Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #424 - from 31 March 2016 to 6 April 2016

Art Of The Day Weekly

#424 - from 31 March 2016 to 6 April 2016

Henri Rousseau, dit Le Douanier Rousseau (1844-1910), The Football Players, 1908. Oil on canvas, 100.3 x 80.3 cm. New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / Art Resource, NY, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais


Rousseau, no customs agent

PARIS – He was in no way a ‘customs’ officer (douanier) but due to his friends’ caustic wit, that nickname stuck to him for posterity. Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) was simply a tax employee at the gates of Paris, at a time when all merchandise was controlled as it came into the capital. He turned to painting late in life and despite himself he became the big favourite of the avant-gardes in 1900. He was very sensitive to all proofs of affection and in particular during the famous banquet hosted by Picasso in 1908, he taunted the Andalusian with this immortal phrase: “We are the greatest painters in the world, you in in the Egyptian style, I in the modern one.” After the museo Correr in Venice, the musée d’Orsay cuts out Douanier’s work into themes instead of chronologically and sets up interesting passages with other artists, from the American naifs to Kandinsky, Carrà or Victor Brauner (who occupied his last workshop on rue Perrel in the 14th arrondissement where he spent the greater part of his life). His wild and imaginary nature is obviously what most impressed his contemporaries and we are more than happy to linger in front of the large Rêve lent by the MoMA. Salgari wrote his Malay pirate stories without leaving Torino, Rousseau immortalised an idea of the jungle – in particular in the famous Charmeuse de serpents, commissioned by Robert Delaunay’s mother -, without ever going beyond the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Sometimes the imagination only needs inner trips. …
Le Douanier Rousseau. L’innocence archaïque at the musée d’Orsay, from 22 March to 16 July 2016.

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Edward Hopper, South Carolina Morning, 1955, oil on canvas, 77.2x102.2 cm, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; given in memory of 'Otto L. Spaeth by his family © Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

Hopper, a strange reality

BOLOGNA – One never tires of looking at his hyper-realistic scenes which do disturb us, due to their “disquieting strangeness”, similar to that of de Chirico and Douanier Rousseau. Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is presented at the Palazzo Fava with some sixty paintings that sum up his itinerary, from his first trials in the 1900s, when he was in Paris, in particular the staircase at 48, rue de Lille, where there is the Baptist church, the Louvre or a bistrot side table along the Seine, up to his American icons: women with a deep cleavage standing by their doorstep (South Carolina Morning), bars at night or suburb homes under the sun (Second Story Sunlight). The retrospective draws from the remarkable funds of the Whitney Museum, donations to the institution by the artist’s widow. This generally consensual exhibition should help us forget the discussions regarding the other event in the Emilian capital, “Street Art & Co” at Palazzo Pepoli, which triggered off the rage of graffiti artist Blu. He criticized the commercial recovery of urban art, and erased his own frescoes in the city.
Edward Hopper at Palazzo Fava, from 25 March to 24 July 2016.

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Caillebotte and his green thumb

GIVERNY – We all know –and love –his wide boulevards, his train stations, and of course the wooden floor planers in beautiful Paris apartments. Fewer of us know his flowers and foliage. Yet Gustave Caillebotte was a nature lover, and not only through his rowers in the bois de Boulogne. He owned a beautiful garden which he cared for diligently and never tired of immortalising. The musée des impressionnismes refreshes our memories with 80 works. From 25 March to 3 July 2016.

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Save our memory

MANTOVA – The recovery of Palmyra is a good teaser for this exhibition at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. With the explicit title «Salvare la memoria» (Save memory), it faces the question of threatened heritage. Whether due to man’s delusions of grandeur with wars, terrorist attacks, religious fanaticism or earth quakes and floods, like the one in Florence in 1966: all these are extreme cases for which man does not have a ready answer. From 24 March to 5 June 2016.

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Impressionism, the British connection?

PARIS – Were the impressionists the godchildren of Turner and Bonington? In any case it is the theory the exhibition “L’Atelier en plein air” (Workshops in the open), at the musée Jacquemart-André wishes to demonstrate with the influence of the masters from across the channel on the genesis of the movement, in the lights of Normandy, as of the 1820s. With Gauguin, Friesz, Boudin, Courbet, Pissarro, Monet and the lesser known Anquetin and Dubourg as project managers. From 18 March to 25 July 2016.

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Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Self-portrait, place Vendôme. Oil on canvas, 107.4 x 89.2 cm. Estimate: €200,000–300,000. Photo credit : Sotheby’s / Art digital studio.

Boutet de Monvel, obsolete elegance

PARIS – He was one of the emblematic figures of Art deco and a favourite of the international high society, as he immortalised the Maharajahs as well as the barons of American industry, and rubbed elbows with the great fashion designers of his time, be it Jeanne Lanvin or Paul Poiret. But Bernard Boutet de Monvel is probably better known for having died in the cursed plane that crashed on the Açores with Marcel Cerdan and Ginette Neveu on board, on 28 October 1949. His heirs have put a part of his collection up for sale. It had been kept in his private home in the VIIth arrondissement. He expresses his refined world with long sleek, crystalline lines and an elegance that reminds us of the ghosts of the Belle Epoque, through his paintings –in particular his portraits – as well as in the furniture he himself designed. He was a great traveler, as much at ease in New York - where he stayed preferably at the Vanderbilts’ or the Astors’- , as in Paris – preferably at the Ritz. He embodied a cosmopolitan, distinguished society but was also steeped in classical art and culture that is still looking for its heirs.
Collection Boutet de Monvel at Sotheby’s on 5 and 6 April 2016.

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In praise of the line

The author began his career at the Cabinet des Estampes of Geneva before becoming the curator of various Swiss institutions, among them the Planque collection, deposited until 2025 at the Granet museum in Aix-en-Provence. In an elegant language he expresses his love for drawing and for engraving, a “grammatical” form of art that follows a strict syntax of lines, bites and traits. Next to the stars of the discipline – Rembrandt or Lorrain – we discover half-forgotten artists such as Claude Mellan (XVIIth century), a virtuoso of lines that never cross one another or Albert-Edgar Yersin, an experienced engraver of stamps and bank notes, a demanding discipline that makes no one famous. A few criticisms punctuate the book, such as the one of the astronomic prices of sculptures by Giacometti, an artist who looked down on material pleasures. Through the market his work sits next to the tulip bulbs of the Dutch Golden age in the catalogue on senseless speculations.
L’univers comme alphabet, by Florian Rodari, Gallimard, 2016, 264 p., €23.

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5 April 2016 - PARIS - Bibliothèque polonaise

A major Polish painter of the 20th century, little known outside his country

Our selection of new exhibitions


GENEVA – For the 20th birthday of the Art for the World, an NGO, Ulay gives a performance, Invisible Opponent at the musée d’Art et d’Histoire, that renews Balance Proof he gave 39 years ago with his companion Marina Abramovic.

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MILANO – The 21st design Triennale will be held from 2 April to 12 September 2016.

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PARIS – Art Paris, the modern and contemporary art fair, will be held at the Grand Palais from 31 March to 3 April 2016, with South Korea as guest country.

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PARIS – The PAD antique and design fair will be held from 31 March to 3 April 2016 at the Tuileries.

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PARIS – The canopy of the Halles by architects Berger and Anziutti, will be inaugurated on 6 April 2016.

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