In Paris, there are a lot of freebies and two of the best of them are two art museums, that Rick Steves and everyone else passed on. The Petit Palais is absolutely beautiful, the other written about here, is curious. I couldn’t believe for a city which loves its monuments, to treat the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris) so crappy. The exterior, which was part of the 1937 exhibit for the World’s Fair is fair game for spray painting, skate boarding adolescents and neglect. Literally by the wall near the stairway was piles of feces, and other undesirable materials left maybe by homeless. Parts of lettering on the building was falling out. The beautiful fountain area was full of algae and garbage. What a shame! Shame on you, Bertrand Delanoë!
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
I was at the Barnes Foundation year ago in college. And I remember Dr. Ross explaining about the Matisse and how Barnes commissioned it. Never thinking much about the expedition, nor about Matisse never coming to the location.
In a wonderful article linked below you can find more about the mural. Matisse is still an intriguing painter of the earlier 20th century. One whose work we know from numerous sketches and transitions.
And yes, Matisse did come to America, as I found out from this article:
I think one of the more interesting things to see was the collection of pottery, done by the modern masters. I expect to go to a museum and see paintings, but not paintings done on pottery in so large a collection. The Hermitage, for example, years back had Picasso mugs done in faces, which were wonderful. And then there is that Gauguin self portrait mug, that I have seen in pictures.
But this is unexpected and really something to see. Sorry for the crappy shots, I was tired at that point, us coming into Paris at 6 am, and hitting the streets with only the sleep of a jet, so my perception was a little out of this world. The pot (directly below, left) with the figure is a Matisse. The two blue and green pots are Vlaminck, The last, I am unsure, butmay also be the later. The brushwork of the pieces reminds me of the pre-classicism of some of the Greek pottery, where the brushed linework was stylized, retained a freedom of the sea.
This museum is filled with modern painting, most from the French school, so you will see Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck, Picasso, Gleizes and Robert Delaunay (unfortunately, not Sonia). These are not typical art history book pieces (except the Braque), but a pleasure to see.
One of the most interesting things was a show going on downstairs, Inci Eviner (Broken Manifestations), one of these installations you might see in New York, which I couldn’t make out how to shoot. But there was this stairway down (below) which was quite interesting.
Back in November in NYC, I thought I had a shot of it. We had seen a version of Mickalene Thomas’ Dejeuner sur l’herbe, first at PS1, where you can’t photograph, then again on 53rd down from MoMA. A young guy comes by and says is that Mickalene Thomas work, she is my girfriend’s teacher. Well, I never did get that shot. But it must be a lot of people are revisualizing that image, a version by Alain Jacquet also appeared in the Moderne (below). It would have been nice to compare. The Thomas version uses all women. Personally, I never thought much of the subject matter of the original.
George Segal Le torse 8 and Auguste Herbin Portrait de Madame Herbin, the later from the Henry-Thomas collection
There is Delaunay’s La Tour Eiffel (below left), as well as a great view of la Tour Eiffel which Rick Steves talked (photo right below) about as there is a big open area where people sit who have bought food. Although better in the winter when the foliage is gone. At any rate, another bargain as Paris goes.
See the other blog for Freebies 1: