Saturday, August 16, 2008

Paris in August -Musee de l'Orangerie - Jardin des Tuileries

Place de la Concorde and the Musee de L’Orangerie. One of the eight statues representing one of the eight major cities of France, Marseille stands near the Quai des Tuileries on the Place de la Concorde. Behind it you can see the glass roof of the Musee de L’Orangerie.

The Fosse Jaunes: The Orangerie has recently been reopened after renovation, it was originally built in the second half of the 16th century on the site of Paris’s first bastion of three walls surrounding the city, know best as the Fosse Jaunes or yellow trenches, referring to the color of the earth. Recently, during the renovation work of the museum, the excavating crew discovered in the basement, where you can view them today, some of the antique stones. These are part of Louis XVIII’s third and last set of original walls built during the period of 1632-1637. In 1852 the Orangerie Museum took as it’s home this former orangery, where, as its name indicates, the Tuileries grew its own fruit tree.

Musee de L’Orangerie – Les Nympheas: Claude Monet’s Nympheas or Water Lilies have been in the Orangerie Museum since 1927. A Gift from Monet (1840-1926) to the French state, they hang in two oval rooms as requested by the artist. A true testament to Monet’s talent, these great paintings were created between 1914 and the time of his death and are the culmination of an entire life’s work. They were inspired by a ‘water garden’, surrounded by trees and decorated with aquatic plants, on the artist’s property in Giverny. The eight panels reflect the passing of the hours, from morning in east to sunset in the west. The paintings are displayed in circular spaces, which, with no beginning and no end, surround the viewer. L’Orangerie Museum is referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of Impressionism”.

Musee de L’Orangerie: Les Nympheas – a detail. A detail of one of Claude Monet's gigantic Nympheas. Look at the beauty of the brushstrokes and the colors.

Musee de L’Orangerie - La Collection Jean Walter et Paul Guillaume: Paul Guillaume painted by Kees van Dongen, Portrait de Paul Guillaume, circa 1930. Paul Guillaume (1891-1934) was the Parisian art-dealer and collector who assembled a prestigious art collection without equal in any other Parisian museum. The Jean Walter et Paul Guillaume Collection of 144 paintings is housed in the lower floor of the Musee de L’Orangerie. The works of art bear witness to artistic creation in France through the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. The collection displays two seminal periods in French art. Impressionism is represented by exceptional paintings by Renoir and Cezanne; early modern art and the return to a degree of Classicism, typical of the period between the two wars, are illustrated by masterpieces by Modigliani, Le Douanier Rousseau, Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Utrillo and Soutine.

Musee de L’Orangerie: Paul Guillaume painted by Andre Derain, Portrait de Paul Guillaume, circa 1919-1920.

Musee de L’Orangerie: Paul Guillaume painted by Amadeo Modigliani, Novo Pilota, 1915.

Musee de L’Orangerie. A doll’s house reproduction of Paul and Domenica Guillaume’s Paris apartment at 22 Avenue Foch, circa 1930. This tiny model shows how the Impressionist paintings where hung in the art-dealer and collector’s home.

Jardin des Tuileries – L’Orangerie. In the Tuilerie Gardens, there are green metal chairs, which have slanted seating which encourages lying back in a comfortable seated position. Beyond the chairs, placed besides L’Orangerie Museum is the French sculptor, Alain Kirili installation in painted welded-steel, of seventeen white abstract forms, called, Grand Commandement Blanc, 1986.

Jardin des Tuileries – entrance from the Rue de Rivoli. The first gated entrance on the Rue de Rivoli from Place de la Concorde gives you this stunning view of the Tuilerie Gardens. Beyond the artificial pond and fountain, encircled by statues representing mythological figures, is the Musee de L’Orangerie, home to Monet’s big Water Lilies paintings. L’Orangerie reopened two years ago after extensive renovations. I love the wooden painted potholders, very French.
Contessanally tip. Click on any photograph to enlarge it.

Jardin des Tuileries – Richard Serra. American minimalist sculptor, Richard Serra, who is known for his large-scale sheet metal sculptures, designed this installation piece, entitled, Clara-Clara in 1983 for this particular location. Twenty-five years later it was re-located at the entrance of the Tuilerie Gardens and Place de la Concorde and will be on view until November 3rd. From the other side, through the opening of the two curved lines you can view the perspective of the Champs Elysees right up to the Arc de Triomphe.
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