exhibition examines the close links between Boldini and the feminine universe. From Berthe, his first French mistress, to the young and flighty writer Emilia Cardona, who became his wife, not excluding Madame Lanthème or countess de Rasty, it is a true gallery of refined, elegant and sophisticatedly-dressed seductresses, that parades in front of the visitor, in 110 paintings, 60 drawings and numerous photographs.

  • Boldini mon amour at the former spa Tamerici, from 18 September to 30 December 2008

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  • An oscar for Correggio

    PARMA – The retrospective of the painter from the Emilia region is clearly the gathering of the greatest number of works to be potentially transported from museums all over the world. Antonio Allegri, aka Correggio (1489-1534), is the representative of the most refined mannerism, whose saints have golden hair and peach complexions.. These loans trace all his career, from his training in Mantova to his Parmesan altarpieces, including his architectural compositions. The location of the exhibition itself is unique, shared between the Pilotta palace and the Farnese theatre, an extraordinary wooden trompe-l’œil. A special effort was made to give value to what also exists in situ, i.e. to say it mildly, his most important masterpieces: the cycles of the cathedral, the Saint-John-the Evangelist and the Chamber of the abbess at San Paolo. Scaffoldings have been set up so the visitors may be at the height of the frescoes and the lighting of the cupolas designed by the «painter of light» was entrusted to Vittorio Storaro, the photographic director of Bernardo Bertolucci’s movies and winner of three Oscars, of which one for Apocalypse Now. There is great entertainment in store for us …

  • Corrège at the Galleria nazionale, from 20 September 2008 to 25 January 2009.

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  • Nolde, painting as a means to resist

    PARIS – This will be the first time the French public will see polyptych of the Life of Christ, kept at Seebüll, in Germany. Actually, many of the works presented will be seen for the first time in France since there had never been until now a retrospective of Emil Nolde, the expressionist painter who died in 1956. Better late than never: at the Grand Palais and then at the Fabre museum in Montpellier a great ensemble of some 90 paintings and 70 drawings and prints. The «Grand-father» of the Die Brücke group (he was older than his companions), Nolde is an intense colourist, describes the activity of the modern town but also participates in the renewal of religious figuration. He turned to painting late in his life – he was first a sculptor on wood and a teacher of industrial design – and Nolde dedicated himself to it until his oldest age. His membership to the Nazi party did not prevent him from being classified among the degenerated painters in 1937 and then from being forbidden to paint in 1941. He then produced an original aspect of his work, thousands of small clandestine watercolours.

  • Emil Nolde at the Grand-Palais, from 24 September 2008 to 19 January 2009.

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    Gothic autographs

    PARIS – At the time of the electronic signature, what could be more exotic than a seal from the XIIIth century? Round or oval, ogival or hexagonal, be it orbicular, in copper or bronze, golden or not: the choice is practically unlimited. Especially since the difference is then made by the motifs: star, holly branch, hook, lis flower or animals – from the sheep to the lion, from the bear to the chicken … On 23 September, a whole collection of seals produced from the XIIIth to the XVIIIth centuries, from the region of Touraine, from England, the Rhineland or Spain, will be put up for sale by the Damien Libert auction house. The estimates are extremely conservative for such ancient pieces of history. An example, this round seal in copper, with a 22 mm diameter, that belonged to Raoul, a cleric from the XIVth century: it is evaluated between 100 and 200 €. But one will undoubtedly have to add at least ten times that figure for this seal from the same era, with a pyramid shape handle and a ring, decorated with a paschal lamb and a banner…

  • Sale of Gothic seals, Damien Libert auction house, at Hôtel-Drouot, on 24 September at 2 PM.

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    Saturday, acrylic on wood, 56 x 56 cm, courtesy galerie Alain Blondel, Paris

    PJ Crook : horror vacui

    On her website she defines herself as «a woman artist, who paints grotesque crowds, in highly coloured acrylic paints.» And that is what one feels when seeing her series of numerous characters, Arab storytellers or readers of British newspapers. Born in 1945 in the Gloucestershire region, PJ Crook is obviously an apostle of the figurative current even if her accumulations, when they concern

    objects, such as the women’s shoes or the coffee pots, take on an almost abstract dimension. Crook shares the horror vacui of the baroques: her paintings are full to the rim and the buyer gets «his money’s worth». Among her admirers, we have the guitarist from King Crimson and undoubtedly a group of French collectors: gallery owner alain Blondel has been showing her works for over twenty years.

  • PJ Crook is presented at the galerie Alain Blondel (128 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003) from 13 September to 31 October 2008

    The website of the galerie Alain Blondel


    Pax Scandinavia

    Bourgeois interiors with lattice windows. Doors, tables, paintings on the wall. Women sitting, generally seen from the back, in black, reading, or sewing or playing the piano. Grey, brown, blackish-brown colours, a little soiled. No violent movement, no conversation, no street nor market scene. Felix Krämer, one of the authors of the monography dedicated to Vilhelm Hammershoi resumes the production of this painter by a well found term, «the poetry of silence». Even in his life, Hammershoi, who died in 1916 in Copenhagen at the age of 52, created few waves. His (re)discovery in Europe as of the 980 had the effect of a small bomb, due to the incredible contrast between his protected universe and our contemporary frenetic life. The present catalogue accompanies the exhibition presented at the Royal Academy of London but represents, with 72 commented paintings, a good introduction to his work.

  • Hammershoi, collective work, Hazan publishing house, 2008, ISBN : 978-2-7541-0317-6, 160 p., 39 €

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    LIVERPOOL- The fifth biennale of contemporary art of Liverpool will open on 19 September 2008 and will continue until 30 November.

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    LONDON-Damien Hirst's self imposed challenge - to auction his works directly to the public without going towards the galleries - has had its results. The sale of 15 and 16 May at Sotheby's brought in 70 million £ for 56 lots, that is 7 million £ above the highest estimate.

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    MILANO- Start Milano, the simultaneous opening of 41 galleries in Milano will be held from 19 to 21 September 2008.

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    PARIS- From 17 to 23 September, Sotheby's will present at the Charpentier gallery the exhibition "The golden age of the Ballets Russes". The centennial of the famous dance company will be celebrated through some one hundred paintings, posters, costumes and photographs.

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    PARIS - The Days of National Heritage for 2008, with the opening of various public monuments and sites, will be held on 20 and 21 September 2008 in France and in other European countries.

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    ROME - The Praemium Imperiale prizes, among the most prestigious in the art world, have just been named by the Japan Art Association. Among the winners of 2008 there are Peter Zumthor (architecture), Richard Hamilton(painting) and the couple Ilya and Emilia Kabakov(sculpture).

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