Art Of The Day Weekly
#141 - from 10 September 2009 to 16 September 2009
IN THE AIR
The exhibitions resist
Will the month of September be marked by the crisis? It does not seem the case, given the large exhibitions programmed this autumn: the offer is quite abundant. Of course, no major risks will be run. The Albertina in Vienna for example will study Impressionism and light (11 September), the Louvre entrusts its fate to a winning Venitian trio (Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, on 17 September), the Grand Palais will serve Renoir once again and his later period (23 September) and the Tate Britain will recycle Turner (23 September). The exhibitions on Tiffany at the musée du Luxembourg (16 September), on the Golden Age of Flemish art at the Pinacothèque de Paris (7 October) or on Pop Art at the Tate Modern (1st October) are hardly more daring. Our curiosity is surely more aroused by the retrospectives dedicated to Fernand Pelez (at the Petit Palais, 24 September), to Fantin-Latour (at the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, 29 September), to Soulages (at the Centre Pompidou, 14 October) or to Ensor (at the musée d’Orsay, 20 October). Looking towards other, far-away countries, a beautiful Aztec season is being prepared with Moctezuma at the British Museum (24 September) and Teotihuacán at quai Branly (6 October). The Turkish Season in France will treat us to a review of the millenary history of Constantinople (de Byzance à Istanbul, at the Grand Palais) while the Victoria & Albert Museum will bring back to life the splendors of the maharajahs (both as of 10 October). Count once again: fifteen first-class exhibitions in one month, the equivalent of one every two days. And we have not counted all of them yet …
Tiffany, the prince of glass
PARIS – He is Gallé’s or Lalique’s alter ego. The variety of talents American designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) had made him one of the greatest representatives of Art nouveau. The retrospective of some nearly 160 works dedicated to him focuses of course mostly on his glass production: Favrile lamps (a process of iridescence invented in 1894), colored glass in vegetable shapes and numerous decorative objects that ensured the prosperity of the company founded by his father. But it also sheds light on certain less-known aspects of his biography, in particular his training in Paris in the workshop of the academic painter Léon Bailly and his relations with Siegfried Bing, the art dealer who was one of the greatest promoters of Art nouveau in Europe.
Transylvania comes to us
PARIS – Will you be going to Sibiu? Sibiu, in Rumania, in the heart of Transylvania? Not right away? The exhibition at the Jacquemart-André museum will make up for that shortcoming. Indeed it presents the masterpieces in a museum no one would think of looking for there. It is a mistake, for the national Brukenthal museum which groups together the collection of the baron of the same name, counsellor to Austrian Empress Marie-Thérèse in the XVIIIth century, holds unexpected treasures. We thus have works by Titian or Lotto and above all a remarkable fund of Flemish painters: landscapes by Brueghel the elder, tavern scenes by David Teniers, still-lives by de Heem and a succession of superb portraits, in particular signed by Memling or van Eyck.
Shedding light on Impressionsm
VIENA – When in a period of crisis, rely on values you are sure of. This is the precept applied by the Albertina by dedicating its exhibition this autumn to Impressionism. How can one create a novelty with something old? This pitfall motivated the curators to have a «scientific» approach. The aim is to understand how the painters of the 1860-70 revolutionized the transcription of light and color. The paintings chosen are meant to be exemplary in didactic terms. Their mission is to answer an infinite number of questions – what is an impression? What is a stain? How does one render a shadow? When is a painting finished? The stars were called to the rescue– Monet, Renoir, Morisot, Signac – with a hard core of works from the Wallraff-Richartz museum in Cologne. But they also try to initiate the public to understand optic phenomena and interpret images prises taken with infra-red or with X rays.
Artoftheday also suggests...
To experience again the taste of collecting
PARIS – Some call the Salon du Collectionneur the little Biennale. It is held every two years, alternating with the Biennale des antiquaires, but has neither the ambition nor the atmosphere to compete with it. It is more open, less fussy and wishes more to awaken the public’s curiosity rather than be seen as a championship of the world of antique dealers. Among the nearly one hundred stands, there are experienced dealers as well as neophytes, specialists of ancient rugs (Boccara) as well as book specialists (Laurent Coulet), experts in weapons (Bernard Croissy), in Islamic art (Kevorkian) or in Flemish painting (de Jonckheere). The events created on the side reflect this same variety, with a tribute to Dina Vierny as well as an exhibition of fossilized prehistoric animals.
Kaos, 8th edition and so much more
PARIS – The President this year of the event is no other than former French President Jacques Chirac, whose interest in non-European arts is well known. Kaos, the manifestation dedicated to tribal arts, brings together in its eigth edition more than sixty international art dealers in Paris’ Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Many of course are Parisian – Dulon, Ferrandin, Flak, Hourdé, de Monbrison or Vanuxem. The others «squat» their colleagues in the district for five days. These nomads are not exactly unknown: Belgians de Grunne, Mestdagh, the American Bruce Frank, Fröhlich the Swiss or the Italian Dalton Somaré arrive with Lega statuettes from Zaïre, inuit masks or Senoufo statues. A practically parallel exhibition will be held at the Monnaie de Paris. In «Regards de marchands» (The eye of art dealers), some one hundred pieces that are now privately owned will underline the role of the go-between played by specialized gallery owners.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Claude Selva, dreams of landscapes
This is a true discovery even though he is no longer very young. Claude Selva is nearly 70 years old, and he spent a major part of his life as a craftsman, restoring old furniture in Saint-Ouen. While he fixed an armchair or a Louis XVI dresser, he would recite Surrealist poems to himself or would let his imagination wander towards insane architecture. Once his work was finished he would take a pen (later he would open up to gouache or to color pencils), and would draw the product of his dreams.
The famous exhibition mounted by Dubuffet on art brut in 1967 and later the retrospective of Jean Clair on melancholia influenced him immensely, and Claude Selva gave a new orientation to his work each time. One can have fun detecting the influence of Piranese – in the amount of details in the gothic follies – as well as that of Victor Brauner, in the geometric characters with heads at a profile. But it is mostly Claude Selva – one of those creators discovered belatedly, just like Boix-Vives or Henry Darger, with a very dense personal universe, foreign to any commercial ambition. Do not miss this, for these appearances will undoubtedly be very rare …
The Oriental style house
The Orient – as the embodiment of exoticism – fascinates and will always fascinate us, whatever the geopolitical situation may be. The marble and screen walls of the palaces, with chirping, “azulejo” fountains, the moucharaby, the sculpted ceilings, the rugs hung over walls covered with figurative mosaics have attracted the Western world for centuries … Photographer and architect Gérard Degeorge has traveled for a long time to the near East to immortalise the houses in Damas, Cairo or Ouarzazate, the souks of Alep and Kashan. His images form a very large corpus even though – the other side of the coin of this diligent work – the oldest of the prints have lost some of their luster. The text by Jean-Claude David gives the key to understand the evolution of the Muslim town, the materials used by the builders and the principles that govern the essential difference between public and private space.
BRUSSELS –Design September, the exhibition that groups together some fifty events related to design, will be held from 10 September to 2 October 2009.
CHATSWORTH (England) – «Beyond Limits», the sale-exhibition of monumental sculptures organized for four years now by Sotheby’s in the park of the castle of Chatsworth will be held from 14 September to 1st November 2009. The main piece is the gigantic Angel of the North by Anhony Gormley, 54 meters tall.
FONTAINEBLEAU – With the title of «Design à la cour» (Design at the Court), the castle of Fontainebleau will host until 30 November 2009 the design collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques(National Center for visual arts).
ISTANBUL –The 11th Biennale of contemporary art of Istanbul will be held from 11 September to 8 November 2009. Under the commission of the collective Croate group WHW, it explores Brecht's question «what does man live on?» with the participation of artists from 40 countries.
LJUBLJANA – The 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts has opened on 4 September and remains open until 25 October.
LYON –The Biennale of contemporary art of Lyon will be held from 16 September 2009 to 3 January 2010. Under commissionner Hou Hanru, the theme is «daily shows».
LYON –The 2nd edition of Docks Art Fair, the contemporary art fair that brings together some thirty galleries, will be held from 14 to 20 September 2009 near la Sucrière.
PARIS –The 10th edition of the Art Outsiders festival, at the crossroads of photography and digital art, will be held from 9 September to 11 October 2009 at the Maison européenne de la photographie on the theme «extreme environments».
VERSAILLES – Following Keff Koons in 2008, the French artist Xavier Veilhan exhibits contemporary creations in the setting of the Château de Versailles from 13 September to 13 December 2009.