Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-bicycles-courtyard

Bicycles in a Parisian courtyard. © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Stick up for science
> The Paris March for Science begins at 1pm at the Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert), April 22.

Silent films from Switzerland?
> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, April 20-May 2.

Voices from the North
> The Pølar Festival celebrates Northern European culture with films, concerts, talks and more. Various locations, Paris, April 19-29.

Photo walk
> Eight Paris galleries hold special photography shows and events for Parcours Fotofever. Various locations, Paris, through May 1.

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

Art videos
> The theme of this year’s Videobox Festival is “noise and movement.” Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 27-29.

Take home a winemaker
> Winemakers from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux come to Paris to offer tastings of their products in wine bars and private homes for the event J’Irai Déguster chez Vous. Various venues, Paris, April 20-22.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Bedos’s Monsieur & Madame Adelman preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 21.

Polaroid pix
> The “Expolaroid” exhibition features Polaroid images by nine artists. La Maison des Ensembles, Paris, through April 25.

Binge-watching
> Festival Séries Mania shows TV series from around the world and holds debates, conferences and special guests like Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” all for free. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 23.

Travel yarns
> Travel fanatics get together at the Paris Travelers Festival to swap tales of their adventures. FIAP, Paris, April 22-23.

Street art indoors

ParisUpdate-UrbanArtFair-Felipe-Pantone-2
The gallery Art in the Game will be showing works by Felipe Pantone at the Urban Art Fair.> Some 30 galleries show street art at the Urban Art Fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 20-23.

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.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Art - Museums

 

Musée de l’Orangerie

Sistine Chapel of

Impressionism Reopens

Monet's water lilies have been brought back into the light. Photo: © Didier Plowy MCC
Monet's water lilies have been brought back into the light. Photo: © Didier Plowy MCC

Monet water-lily lovers will be thrilled to hear that the Musée de l’Orangerie has finally reopened today after six years of renovation work that cost the state €30 million. They will be even more thrilled to see that the panoramic series of paintings Monet donated to this museum have been brought back into the light of day, as he had intended them to be.

The facade of the rectangular building known as the “Sistine Chapel of Impressionism,” located on the Seine side of the Tuileries Garden (and the near-twin of the Jeu de Paume on the north side), has been left intact, but the museum now has a new interior.

At first glance, the result looks depressingly familiar: The entrance hall, while filled with light from floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass roof, is all blocks of gray concrete. Step into the next room, however, and you find yourself in a smallish, unadorned oval-shaped white room with a small oval skylight. Its peaceful atmosphere changes the mood entirely and prepares you for the spectacular effect of the transition to the next room, a much larger oval-shaped space with its own oval skylight, letting in gently filtered light. Visitors can sit on the (also oval-shaped) bench in the center of the room and contemplate four of Monet’s aquatic masterpieces with nothing else to distract their attention. The next room, with four more monumental Monet paintings, is a slightly larger copy of the first.

Since the 1960s, these rooms, which had been built to Monet’s specifications, had been buried under a concrete ceiling added by a misguided architect. Olivier Brochet, the architect responsible for the current renovation, has restored their beautiful, light-bathed setting. The only problem is that the formerly little-visited Orangerie is now sure to attract crowds, making quiet contemplation of the famous water lilies much more difficult than it used to be.

The various renovations the building has undergone since it was built in the 19th century can be seen in four models on the mezzanine as you descend to the lower floor, where, in another surprising juxtaposition, paintings in ornate gilded frames are hung on the polished gray concrete wall of a long corridor. The Jean Walter/Paul Guillaume collection is presented in a series of smaller rooms, with an impressive array of works by Renoir, Rousseau, Cézanne, Monet, Sisley, Derain, Modigliani, Laurencin, Utrillo and Soutine.

Part of a wall dating from 1566, built during the reign of Charles IX, can also be seen in the basement. These archaeological vestiges were uncovered during the construction work, although some critics say their existence was no secret to those familiar with historical maps of the area. Their discovery seriously delayed the museum’s reopening, which had originally been planned for 2001.

The Musée de l’Orangerie also holds temporary exhibitions.

Heidi Ellison

Musée de l’Orangerie: Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris. Métro: Concorde. Tel.: 01 44 77 80 07. Open Wednesday-Monday, 9am-6pm. Admission: €7.50. www.musee-orangerie.fr

© 2006 Paris Update

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