Galleries and good times in the heart of Gay Paree
For the last two decades the Marais (sandwiched between St-Paul and République) has been one of the hippest parts of the city, packed with modish hotels, vintage boutiques, restaurants and bars – in no small part due to its popularity with the gay crowd (this is the only part of Paris where the blokes get winked at more than the ladies). But it’s also prime territory for art lovers, with a vast concentration of art galleries (both small and important) and museums, more often than not set in aristocratic 18th-century mansions spared by Haussmann. Two of the most sumptuous hôtels particuliers, Hôtel Guénégaud and Hôtel Carnavalet, contain (respectively) the wonderful Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (hunting museum) and fascinating Musée Carnavalet, which retraces Paris’s history. The Marais has also long been the focus of the Jewish community: amble along rue des Rosiers, rue des Ecouffes and rue Pavée (where there’s a synagogue designed by Guimard, the brain behind Paris’s iconic Métro stations) and the air fills with the scent of falafels and sizzling shawarmas, sold in their hundreds from stalwarts Chez Hanna and L’As du Fallafel.
The Marais’s western neighbour is Beaubourg, whose focal point is the Centre Pompidou modern art museum, a benchmark of inside-out high-tech design signed Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. This is also where you’ll find the Atelier Brancusi, the sculptor’s former workshop left to the state, and moved here from the 15th. Wander north of here for two of Paris’s lesser-known gems: The first, the Gaïté Lyrique (set in Offenbach’s former theatre) is a temple to digital arts, with streams of digital installations and live electro concerts; the second is the Musée des Arts et Métiers – a fabulous science museum with early flying machines displayed in a 12th-century chapel.
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Camille Claudel composed by Gabriel Yared
Newly remastered and expanded edition.
12-page CD booklet with French and English liner notes by Gabriel Yared.
Limited Edition of 350 units.
In collaboration with Yad Music, Music Box Records presents the newly remastered and expanded edition of Gabriel Yared’s score to the 1988 drama film Camille Claudel, starring Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Depardieu, and directed by French cinematographer turned director Bruno Nuytten.
Adapted from the biography written by Paul Claudel’s granddaughter Reine-Marie Paris, the film was a project initiated by Isabelle Adjani. The film tells the story of the troubled life of French sculptor Camille Claudel and her long relationship with the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Camille Claudel received wide public and critical acclaim, won five César awards including the one for Best Feature Film and contributed to the rediscovery of the sculptress’ works.
To illustrate the artistic and amorous passion of the characters onscreen, Gabriel Yared composed beautiful strings pieces inspired by German postromantic music. This album allows listeners to fully appreciate the many shades of this score by adding several previously unreleased tracks to the original edition. The 12-page booklet by Gabriel Yared gives insight into the scoring process. This is a limited edition of 350 units.
With ‘The Black Model,’ the Musée d’Orsay makes a political statement.
PARIS — At the Louvre, the striking painting is identified simply as “Portrait of a black woman.”
The work is widely considered allegorical — the subject’s bare breast and classical dress, in the colors of the French flag, alluding to the French Republic and the figure of Liberty. The painting was first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1800, so artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist could have been referring to the just-finished French Revolution or Napoleon Bonaparte’s moves to reinstate slavery — or both.
But the painting hangs under a new title in a groundbreaking show at the Musée d’Orsay directly across the Seine River: “Portrait of Madeleine.” For the first time since the early 19th century, Benoist’s sitter has her own story. As viewers learn, the woman gazing back at them was an emancipated slave from Guadeloupe and a domestic servant who worked in the home of the artist’s brother-in-law.
This is the project of “The Black Model: From Géricault to Matisse,” a major exhibit that opened at the Orsay on Tuesday. The show attempts to restore the identities and perspectives of black figures who were depicted on canvas but largely written out of history.
The exhibit expands on an earlier version that debuted at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery last fall, inspired by the research of American art historian Denise Murrell. But it lands with different impact in France, where the state is officially blind to race, both as statistical category and as lived experience.
“We are tacking political questions, social questions,” said Musée d’Orsay director Laurence des Cars. “We are tackling a very sensitive subject.” [ . . . ]