Photo of the Week

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The view from the Théâtre de l"Odéon at dusk. Photo: Françoise Deberdt-Meunier

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries

ParisUpdate-CarreRiveGauche-Passage AH 0

“Passage” ((2017), by Aude Herlédan. At 1831 Art Gallery during Carré Rive Gauche.

> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Literary evening
> The Nuit de la Littérature in Belleville and Ménilmontant presents 20 foreign authors reading their work in French. Various venues, Paris, May 27.

 English-language theater festival
> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Etienne Comar’s Django, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 26.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Art - Museums

 

Musée Cernuschi

Asian Art Collection Reopens

One of a group of eight Tang Dynasty musicians at the reopened Musée Cernuschi. © Musée Cernuschi Roger Keverne Ltd.
One of a group of eight Tang Dynasty musicians at the reopened Musée Cernuschi. © Musée Cernuschi Roger Keverne Ltd.

After a four-year renovation to provide more exhibition space and bring it up to safety and accessibility norms, the Musée Cernuschi, a stately mansion housing France’s second-largest collection of Asian art (after that of Paris's Musée Guimet), has reopened its doors, all spiffed up and showing off its new acquisitions.


The collection was amassed by Henri Cernuschi (1821-96), an Italian with Republican ideals who fled to France in 1849 after the fall of the short-lived Roman Republic and made his fortune in Paris.

The focal point of the collection is a majestic 18th-century bronze Buddha from Japan, which sits proudly in a two-story room (purpose-built for it by Cernuschi), surrounded by smaller but no less interesting objects, including a charming 2,000-year-old terracotta model of a Vietnamese village from the Thanh-hoa culture.

The many Tang Dynasty (618-907) pieces in the collection include such treasures as an orchestra of eight female musicians on horseback in polychrome terracotta. From the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) comes an intricate multileveled fountain in glazed terracotta, with turtles crawling around in its basin and primitive human figures populating its terraces; a perky-eared terracotta canine stature that could have been the model for the RCA dog; and a wonderful group of merrily laughing human figures representing different professions: cook, peasant, dancer, musician and suivante.

The Western Han is represented by a graceful wooden phoenix in flight and an unusual group of nude, armless male figures in terracotta, about 2 feet tall, among other items. A notable recent acquisition is a handsome pair of male and female funerary masks in gilded bronze dating from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125). One of the museum’s most important pieces is “The Tigress,” an intricate late Shang Dynasty (c. 1550 B.C.-c. 1050 B.C.) bronze vessel in the shape of a feline creature clutching a small human figure to its stomach.

The Cernuschi’s sleek modern museography tends to hide the fact that this was once a private home. Only a few reminders are left, including the grand staircase, the magnificent arched windows looking out on the Parc Monceau and a re-created downstairs smoking room, now encased in glass. Unlike the Musée Jacquemart-André, where visitors are well aware that thy are in the collector’s home, the Cernuschi focuses on the collection, which fully deserves the attention.

Musée Cernuschi:
7, avenue Vélasquez, 75008 Paris. Tel.: 01 53 96 21 50. Métro: Villiers. Free admission to permanent collection. paris.fr/musees/cernuschi

© 2005 Paris Update