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.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Entry square Jean Perrin, on the west side. Except Tuesdays, open daily by reservation from 10:00 to 13:00; afterwards, by standing in line until 20:00, and 22:00 on Wednesdays. Closed Friday, 25. December. This exhibition's last day is 11. January 1999. Info. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 17.

Two Big Painters; Millet and Van Gogh

They never met, except in this exhibition in the Musée d'Orsay, but Jean-François Millet, who lived from 1814 to 1875, had a big influence on Vincent Van Gogh, born in 1853, dead in 1890.

Lightning hit Van Gogh at an exhibition of Millet's designs and pastels in 1875, just a few months after the death of the latter. At the time, Van Gogh was hustling paintings for an art dealer - he didn't begin painting until 1880.

This exhibition places similar paintings by the two artists side-by-side for the viewer to draw obvious conclusions - of the inspirations Van Gogh drew from Millet; to finally gain his own identity - showing also how artists learn from each other. The comparisons do not lessen Van Gogh's stature; they undoubtedly increase that of the less well-known Millet.

This is one of the fall season's big shows, so all the business of making advance reservations applies. Entry charge: 40 francs, reduced: 30 francs. Catalogue: 190 francs.

Musée d'Orsay
1. rue de la Légion-d'Honneur, Paris 7. This exhibition continues until Sunday, 3. January 1999. Open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 18:00; on Sundays from 9:00 to 18:00 and on Thursdays until 21:45. Info. Tel.: 01 40 49 48 73.

Architectural Genius - François Mansart

Mansart, who was born 400 years ago, is not be confused with his grand-nephew who borrowed his name, nor with the style of roof, called 'mansard.'

He was, though, the architect responsible for Paris' Hôtel Guénégaud des Brosses, the Maison de Mansart, parts of the Hôtel Carnavalet, the Hôtel Tuberf-Palais Marazin, the Eglise du Val du Grace and the Hôtel de La Vrilliére, actual headquarters of the Banque de France.

The exhibition displays 40 original designs, some tools of the trade such as drawing tables, and photos of the buildings as they are today. There are also several models of his buildings.

This exhibition is assembled from items belonging to the Bibliothèque Nationale, Stockholm's National Museum, the graphic arts department of the Louvre and the National Archives, just around the corner.

Hôtel de Rohan
87. rue Vielle du Temple, Paris 3. Métro: Hôtel de Ville or Saint-Sébastien Frossiart, or bus 29. The exhibition continues until Sunday, 17. January 1999. Except Mondays and holidays, open daily from 12:00 to 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 40 27 62 18.

Sur les Quais

The biggest public space in Paris, the riversides of the Seine - have an exhibition, showing their history, and their actual state as well as urban plans for the future. At the Pavillon de l'Arsenal, 22. boulevard Morland, Paris 4. Métro: Sully-Morland. Info. Tel.: 01 42 76 33 97.

Suzuki Osamu

Recently named 'Living National Treasure,' this Japanese artist has been honored in Japan for reviving the 'Shino' ceramic tea-bowl tradition, which began near Nagoya in the 16th century.

Espace des Arts Mitsukoshi-Etoile, 3. rue de Tilsitt, Paris 8. Métro: Etoile. Until Saturday, 9. January; open daily except Sundays, from 10:00 to 18:00. Entry charge is 20 francs for adults. Info. Tel.: 01 44 09 11 11.

Remembering Cocktails

This is a poster exhibition, featuring a lot of the drinks you may wish you never heard of - and probably quite a few that are familiar to you. The posters are drawn from the Bibliothèque Forney's collection of 15,000, plus a few are borrowed from the Publicity Museum. Some date from the debut of the poster itself, in the 1880's, and go up to the 1960's.

While the posters present a sort of a social history - cocktails are good/bad for you! - they also display invention, fantasy and good feelings. Today's ads for water can do this too, but water itself can't, as hard as I try it to think it can.

Bibliothèque Forney
1. rue du Figuier, Paris 4. Métro: Pont Marie. This exhibition continues until Saturday, 5. December. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 13:30 to 20:00. Info. Tel.: 01 42 78 14 60.

Daylight On Hidden Art

This stuff - described as 'Laves Emaillées' - enameled washes? - was done for the Saint Vincent-de-Paul church in the 11th arrondissement by Jules Jollivet, at the end of the last century. Somehow the works were accepted and hung up, but the priests running the place told mothers to tell their daughters not to 'raise their eyes' to them.

So the works were taken down and stored in a cellar for 138 years. Now they are on display again, but I don't know what you should tell your daughters. To be seen in the restored atelier of Ary Scheffer, in this museum.

Musée de la Vie Romantique
16. rue Chaptal, Paris 9. Métro: Pigalle. Until Sunday, 17. January 1999. Except Mondays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:40. Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 95 38.

Traipsing Through Fancy Hotels

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the palace known locally as the Hotel Ritz. From 'Palais' to 'Palace' is the name of this exhibition about Paris' grand hotels, which really are 'hotels' and areposter: expo bagatelle sometimes called 'palaces' - as opposed to 'hôtels' which are mere town-houses, but sometimes bigger that the 'palaces,' also-known-as 'ritzy hotels.'

Paris was popular with 'les riches' during the last round of the '90's and 13 of their favorite palaces are presented here, along with older grand 'hôtels,' transformed into commercial hotels. Documents on show include photos of banquets, menus, brochures and other souvenirs of an age we will not see again - not even if we can afford to stay at the Hotel Ritz today.

Musée Carnavalet - Historie de Paris
23. rue de Sévigne, Paris 3. Métro: Chemin-Vert, or bus 29. Until Sunday, 24. January 1999. Except Mondays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:40. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 21 13.

Rites et Festins de la Chine Antique

This is also known at 'Bronzes du Musée de Shanghai' - plus there is a mention that the museum where it is being shown is having its 100th anniversary. I do not know Chinese art objects at all, but judging from the length of this expo, these are important items that you might not even see if you travel to Shanghai.

Musée Cernuschi
7. avenue Vélasquez, Paris 8. Until Sunday, 10. January 1999. Open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 17:40. Métro: Villiers.

Mémoire d'Empire

This exhibition is also known as 'Trésors du Musée National du Palais, Taipei,' and placing it after the Bronzes of Shanghai above, has no political significance whatsoever - since both are all about Chinese art. This exhibition shows a panorama of Chinese art from the 10th to the end of the 18th century, but the information does not say by whose calendar.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Entry square Jean Perrin, on the west side.. Except Tuesdays, open daily by reservation from 10:00 to 13:00; afterwards, by standing in line until 20:00, and 22:00 on Wednesdays. Closed Friday, 25. December. This exhibition's last day is Monday, 25. January 1999. Info. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 17.

Cluny - Musée National du Moyen Age

In addition to mentioning the opening of a new exhibition room - 'Les Hommes et Leur Cadre de Vie à la Fin du Moyen Age' - this is a general reminder for this museum. In addition to casual visits, the museum has a wide selection of guided visits, conferences and theme visits, for both individuals and groups. There are ateliers for kids as well.

Musée National du Moyen Age - Thermes and Hôtel de Cluny 6. place Paul-Painlevé, Paris 5. Métro: Cluny-La Sorbonne. Open daily except Tuesdays, from 9:15 to 17:15. Closed 25. December and 1. January 1999. Early closing at 16:00 on 23. December and 31. December. Best times for casual visits are between noon and 14:00 and after 15:30. The library is open until 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 53 73 78 16.

Théâtres des Sens

This has already been open for many months now, but is probably still worth a visit, especially if it is raining harder than ever.

If you think the French are pretty good at making fancy stuff for high prices, and you are either a dreamer or rich or have managed to keep from being beaten up in the market lately, then this is probably a real treat of an exhibition.

Les Quatre Théâtres des Sens
Palais de la Découverte, avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin-Roosevelt. This show runs until Sunday, 3. January 1999. Open from Tuesday to Saturdays, from 9:30 to 18:00; on Sundays from 10:00 to 19:00. Info. Tel.: 01 40 74 89 00.

The Pompidou Centre - Here's Beaubourg:

The interior of this museum has been undergoing interior renovations since October 1987. Many of the museum's collections will be on view at other museums in Paris, at other cities in France and other countries - until the renovations are completed.

In front of the museum there is a tepee, which has information about the centre, presented in a multimedia form. The public library remains open at 11. rue Brantôme, just to the north of the museum. The south gallery will be showing 'Dijon/Le Consortium.Coli' in November and David Hockney arrives in January 1999. The Atelier Brancusi also remains open.

Musée d'Art Moderne

This Ville de Paris museum is showing a selection from Beaubourg, through to 19. September 1999. Currently, the 1920's are represented by Braque, Masson, Miro, Magritte, Ernst, Derain and Fautrier. In November a new cycle starts with Nouveau Realisme and Arte Povera.

Pierre Huyghe, Dominique Gonzalez-Foester and Philippe Parreno are young French artists whose works are also currently on display, until 29. November.

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11; avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16. Open Tuesdays to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30; Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:45. Special openings on 1. and 11. November. Info. Tel.: 01 53 40 00.

On the Boards - Théâtres:

The Théâtre de la Cité Internationale has a winter program which has already begun. Electre, by Hugo Hofmannsthal, directed by Michel Cerda, is playing now, until Friday, 20. November. This theatre has a dance program too, which begins on Saturday, 21. November. 'Carmen Linares' is a musical, which begins on Thursday, 3. December.

Théâtre de la Cité Internationale
21. boulevard Jourdan, Paris 14. Closest transit stop is Cité Universitaire on the RER line 'B.' For the full program, call Info. Tel.: 01 43 13 50 50.

Islands of Dances '98

'Iles de Danses 98' refers to the whole Ile-de-France dance and ballet program for this fall season. It has already started, but 104 shows are planned at 51 locations around the Ile-de-France; and the show goes on until Sunday, 6. December. Take your pick of neo-classic, jazz, contemporary, oriental or hip-hop. Hip-hop?

Ile-de-France, Opéra et Ballet
Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 91 15.

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