Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #442 - from 29 September 2016 to 5 October 2016

Art Of The Day Weekly

#442 - from 29 September 2016 to 5 October 2016

Alexandre Cabanel, The Birth of Venus, oil on canvas, 130x225 cm, Paris, musée d’Orsay © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Patrice Schmidt


The Second Empire strikes back

PARIS – It was more than hated for its laws that destroyed freedom (Victor Hugo is the best known critic), and for its pitiful loss in 1870 in facing the Prussian invader. But the Second Empire resists well and this time it proves it. This huge exhibition is like a final fireworks to conclude the mandate of director Guy Cogeval, whose mandate will be over next Spring. Next to the major works such as the Portrait de Madame Moitessier by Ingres, rarely lent by the National Gallery of London, it puts the spotlight on the vitality of decorative arts: hair ornaments and brooches by Mellerio, Neo-Renaissance cabinets, monstrances and crystal creations. It recreates atmospheres, such as the Pompeian home of Prince Napoleon –the Emperor’s cousin – on avenue Montaigne, the flowered interiors of Princess Mathilde, on rue de Courcelles, or the universal exhibitions that hosted such unforgettable crowds (11 million visitors in 1867). The most convincing room is the one that groups together heroes and anti-heroes of the literary reunions of 1863, filling up rooms as was the custom. On one side the “officials” such as Arnaud and Cabanel, authors of round, buxom and indecent versions of Venus, in white marble or on canvas. On the other hand were the “rejected” artists, such as Manet and his famous Déjeuner sur l'herbe, that hangs majestically at the end of the perspective. Posterity made its choice, but the forgotten artists were truly skillful.
Spectaculaire Second Empire at the musée d'Orsay, from 27 September 2016 to 15 January 2017. Catalogue Skira, 320 p., €45 goes further into certain themes, such as the Crown diamonds, major celebrations and parties, the development of photography, the furniture in the Imperial villas impériales, the transformations of Paris, the opera and the theatre.

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• Do not miss: the favourite portrait artist of Napoléon III and Eugénie, Frans Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), the idol of the Salon and author of flamboyant Imperial images, is shown at the palais de Compiègne, from 30 September 2016 to 15 January 2017.

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Napoleon Sarony, Portrait of Oscar Wilde #22, 1882 © Library of Congress, Washington.

Free and Wilde

PARIS – We all know Oscar Wilde’s famous sayings, of his scandalous private life (two years of forced labour for being a homosexual), a few of his books (The Portrait of Dorian Gray), but few know of his taste for art in his time. This exhibition pays a tribute to a Parisian (he died in 1900, “beyond his means”, in the hôtel d'Alsace, rue des Beaux-Arts), by selecting a series of works that marked him. There are works by Pre-Raphaelite artists such as Stanhope, Symbolists like Watts, Impressionists like Whistler. The unforgettable image of the dandy himself (“the first intelligent English man I meet”, according to Henry de Régnier) accompanies the whole itinerary. Max Beerbohm made caricatures of him, Toulouse-Lautrec sketched him in Montmartre, Napoleon Sarony took photographs of him, and he was even used as an advertising logo by carpet salesmen and for make-up products following his triumphant conference tour of the U.S.A. in 1882. Oscar Wilde is one of the first global stars. His downfall, due to two highly publicised trials following his affair with young Lord Douglas, was only the more pathetic.
Oscar Wilde, l'impertinent absolu, at the Petit Palais, from 28 September 2016 to 15 January 2017. Catalogue Paris Musées, 256 p., €39.90.

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Pollock, prior to drippings

BASEL - Pollock was not only the founder of abstract expressionism. He also knew a learning period during which he embraced Figurative art. Like Bacon, he too was influenced by Rembrandt and Picasso. But his references also include his master Hart Benton and his neighbours to the South, the Mexican muralists.
Pollock figuratif at the Kunstmuseum, from 2 October 2016 to 22 January 2017.

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Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962. Oil on canvas, three panels, 198.1 x 144.8 cm, each panel Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 64.1700 © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016

Francis Bacon, Viva España!

BILBAO - A recent exhibition in Monaco explored the links between Bacon and France. This exhibit does the same thing and adds his relationship to Spain. While the influence of Vélasquez is obvious, with the famous portrait of Innocent X at the galleria Doria Pamphili in Rome –which Bacon never saw!-, we can add Greco, Zurbarán and the dark visions of Goya. And of course, Picasso, the defector whom he considered to be a genius, an equal to Michel-Angelo.
Bacon, from Picasso to Velázquez at the Guggenheim, from 30 September 2016 to 8 January 2017.

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What is the avant-garde?

BRUSSELS – To be part of it today you definitely need to speak English! That is what the title of the exhibition suggests, as it shows that the avant-garde prospers during moments of crisis and changes. How can we compare the one one hundred years ago - Kandinsky, Archipenko, and Duchamp – to its current imitators Marlene Dumas and David Claerbout?
The Power of the Avant-Garde, Now and Then at Bozar, from 29 September 2016 to 22 January 2017.

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Clyfford Still, PH-950, 1950. Oil on canvas, 233.7 x 177.8 cm. Clyfford Still Museum, Denver ©City and County of Denver/DACS 2016. Photo Clyfford Still Museum

The saga of Abstract Expressionism

LONDON - Coincidences of the calendar allow us to compare on one side two periods of an iconic artist such as Jackson Pollock – his youth in Basel, and on the other side of the Channel, his mature years. But many other artists accompany him in the description of the great American movement of Abstract Expressionism, which exploded following WWII. We are lucky enough to see Rothko, de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Guston and Gorky as well as a beautiful selection of Clyfford Still, rarely seen in Europe.
Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy of Arts, from 24 September 2016 to 2 January 2017.

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Templon, half a century

One has to be the man of the moment, meet the right actors and seize opportunities with a taste for risks and with ambition: this sentence applies perfectly to its author, Daniel Templon. Born right after the war, the son of a gardener, he started modestly as a school teacher. But then he made a sharp turn and at the tender age of 21, he opened a gallery on rue du Bac. It was the beginning of an itinerary that would turn him into one of the most influential gallery owners over the last half a century in France. A pioneer of minimalist art, of conceptual art, Pop Art and of the Italian Transavanguardia, Templon was also party to the adventures of art press, such as in artpress with Catherine Millet, then Studio, and of the first private foundations – his own, in Fréjus, would only last three years, from 1989 to 1992. This book, punctuated with recurrent interviews with the gallery owner, is more laudatory than critical, but it draws up a good idea of his unlimited appetite for encounters (from Leo Castelli to Soulages, from Warhol to Jack Lang), of the evolution of his work and of his persistent energy – he recently opened a new venue in Brussels.
Daniel Templon, une histoire d’art contemporain, byr Julie Verlaine, Flammarion, 480 p., €35.

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How the wars have shaped our vision of the world (Photo: Giulia Andreani)

Our selection of new exhibitions


ANTWERP - The Plantin-Moretus museum which is dedicated to the art of printing, will reopen on 30 September 2016 with a new building and following a complete renovation program.

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PARIS - The Parisian sleepless night -"La Nuit blanche parisienne" - will be held on the night of Saturday 1 October 2016

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RENNES - The 5th edition of the city's workshop "Biennale Les Ateliers de Rennes" will be held from 1st October to 11 December 2016.

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SARS-POTERIES - Musverre, the museum dedicated to the art of glass, will open on 1 October 2016 with its important public collection.

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ZURICH - The 18th edition of Art Fair wil be held from 30 September to 2 October 2016.

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