Paris Arts & Culture: 12 Top Picks for Fall-Winter 2019

Paris Arts & Culture: 12 Top Picks for Fall-Winter 2019

Paris art 2019
Dominique Peyronnet, Les falaises et la mer 1931, courtesy of the Galerie Dina Vierny, Paris

As the air turns crisper and leaves start to disappear, why not warm your body and soul with a new season of art and culture? This year features grand masters and naives, colorful forms and figures, artists inspired by the arts, and tributes to the gifts of the natural world.

Memorable Masters

Leonardo da Vinci

The Louvre honors the Florentine genius on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his death with a display of 140 works organized around the five paintings it already owns. With loans from some of the biggest art institutions in the world, supported by over ten years of research and restoration work, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rediscover the life and oeuvre of the ultimate Renaissance man who took a scientific approach to his art in order to breathe life into painting. With over 150,000 tickets already sold, it is essential to reserve your date and time online before you go.

When: October 24, 2019 – February 24, 2020
Where: Musée du Louvre, Pyramide – Cour Napoléon, 75001 Paris

From the Douanier Rousseau to Séraphine, The Great Naïve Masters

Discover a different kind of master at this impressive exhibit of naïve artists. Also known as “modern primitives”, these painters created a brightly-colored, dreamy, and rich world independent of the academic or avant-garde artists of their time. Bringing together a collection of their work for the first time in Paris, the exhibit shines an important light on overlooked artists such as Camille Bombois,  Jean Ève, Dominique Peyronnet, and Louis Vivin, highlighting the inventiveness and subversiveness of their art.

When: September 11, 2019 – January 19, 2020
Where: Musée Maillol, 61 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris

Modern Views

Toulouse-Lautrec, Resolutely Modern

Prior to closing for massive renovations in 2020, the Grand Palais kicks off the season with not one but two major retrospectives. The first focuses on the well-known chronicler of Montmartre, Toulouse-Lautrec. The first major show devoted to him since 1992, the exhibit is less interested in the folklore surrounding the Moulin Rouge and more in the artist’s distinct visual style, which combined a caustic sense of humor, a deep love of humanity and the ability to capture time by freezing a particular moment.

When: October 9, 2019 – January 27, 2020
Where: Grand Palais, Galeries Nationales, 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris

El Greco

The second major show at the Grand Palais is – unbelievably – the first major exhibition in France ever to be dedicated to El Greco, the 16th-century master who flourished in Spain during the transition from the Renaissance to the Golden Age. Combining bright colors and a bold, heroic style, El Greco straddles the gap between tradition and modernity and was hugely influential to a generation of 20th-century avant-garde painters. And while you’re visiting the Grand Palais, don’t forget to take a brief detour to see Jeff Koon’s recently installed monumental sculpture Bouquet of Tulips, created to honor the victims of the November 13 terrorist attacks.

When: October 16, 2019 – February 10, 2020
Where: Grand Palais, Galeries Nationales, 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris

Magical Figures

The Figurative Mondrian

Dutch artist Piet Mondrian is best known for his early abstract paintings involving squares of red, yellow and blue. But he also excelled at figurative work, as evidenced by this exhibit of 60 paintings, chosen by the artist himself around 1920 for his biggest collector. Influenced by Impressionism, Luminism, the Fauves, and Symbolism among others, these landscapes, portraits and flower paintings prove Mondrian was a master of color no matter the style. Come discover a different side of this renowned abstract artist.

When: September 12, 2019 – January 26, 2020
Where: Musée Marmottan Monet 2, Rue Louis-Boilly, Paris 75116


Picasso: Magic paintings

The long career of this ultra-prolific artist is comprised of many different stylistic periods. This new exhibit focuses on the series of paintings he created over four years (summer 1926-spring 1930) which form a cohesive group known as Tableaux Magiques. Principally figurative paintings, these works plumbed new emotional depths and allowed him to experiment with materials and scale. The exhibit places the works in the context of the major tenets of the time, such as surrealism and psychology, and the interest among writers in the magical powers of art.

When: October 1, 2019 – February 23, 2020
Where: Musée national Picasso-Paris, 5 rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris.

Art To Art

Francis Bacon: Books And Painting

Presenting around 60 paintings from the last two decades of his career, the exhibit shines a spotlight on Bacon’s love of literature, which influenced many of his works. The exhibit includes readings of texts taken from his impressive library: Mathieu Almaric, Hippolyte Girardot, Denis Podalydes and others read from Aeschylus, Nietzsche, Bataille, Leiris, Conrad and Eliot. For Bacon, these authors were not only sources of inspiration, but his “spiritual family” who stimulated his thinking about art. Covering works from 1971 to 1992 (the year of the artist’s death), the exhibit also highlights how his painting style simplified and intensified in his later years, as his colors acquired a new depth.

When: September 11, 2019 – January 20, 2020
Where: Centre Georges-Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris

Degas at the Opera

Dégas’ dancers are some of the world’s most recognizable works and indeed the Opéra de Paris provided a focal point for the artist throughout his career. Exploring all aspects of the theater, from the spectacular auditorium to the simple studio, from the lowliest dancer to the most elegantly-dressed subscriber, Dégas was able to experiment with point of view, lighting, motion and movement. This is the first art exhibit to consider the Opera as a whole, examining Dégas’ fascination with it, but also various other aspects of this temple of Parisian art.

When: September 24, 2019 – January 19, 2020
Where: Musée d’Orsay, 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

Revolutionary Design

Cuban Posters: Revolution and Cinema

The Decorative Arts Museum shines a light on the golden age of Cuban graphic posters. Through 250 works, the exhibit shows off the rich history of this school of design, longtime under-appreciated due to Cuba’s isolation. With roots in the political propaganda posters of the 60s and 70s, steeped in the country’s love of cinema, the Cuban poster style differs from its American counterparts by being freer and more colorful, inspired by pop art, psychedelicism and other contemporary art movements. Fidel Castro himself saw these works as a way for art to reach a large population who didn’t frequent museums or galleries.

When: October 31, 2019 – February 2, 2020
Where: Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107-111, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Charlotte Perriand: Inventing A New World

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the passing of design pioneer Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), the Louis Vuitton Foundation has organized a large-scale exhibition paying tribute to this visionary creator, a frequent collaborator of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, who explored the links between art, architecture and design. With meticulously-researched faithful reconstitutions of her designs, in dialogue with 200 works by artists of her time, the exhibit invites visitors to rethink the role of art, women, and nature in our society and how art can spearhead the important transformations of tomorrow.

When: October 2, 2019 – February 24, 2020
Where: Fondation Louis Vuitton, 8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris

Natural Treasures


Bringing together a community of artists, botanists, and philosophers, this exhibit explores the beauty and biology of these pillars of the natural world. Featuring drawings, paintings, photographs, films, and installations by artists from Latin America, Europe, the United States, Iran, and from indigenous communities, the exhibit mixes science, art and documentary observations to remind us how we are inexorably linked to trees and how the world today is being threatened with large-scale deforestation.

When: July 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Where: Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, 261 boulevard Raspail, Paris 75014

Treasures of the Earth

While waiting for its large-scale renovation project to be completed, the Museum of Minerology and Geology has reopened its giant crystal room to show off the literal gems of its collection. With pieces from all five continents and beyond, including meteorites, jewels and sculpted objects, the exhibit takes you on a journey through the history, variety and uses of minerals through the ages, offering a glimpse of the origins of the Earth itself.

When: Ongoing
Where: Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie, 36 rue Geoffroy St-Hilaire, 75005 Paris

Elizabeth Brahy
Senior Editor of INSPIRELLE, Elizabeth Brahy is a native of Los Angeles. She worked in film and television for many years before moving to Paris and becoming a freelance writer and editor. An admitted pop culture nerd, she loves comedy podcasts, YA books and genre series. Elizabeth is the Regional Advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators-France and is currently at work on a YA mystery. Follow her on twitter at @expat_eliz



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