Tag Archives: Paris

Planning for Paris

In my opinion, the best way to stick to a New Year’s resolution is to commit on New Year’s Eve, whether that’s signing up for a marathon, or perhaps purchasing airfare to that bucket-list locale you’ve been dreaming of. In this case, Paris. This Spring, the husband and I will be jetting off to Paris for the first time. With one-week to explore the City of Light, we’ll be focusing our travels within the city, or nearby. While the husband researches airbnb’s and can’t-miss restaurants, this art historian is making sure our travel itinerary is well stocked with museums, and sights featured in favorite impressionist oeuvres.

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Though I’d love to see every museum Paris has to offer, I plan on saving plenty of time for simply enjoying the city. Paris Museum Pass to the rescue. Available as 2, 4 or 6 day Passes, the Museum Pass gains your access to 60 museum & monuments, let’s you skip the lines, and does away with the guilt of only popping in a museum for a moment, without seeing everything.

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Just west of the historic core, Musée d’Orsay features the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist (this gal’s favorite period) masterpieces in the world, from Monet to Cézanne.

2A short stroll from Musée d’Orsay, and through Tuileries Garden, the Orangerie is home to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. The eight immersive compositions occupy two consecutive rooms, flooded with natural light, per Monet’s own recommendation.

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I relish the chance to see artists’ creative spaces. Enter Musée Rodin. I am equally excited to see the mansion where Rodin lived and worked, as I am to search the gardens for the sculptor’s renowned works, such as The Thinker.

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According to the all-knowing Rick StevesMusée Marmottan holds the largest collection of Monet’s work, in an “intimate, and untouristy” setting.

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With an immense collection, from ancient works through mid-19th century, the Louvre is quick to overwhelm. The museum’s greek statuary collection, like the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace are at the top of my list, and perhaps a quick peek at the Medieval and Renaissance works, from Giotto to Raphael (basically a real-life stroll through an Art History 102 textbook). On the other hand, I DO NOT plan to waste time battling the crowds for a glance at the Mona Lisa.

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Not only is Palais Garnier the subject of one of my favorite works, Raoul Dufy’s The Opera, Paris, but it is also beautiful in its own right, most notably the auditorium, the house curtain created by theatrical painters Auguste Rube (1817-1899) and Philippe Chaperon (1823-1906), and the ceiling painted by Marc Chagall.

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A marvel of 13th-century gothic architecture, Sainte-Chapelle features stunning displays of stained-glass. A short walk along the Seine River brings you to Notre-Dame, for a look at the church’s facade, or perhaps a climb up the tower.

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Though usually deemed a ‘tourist trap,’ you can’t deny the beautiful views and bohemian charm of Montmartre. Though we’ll probably skip the high priced crepes & Moulin Rouge scene, I look forward to a hike to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and to get lost along Montmartre’s cobbled and historic streets, from Place du Tertre lined with artists, to Bateau Lavoire at #13 Place Emile-Goudeau, Picasso’s studio, & at times, home to other prominent figures of the Belle Époque, like Braque & Modigliani.

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Just an hour outside of Paris lies Giverny, the site of Claude Monet’s home and gardens, and the subject of many of the impressionist’s works. Giverny is a mandatory day trip in my opinion, and has been on my ‘Life List’ as long as I can remember.

If time allows, there are plenty of other museums that we may squeeze into the itinerary: Centre PompidouArmy Museum & Napoleon’s TombMusée de ClunyMusée PicassoMusée Carnavalet.

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Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity

My mom and I headed over to Chicago for the day, for a long overdue peek at the Art Institute’s latest exhibition, Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. The internationally celebrated exhibit explores the connection between art and fashion amidst the high-fashion realm of late 19th century Paris, captured by the Impressionist works of Renoir, Caillebotte, Monet, Degas and Seurat (amongst many others), as well as the leading fashion portraitists of the period. Although the exhibition is saturated with striking displays of fabrics, accessories and fashion plates, the star of the exhibit is most certainly the couplings of life-size figure paintings with the outfits which inspired them, STUNNING!

Albert Bartholomé, In the Conservatory, c. 1881, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Albert Bartholomé, In the Conservatory, c. 1881, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Summer dress worn by Madame Bartholomé in the painting In the Conservatory, French, 1880, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Summer dress worn by Madame Bartholomé in the painting In the Conservatory, French, 1880, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

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If you’re in the Chicago area, make sure to catch the fabulous exhibition, before its departure on September 29th! Stop by Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy as well, a beautiful counterpart to Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, displayed in the Jean and Steven Goldman Prints and Drawings Galleries in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Wing. I have such a weakness for small intimate works on paper, and this exhibit has some gems by Vallotton, Munch, Cassatt, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Edvard Munch, Boys Bathing, 1899, Color woodcut from two blocks (one sawn into two sections) on cream card

Félix Edouard Vallotton, Laziness, 1896, Woodcut printed in black on ivory wove paper

Mary Cassatt, Printed with Leroy, Woman Bathing, 1890-91, Color aquatint, with drypoint from three plates, on off-white laid paper

 

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Street Scene

Félix Vallotton (Swiss, Lausanne 1865–1925 Paris), Street Scene in Paris (Coin de rue à Paris), 1895, Gouache and oil on cardboard

Milwaukee is bustling! Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival, is currently taking place here in Milwaukee, and having an extra 900,000 people packed into the city makes it feel a bit more crowded than usual, especially living within walking distance of the fair’s lakefront location. Though I’m not a fan of my quadrupled commute time, or the fruitless attempts at walking our 4 month old puppy without stopping every other step (which rarely happens on a deserted sidewalk, much less a packed one), I’m still looking forward to stopping by Milwaukee’s annual fest (primarily for a taste of Saz’s famous sour cream & chive fries? guilty.) Though Milwaukee’s crowds are not as glamorous as Vallotton’s, absolutely in love with the artist’s broad saturated planes of color.

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Latest Love: Kees van Dongen

Kees van Dongen (Dutch, 1877–1968), Place Vendome, 1918–20, Oil on canvas

I’ve always adored this work, Place Vendome, a permanent resident of The Mrs. Harry L. Bradley Collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Although Dutch-born French painter and printmaker, Kees van Dongen, is most renowned for his sensual female portraits, I find myself drawn to his charmingly vibrant scenes of bustling Parisian streets, crowded racetracks and teeming seascapes. Van Dongen remained committed to the short-lived Fauvist style throughout his career, his subjects emerging from strong painterly strokes, and stretches of bold unblended color.

Kees van Dongen, Maria, 1907–10, Oil on canvas

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Latest Love: František Kupka

František Kupka (1871-1957) began his career as an illustrator in Paris, quickly becoming known for his satirical drawings. Kupka’s later works became increasingly abstract, exhibiting an astounding use of color and motion, leading to his becoming a founding member of Abstraction-Création, together with Jean Arp, Albert Gleizes, Jean Hélion, Auguste Herbin, Theo van Doesburg, and Georges Vantongerloo. I have always been enraptured with Mme Kupka among Verticals, and have only recently discovered some of the artist’s lesser known, yet equally lovely studies.

Bather, 1906
Pastel and charcoal on gray paper

Mme Kupka among Verticals, 1910-11
Oil on canvas

Planes by Colors, Large Nude (Plans par couleurs, grand nu), 1909–10
Oil on canvas

Study with Green, 1912
Chalk and gouache on paper

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MAM After Dark

MAM After Dark is a monthly after-hours event at the Milwaukee Art Museum, centered around the museum’s featured exhibition. Tonight’s MAM After Dark: Cancan, highlighting the current exhibition “Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries,” offered a peek at the Brew City Bombshells Burlesque Troupe, French cuisine by Milwaukee’s Coquette Cafe, wine tasting, and live music by Milwaukee Hot Club. Though I didn’t get to stay long, it’s always fun to experience the featured exhibition amid a setting that emulates the energy and spirit of the works themselves. Although French poster exhibits have been exhausted many times over, “Posters of Paris” was still a joy to visit, the sheer scale of choice works quite stunning, the selection—an engaging mixture of instantly recognizable prints (that adorned many of our dorm room walls, including mine) and novel preparatory studies, which allowed wonderful insight into each artist’s design process.

Leonetto Cappiello (Italian, 1875-1942)
Chocolat Klaus, 1903
Color lithograph

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Divan Japonais, 1893
Color Lithograph

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