Art to see in Paris this fall

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outraged FIAC and its satellite events, Paris has a rich array of visual goodies this fall – notwithstanding the pandemic and its associated rules and restrictions. Here is a selection.

VUITTON FOUNDATION Five years ago, the Vuitton Foundation (the private museum in the shape of a ship designed by Frank Gehry) attracted 1.3 million visitors to its exhibition at Shchukin Collection: masterpieces by Monet, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso, among others, which were bought during Parisian shopping sprees by the Russian textile magnate Sergei Shchukin. These spectacular works adorned his palace in Moscow until the Russian Revolution, when they were nationalized and dispersed, and finally found their way into the best museums in Russia.

This year, the Vuitton Foundation strikes again with an exhibition of the Morozov collection, around 200 French and Russian works bought by two other textile magnates, the brothers Mikhail and Ivan Morozov, who also made multiple Parisian races. Like the Shchukin family, the Morozovs came from abject poverty: their ancestors were serfs who, during Napoleon’s occupation of Russia, made ribbons at home which they peddled in Moscow markets.

Both exhibitions were organized by Anne Baldassari, the former director of the Picasso Museum in Paris. In addition to masterpieces by Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Gauguin and Matisse (among others), visitors will discover the reconstructed music room by Ivan Morozov, adorned with seven panels by French painter Maurice Denis.

GRANDE HALLE DE LA VILLETTE Speaking of Napoleon, this is the last chance to see the extravagance devoted to him at the Grande Halle de la Villette. Visiting the show is like watching a movie on the big screen of Napoleon’s life, only with completely original props and sets. You’ll see Napoleon’s jewel-encrusted sword, tricolor sash, several of his beds, monogrammed throne, and the primitive wooden stagecoach that carried his body to its resting place on the island of St. Helena. The exhibition, which marks the bicentenary of his death, ends on December 19.

CENTRE POMPIDOU If contemporary art is more your thing, go to the Center Pompidou for what is billed as the most important retrospective of the painter Georg Baselitz, who has devoted much of his career to illustrating the challenges of growing up in Germany in the immediate postwar years.

Baselitz, who is 83, simultaneously receives what could be considered an even greater French distinction: this month he will enter the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris as a foreign associate member. Baselitz will occupy a seat inside the Academy which was previously occupied by two leading European filmmakers: Andrzej Wajda from Poland and Federico Fellini from Italy.

ORSAY MUSEUM Across the Pompidou River, another successful contemporary painter, South African-born Marlene Dumas, is on display with a tribute to the most famous 19th century French poet, Charles Baudelaire. Ms. Dumas has produced 14 paintings inspired by Baudelaire’s Spleen de Paris, her collection of 50 prose poems. At the same time, the Musée d’Orsay is hanging three key works by Mme Dumas alongside works from the Orsay collection.

LELONG GALLERY & COMPANY Lovers of contemporary African art can come to Galerie Lelong & Company for a personal exhibition of Barthélémy Toguo, Cameroonian painter and performer. Mr. Toguo trained in Ivory Coast and learned classical art techniques before moving to Europe and discovering new disciplines such as video and performance art. He is famous for a series of performances called “Transit” which have been staged in airports, train stations and other transport hubs. In one performance, he showed up for a flight to Paris’s main airport, Charles de Gaulle, carrying a cartridge bag full of candy. In another, he took his seat in a train compartment disguised as a sweeper, causing discomfort among travelers and leading the ticket controller to intervene.

Mr. Toguo’s exhibition in Lelong is a commemoration of the poet and writer Edmond Jabès, of Egyptian origin. The artist draws parallels between the writer and the Bamileke people of western Cameroon through a series of blue paintings that are evocations of genocide, displacement and exile. The exhibition presents an interactive installation: the public can either make a donation or send a paper or electronic message to the artist.


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