Photo of the Week

Paris-Update-Louvre-evening

The Louvre lights up. © Paris Update

 

Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Hélène Angel's Primaire. Cinéma Le Brady, Paris, Feb. 24

Virtual reality on show
> Virtuality will host speakers and networking sessions on this hot topice. Centquatre, Paris, Feb. 24-26.

Contemporary textile art
>Miniartextil is an exhibition of new textiles from around the world. Le Beffroi, Montrouge, Feb. 22-March 19.

A barnyard in Paris

ParisUpdate-cow
> The Salon International de l'Agriculture brings the best of the country's livestock and crops and the products made from them to Paris. Porte de Versailles, Paris, Feb. 25-March 5.

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, March 1-April 13.

Paris semi-marathon
> Starts and ends on the Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, March 5.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Matthew Lancit's Flâneurs (Street Rambles). Cinéma MacMahon, Paris, March 3.

Literary conversations
> The festival New Writings, New Styles brings well-known Irish and French writers together to discuss contemporary literature in the two countries. Irish Cultural Centre, Paris, March 3-4.

Indian film scene
> The festival India Express takes a tour of new and classic films focusing on the subcontinent’s major cities. Forum des Images, Paris, through Feb. 26.

Young European photographers
> The Festival Circulation(s) features emerging photographers. Centquatre, Paris, through March 5.

Frank Capra Retrospective
> The great American director in the spotlight. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Feb. 27.

 

Art - Museums

 

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Redecorated Home

for Decorative Arts

The grandiose hall of the restored museum glows with natural light. Photo: © Philippe Chancel
The grandiose hall of the restored museum glows with natural light. Photo: © Philippe Chancel

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, located in the Louvre’s 19th-century Marsan Wing, has finally reopened after a 10-year closure, during which both the building and its collection were extensively renovated and restored.

The immediate impression is spectacular. Visitors enter the museum through a three-story-high main hall with light streaming in from oval skylights above and a mosaic-tiled floor gleaming beneath their feet. Glimpses of some of the 5,000 restored pieces on display in the exhibition areas on each side of the hall can be seen through the glass walls of the hall.

The renovation has added exhibition space, which now totals 9,000 square meters, and reorganized the display of part of the museum's enormous collection of 150,000 pieces. The chronological display meandering through the entire museum covers every period and movement from Gothic and Louis XVI to Art Deco and contemporary design. The great names in French design are all here, among them Boulle, Sèvres, Aubusson, Christofle, Lalique, Guimard, Mallet Stevens, Le Corbusier, Perriand and Szekely.

Some of today's top designers, working in four teams, have contributed to the renovation to the museum: Oscar Tusquets and Bruno Moinard for the historic collections, Bernard Desmoulin for three special galleries, Sylvain Dubuisson for the modern and contemporary section, and Daniel Kahane for the temporary exhibition spaces and circulation.

As they wander through the chronological display, visitors occasionally come upon one of 11 re-created period rooms, including several rooms from Jeanne Lanvin’s apartment, designed by Armand-Albert Rateau in the 1920s, and a lavish early-18th-century room from the Hôtel de Rochegude in Avignon.

Two levels on the north side of the building are taken up by a thematic show that will change every year. It currently focuses on tableware and seating from various periods. In three other galleries, collections of toys, jewelry and works by Jean Dubuffet are on display.

The profusion of riches in this collection is overwhelming. While the museum has made a valiant attempt to help visitors make sense of it all with its new organization, a number of glitches remain: the visitor sometimes runs into dead ends when following the chronological path or is unsure of which way to go, and the labels describing the works are difficult to read (a common problem in French museums). But for the sheer wealth of fine objects, this is one of the world’s finest decorative arts museums.

Heidi Ellison

Musée des Arts Décoratifs: 107, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (wheelchair access: 105, rue de Rivoli). Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre. Tel : 01 44 55 57 50. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm (until 9pm on Thurs.); Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: €9. www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr

© 2006 Paris Update

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