Everything But the Louvre

photo: louvre pyramid
Not many visitors showing may mean
there are thousands inside already.

Art Déco Tries to Outdo the Italians

Paris:- Saturday, 7. November 1998:- The Louvre was my number one subject for this week's 'Scene.' I picked up a big info packet there recently and I went back for the photos yesterday. But by the time I got around to adding the already started Paris events to this week's 'Scene,' they turned out to be so many - that the Louvre will just have to wait a bit longer.

I have personally visited the Louvre once, in 22 years. I think it was about 20 years ago. It was on a very wet, very damp, Sunday morning in November.

There was nearly nobody else there. I walked through miles of hardwood-floor rooms and saw thousands of huge paintings, and I certainly will not say I looked closely at each and every one of them.

At the time, I had worked out a special 'blitz' tour of the Prado in Madrid - one for hitting my favorite highlights, and simply ignoring the rest. Sixty minutes for the best. For me: only Goya. But where does one even start with the Louvre?

After about ninety minutes, I found the 'Mona Lisa' 20 years ago. The small painting was in a room with a few other paintings and it was set a bit apart. There was no security glass in front of it. At the time, there wasn't even a guard in the room, or any other spectators.

I looked at it for about 15 minutes without interruption and decided it was either a fake or vastly overrated.

Since then, I understand, visitors are allowed to peep at it - possibly the real thing - over somebody else's shoulder, for 30 seconds, tops.

This being the case, I strongly recommend that before any visit to the Louvre, you arm yourself with lots of reliable and current information, and plan your visit carefully before you even step into the place.

If you can't do this for some reason, visit the reception desk under the pyramid, and get up-to-date information on the spot. There is tons of it. If you are in a hurry, I hope you are a speed-reader.

Artdéco - Decoration and Fashion

A reader in Japan wanted to know if the Kuramata exhibition would be on at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs during a Christmas visit to Paris. It is not mentioned in my programs, but a call to the museum confirmed that this show is on until Sunday, 27. December.

This brings up the neglect I have been giving to this museum, so here are its details. Take a look also at this week's 'Café' column, for a list of links to the Web sites of some of Paris' major fashion stars - and be sure to bookmark this 'Café' page for future reference if threads are your bag.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107. rue de Rivoli, Paris 1. Métro: Palais-Royal or Tuileries. Entry for disabled persons is at 105. rue de Rivoli. Except Mondays, open from 11:00 to 18:00; on Wednesdays to 21:00. On weekends, opens at 10:00. Info. Tel.: 01 44 55 57 50. Also at this location: Musée de la Mode et Textile and the Musée de la Publicité. Check the Web site above for the list of all the member museums of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs.

The Artdéco museum has a branch office at the Hôtel de Camondo, a luxurious townhouse containing the collection of Moïse de Camondo. This museum's official name is Musée Nissim de Camondo and it is at 53. rue de Monceau, Paris 8. Métro: Villiers or Monceau. Info. Tel.: 01 53 89 06 50. Groups of less than 21 persons, wishing to visit, should call 01 44 55 59 26. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00.

Issey Miyake

Discover Issey Miyake, the pioneer of 'métissage,' but otherwise known as one of the most inventive clothing designers we have at the end of this century. An exhibition is on display until 17. January, at the Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain, 261. boulevard Raspail, Paris 14. Métro: Raspail. Tel. Info.: 01 42 18 56 51.

Cashemires Parisiens

Because Josephine liked to wear cashmere shawls, all the chic ladies liked them too. There were so many of these that imports couldn't meet the demand, so European manufacturers decided to make imitations - and this led to a whole new industry, and a collaboration between designers and the fabric makers.

I suspect there's more to the history than this - namely the turn from hand-fashioned clothes made from imported fabrics, to the industry we have today. This show is subtitled 'A l'Ecole de l'Asie 1810 - 1880.'

Musée Galliera
Musée de la Mode et du Costume de la Ville de Paris, 10. avenue Pierre-1er-Serbie, Paris 16. Metro: Iena or Alma-Marceau. Open from 10:00 to 18:00, except Mondays and certain public holidays. Final day is 28. February 1999. Info. Tel.: 01 47 20 85 23.

Le Passé Recomposé

In the middle of one of Paris' fancier gardens, there is an exhibition of multimedia projects, which show the re-constituted past - that is, the historic past. This is done with virtual images and it allows three-dimensional views of even historic sites that have long disappeared. This includes the Bagatelle's own first 'Folie.'

Trianon de Bagatelle
Route de Sèvres-à-Neuilly, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. Métro: Pont de Neuilly or Porte Maillot and take the bus 244. This exhibition continues until Sunday, 6. December. Open daily except Tuesday, from 11:00 to 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 45 01 20 10.

Festival d'Art Sacré

'Les Femmes et le Sacré' is the subtitle of this series of concerts with singers, which begins Thursday, 19. Novemberbrochure: festival d'art sacre and continues to a midnight mass on Thursday, 24. December, with the Moscow Ice Circus, at their location on the Pelouse de Reuilly. Métro: Porte Dorée.

Reservations can be made by writing to the 'Festival d'Art Sacré,' 14. rue de Madrid, 75008 Paris. Tickets are also available at fnac and the Virgin Megastore. Info. Tel.: 01 44 70 64 10. The program is a big one, and you might find details for it on Metropole's links page, by trying the official Paris Web sites.

Festival Portugais

The Ile-de-France has a sizeable population of Portuguese extraction. At this time of year there is sort of a month-long festival, with theatre, music, dancing and food and drink, of course. I do not have many details, but here are a few:

Seventh 'Festival de Théâtre Portugais,' in several theatres, in Portuguese and in French. Some authors are Fernando Pessoa, Dario Fo and Gil Vincente. The organization is by the Collective Portugaises de France, 20. rue Henri Barbuse, 93300 Aubervilliers. These events go on until Friday, 20. November. Info. Tel.: 01 48 34 72 67, or email to ccpf@hol.fr

The seventh 'Forum de Cap Magellan' - which deals with study, culture and society - takes place from 27. to 29. November, at the Espace Champerret, Paris 17. Métro: Porte de Champerret. Info. Tel.: 01 42 77 46 89.

Paris' Mois de la Photo - 10th Edition

This annual event kicks off late this month, starting with Edmond Bacot and Olivier Mériel's photos of Victor Hugo, which can be seen at the Maison de Victor Hugo in the Place des Vosges. 'Ceci est Paris,' another theme show, is in the city's own home of cultural affairs, at their hôtel at 31. rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the fourth.

brochure: theatre festival portugaisAltogether, during November there will be 79 photo exhibitions at 61 locations around Paris. This will not be entirely 'Paris-in-love- with-itself' - there will also be photos of old Moscow, and an exhibition of soviet views of themselves from 1917 to 1981.

'Vincennes-Maillot' is a photo exhibition which retraces the building of the first métro line, 100 years ago. This collection was originally shown at the 1900 Universal Exposition, and the recently re-discovered photos have been restored. On view at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal until Sunday, 6. December. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 to 18:30 and on Sundays from 11:00 to 19:00. At 21. boulevard Morland, Paris 4. Métro: Sully-Morland. No entry charge.

Other important exhibitions should also be seen, at the Maison Européenne de la Photo, 5-7. rue de Fourcy, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul or Pont-Marie. Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 75 07.

The Museums Invite You

The 8th edition of 'l'Invitation au Musée' has 'Le Musée, une Monde d'Images' as its theme this year; featuring everything photographic in the public collections, whether artistic or documentary. The audiovisual side is also on view as is the newer area known as 'multimedia.' The 'l'Invitation au Musée' program continues until Tuesday 22. November.

Giacometti, Richier, Gutfreund

Otherwise known as 'Bourdelle et Ses Elèves,' this show presents the works of some of Bourdelle's students; Alberto Giacometti, Germaine Richier and Otto Gutfreund. Bourdelle gave courses from 1909 until his death in 1929, at the Academie de la Grand Chaumière - Montparnasse's most famous art school in the '20's.

Musée Bourdelle
18. rue Antoine-Bourdelle, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse or Falguière. On until 7. February 1999. Open from 10:00 to 17:40 daily except Mondays. Info. Tel.: 01 49 54 73 73.

Paris' L'Automne Italien

Sauver Assise!

Assisi was shaken to bits by two earthquakes on 26. September 1997, and the Saint-Francis church - opened in 1253 - was severely damaged. This exhibition shows the extent of the damage; plus therebrochure: sauver assise are 60 artworks from Assisi, dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. For the restoration, the entry to this exhibition is free, but donations are welcome.

Musée du Petit Palais
Avenue Winston-Churchill, Paris 8. Métro: Clemenceau. Except Mondays, open from 10:00 to 17:40. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73. This exhibition opens on Saturday, 14. November and continues until 14. February 1999.

Paris' Italian autumn has already started, with Tiepolo in the Petit Palais and with paintings by Tintoretto. Thirteen are on loan from Venice and the others from French collections. These are being displayed in the Salle des Fêtes in the Mairie of the 5th. At 21. place du Panthéon, Paris 5. Until Wednesday, 13. December. Open Monday to Saturday from 11:00 to 17:45 and on Sundays and holidays from 14:00 to 17:45. Info. Tel.: 01 43 29 21 75.

Gustave Moreau at the Grand Palais

Gustave Moreau has divided followers; those who admire his skill as a painter and fanatic of detail, often going over the border to kitsch; and those who admire his imagination, who see it as going over the border to surrealism.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Entry Clemencéau. Info. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 17. This exhibition's final day is Monday, 4. January 1999. See more details below, with Lorenzo Lotto:

Moreau donated his residence to the city or the state in 1897 and this began as the Musée Gustave Moreau in January 1903. In 1991 it was opened to the public, which has paid it scant attention. This museum-residence is at 14. rue de la Rochefoucauld, Paris 9. Métro: Trinité. Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 38 50.

Lorenzo Lotto Is At the Grand Palais Too

Another one of Italy's most important' painters joins the crowd in Paris for this Italian season, and Lotto is right up there with the better-known group of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. This is Lotto's first major exhibition in France, and the works are assembled here from a variety of Italian treasure houses.

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