Paris Arts & Culture: 18 Top Picks for Spring-Summer 2017

Paris Arts & Culture: 18 Top Picks for Spring-Summer 2017

paris arts
Camille Pissarro "La Place du Théâtre-Français et l’avenue de l’Opéra, effet de pluie," 1898, © Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art

As the Parisian skies turn from gray to blue, a new season of arts and culture welcomes visitors. There are major crowd-pleasers, like a Rodin retrospective or Picasso PrimitifBut there are also many lesser-known names, fascinating thematic exhibits and rarely seen works to explore in the coming spring and summer months. Here are some of INSPIRELLE’s top picks to get your brains buzzing:

A Collector’s Dream

De Zurbarán à Rothko, Alicia Koplowitz Collection – Grupo Omega Capital

© Sophie Lloyd

Alicia Koplowitz, a Spanish business woman and one of the most prolific collectors of our time, brings together both old and modern masters, creating an artistic dialogue across the centuries. Artists such as Tiepolo, Ganaletto and Goya can be seen alongside works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Freud, and Rothko in the setting of a sumptuous hôtel particulier, whose tea salon is considered one of the most beautiful in Paris.

When: Through July 10, 2017
Where: Jacquemart-André Museum , 153, boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris, Mon-Sun 10am – 6pm Late night opening on Mondays until 8:30pm

Tokyo-Paris. Chefs-d’œuvre du Bridgestone Museum of Art, Collection Ishibashi Foundation

The founder of the Bridgestone company, Shojiro Ishibashi, began collecting art in the 1930’s and the Ishibashi Foundation today holds more than 2,600 works. While the Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo is closed for renovations, they have lent 76 of their most treasured pieces to l’Orangerie, focusing on the Impressionist period through western and eastern post-war abstraction. A rare chance in the West to see exceptional works by Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Pollock and Shiraga.

When: April 5-Aug 21, 2017, Wed-Mon, 9am – 6 pm
Where: Musée de l’Orangerie, Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries 75001 Paris

Friends and Rivals

Derain, Balthus, Giacometti – Une amitié artistique

André Derain, “Nu assis à la draperie verte”,
© Musée d’Art Moderne/Roger-Viollet/ADAGP

Through an exhibit of almost 200 works, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris traces the artistic friendship of these three major figures of the 20th century. The still lifes, landscapes and portraits on display reveal Derain, Balthus and Giacometti’s shared sensibilities and deep affection for one another through the 30’s and 40’s, a time of political and historical upheaval.

When: Jun 2 – Oct 29, 2017, Tues-Sun 10am – 6 pm, late opening Thursdays until 10pm
Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris

Vermeer et les maîtres de la peinture de genre

Johannes Vermeer, “The Milkmaid”, 1657-1658, © Amsterdam, The Rijksmuseum

A recognized master of the delicate, interior scene, Vermeer is often regarded as a solitary genius ahead of his time. But a new exhibit at the Louvre explores how Vermeer’s evolution may in fact been heavily influenced by his at-times friendly, at-times competitive relationship with his contemporaries, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Caspar Netscher, and Frans van Mieris, who also specialized in “genre painting” depictions of everyday life. A unique opportunity to see these 17th century Golden Age frenemies in context.

When: Feb 22 – May 22, 2017, Mon, Thurs, Sat, Sun 9am – 6pm, Wed, Fri 9am – 9:45pm
Where: Musée du Louvre, 75001 Paris. Reservations ONLINE only!

Honoring African Art

L’Afrique des Routes

Contrary to some received beliefs, Africans have been exchanging their arts and crafts within Africa and outside their borders for thousands of years. The exhibit “L’Afrique des Routes” explores the routes (by river, land and sea) that contributed to the movement and contact of people, materials and artworks throughout history, from the chariots engraved in caves in the Sahara to the Chinese porcelain of Madagascar.

When: Through Nov 12, 2017, Tues, Wed, Sun 11am-7pm, Thurs, Fri, Sat 11am – 9pm
Where: Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, 37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris

Art/Afrique, le Nouvel Atelier

Moké, “Nuit chaude à la cité”, 1999, Photo Maurice Aeschimann, Courtesy CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection

For a look at Africa’s contemporary art scene, head over to the striking Louis Vuitton Foundation, which is hosting not one, but three exhibits of African art: “Les Initiés”, a selection of works from the collection of Jean Pigozzi; “Etre là”, a look at today’s South African art scene; and “Africa in the Louis Vuitton Collection,” pulling works related to Africa from the museum’s permanent collection.

When: Apr 26 – Aug 28, 2017, 12pm – 8pm
Where: Louis Vuitton Foundation, 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris

Eye on Pissarro

Cézanne called him “First among impressionists,” but Camille Pissarro has not had an exhibit dedicated to him in Paris in 36 years. That all changes this year with two major shows of the artist’s work, one at the Marmottan Museum and one at the Luxembourg Museum. At the Marmottan, 75 of the artist’s chef d’oeuvres have been brought together from museums and private collections all over world, tracing his early years in the Antilles to his time spent in the cities Paris, Rouen and Le Havre, highlighting the inspiration he provided to younger artists.

Camille Pissarro, “La Cueillette des pommes, Eragny”, 1887-1888, © Dallas Museum of Art

The Luxembourg Museum exhibit, “Nature Regained,” focuses on the last two decades of Pissarro’s life. Alongside family archives, around one hundred paintings, drawings and engravings produced in Éragny-sur-Epte between 1884 and 1903, illustrate a lesser-known aspect of the artist’s career, when he moved to the village of Éragny (in beautiful house which he was able to buy thanks to a loan from Claude Monet). 2017 is clearly the year of Pissarro, so don’t miss out!

Camille Pissarro “Le Premier Des Impressionnistes”

When : Through July 2, 2017, Tues-Sun 10am – 6 pm
Where: Marmottan Monet, 2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris

Pissarro à Éragny, La nature retrouvée

When: Mar 16 – July 9, 2017, Mon-Thurs 10:30am – 6pm, Fri-Sun 10:30am – 7pm
Where: Musée du Luxembourg, 19 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris

Passion for Fashion

Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au noir

Photo by Pierre Antoine, Palais Galliera, © Julien Vidal/Galliera/Roger-Viollet

The City of Paris’ fashion museum, the Palais Galliera, is organizing several exhibits this year celebrating Spanish designers. Perhaps the most anticipated is “Balenciaga, Working in Black” taking place at the Musée Bourdelle. With over 100 pieces from the Galliera collections and the archives of Maison Balenciaga, the exhibit explores the renowned Haute Couture designer’s love of black, which he transformed into a variety of different textures, shapes and styles to create his magnificent, timeless pieces.

When: Mar 8 – July 16, 2017, Tues-Sun 10am – 6pm
Where: Musée Bourdelle, 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle 75015 Paris

Dalida, une garde-robe de la ville à la scène

Jean Dessès Robe en velours rouge, 1958.
© Julien Vidal/Galliera/Roger-Viollet

Meanwhile, on site, the Palais Galliera pays homage to Egyptian-born singer Dalida with an exhibit of her wardrobe, which was recently donated to the museum by her brother Orlando. Whether in haute-couture (Balmain, Azarro, Yves Saint Laurent) or prêt-à-porter, the popular star was always at the height of fashion, with her looks often reflecting her artistic development from cabaret singer to movie star.

When: Apr 27 –  Aug 13, 2017, Tues-Sun, 10am – 6pm, Late opening Thurs until 9pm
Where: Palais Galliera, 10 rue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75116 Paris

20th Century Masters

21 rue de la Boétie

Marie Laurencin, “La répétition (Groupe de femmes)”, 1936, © Fondation Foujita / ADAGP 2016 / © Photo : Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, RMN-Grand Palais

Inspired by the autobiography of French journalist Anne Sinclair, whose great-grandfather, Paul Rosenberg, was one of the greatest art collectors of first half of the 20th century. “21 Rue de la Boétie” showcases 60 modern masterpieces –  some works never before seen in France – by Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Léger and more… Combining history, art, social history and politics, the exhibit highlights a crucial time in the twentieth century.

When: March 2 – July 23, 2017, 10:30am – 6:30pmLate night opening Fri until 9:30pm
Where: Musée Maillol, 59-61 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris

Olga Picasso

There are myriad ways of looking at Pablo Picasso’s work. Depending on whether you view it through a political, historical, artistic or personal lens, the work changes in subtle ways, which is part of Picasso’s genius. This new exhibit at the Musée Picasso hopes to shed light on the years that he spent with his first wife Olga Kokhlova, a ballerina for the Ballets Russes, through a rich selection of paintings, drawings, written and photographical archives. A new way of looking at an old friend.

When: Mar 21 – Sept 3, 2017, Tus-Sun 10:30am – 6pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am – 6pm
Where: Musée national Picasso-Paris, Hôtel Salé, 5 rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris

Kids and Company

Momes et Cie

The Cinémathèque Française dedicates a season to the littlest movie-goers with an exhibit and cycle of films for and about children. The coloful, interactive exhibit, created with the help of Michel Ocelot, father of “Kirikou,” explores the history of audio-visual creations for youngsters from magic lanterns and flipbooks through the sophisticated animation of today. Punctuated by emblematic images, such as the caterpillar from “Alice in Wonderland,” the dress from “Peau d’Ane,” or the heroine of “Persepolis,” the exhibit is sure to enchant children of all ages through the magic of cinema.

When: Mar 29 – Jul 30, 2017, Mon, Wed, Fri 12pm – 7pm, Thurs 12pm – 9pm, Sat-Sun 10am – 7pm
Where: La Cinémathèque Française, 51 rue de Bercy 75012 Paris

Viral : Du Microbe Au Fou Rire, Tout S’attrape

© Pavihao do Conhecimento – Ciencia Viva

For curious young minds, the Palais de la Découverte has created an exhibit all about the phenomenon of contagion. From viruses and bacteria to yawns and giggles, how do we catch what we catch? Organized around three themes – What is Contagion?, The Diversity of Contagion, and  We are Contagious – this fun and educational exhibit explores the scientific, psychological and even economic workings of how contagions are spread. Catch the fever!

When: Through Aug 27, 2017, Tues-Sat 9:30am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 7pm
: Palais De La Découverte, Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75008 Paris France

Earth and Stars


Gustav Klimt, Le Parc © 2017, Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art

The garden, in the words of Foucault, is “the smallest part of the world and the whole world at the same time.” The Grand Palais attempts to illustrate that notion with a multidisiplinary exhibit devoted to the garden as a complete work of art.

Featuring paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, films and more from artists such as Dürer, David, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, and Othoniel, the exhibit creates a giant collage for the senses. You may never look at a garden the same way again.

When: Mar 15 – July 24, 2017, 10am – 8pm, late openings Wed, Fri, Sat until 10pm
Where: Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris

Au-delà des étoiles. Le paysage mystique de Monet à Kandinsky

Vincent van Gogh, “Le Semeur, Arles”, 1888
© Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

The Symbolist artists of the late 19th century were fascinated with the mysteries of existence. “Beyond the Stars, The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” is a new exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay that examines the way these artists used landscape painting to search for a place of contemplation and a fusion of the individual with the cosmos. With works from Gauguin, Maurice Denis, Ferdinand Hodler, Van Gogh, Giorgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and others, the exhibit powerfully shows how painting can be a transcendental experience for both the artist and the viewer.

When: Mar 14 – Jun 25, 2017, Tues-Sun 9:30am – 6pm, late opening Thurs until 9:45pm
Where: Musée d’Orsay, 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris 

Masks and Myths

Sérénissime! Venise en fête, de Tiepolo à Guardi

The Musée Cognac-Jay, home to a beautiful collection of 18th century art, has dedicated an exhibit to the festivals of Venice’s cultural Golden Age. Whether in the streets or in the palaces, the people of Venice loved to partake in spectacle –  dance, music theater, and of course the masked carnivals. Through 40 paintings, drawings, and engravings from all over Europe, including works by Tiepolo, Guardi and Longhi, the sumptuous displays of the enlightenment era are brought to life once more.

When : Through June 25, 2017, Tues-Sun 10am – 6pm
Where: Musée Cognacq-Jay, 8 rue Elzevir, 75003 Paris

Golem! Avatars d’une légende d’argile

Paul Wegener, “Le Golem, comment il vint au monde”, 1920, © succession Paul Wegener

Do you know the story of the Golem, one the most famous myths in Jewish folklore? In the most well-known version, he was giant with superhuman powers, created out of clay to protect the Jews of Prague in the 16th century. But the figure of a protective, non-human creature goes back even further than that, and has been repeated numerous times in art and fiction throughout history. Through over 130 works in a variety of mediums – paintings, drawings, photography, theater, film, literature, comics and even video games – the Museum of Jewish Art and History presents a fascinating look at how this medieval Jewish legend still grips our imaginations today.

When: Through July 16, 2017, Tues-Fri 11am –  6pm, Sat-Sun 10am – 6pm
Where: MAHJ, Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, 71 rue du Temple, 75003 Paris

Elizabeth Brahy
Elizabeth Brahy is a native of Los Angeles, where she worked for many years in film development. After moving to Paris 20 years ago, Elizabeth worked in the film and television industries before becoming a freelance writer and editor. An admitted pop culture nerd, she loves comedy podcasts, YA books and American television (as well as art museums and the ballet). Elizabeth is a board member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators France, and co-hosts the podcast "Alex & Mom vs The World." You can follow her on twitter at @expat_eliz



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