Paris Arts & Culture: 14 Top Picks for Fall-Winter 2020-2021

Paris Arts & Culture: 14 Top Picks for Fall-Winter 2020-2021

Paris art 2020
Henri Matisse, Les Tapis rouges, 1906 Oil on canvas, 86 × 116 cm Musée de Grenoble © Succession H. Matisse Photo © Ville de Grenoble/Musée de Grenoble- J.L. Lacroix

One of the worst things about being confined in Paris, other than not being able to share a bise with friends and family, was missing out on all the great art and culture the City of Lights has to offer. Although many institutions went out of their way to organize virtual tours and events, there’s nothing like seeing a great piece of art in person to truly appreciate its visual and emotional impact.

Luckily, with lockdown over and health measures in place, Paris has thrown open the doors of its museums and galleries. The fall-winter season brings an enticing mix of famous names and new discoveries with a focus on fashion, photography, landscapes and the metaphysical. Here are INSPIRELLE‘s suggestions of must-see shows, but be aware schedules are subject to change and most venues require advance tickets to control the flow of visitors, so be sure to check the websites before you go!


Matisse, Like a Novel

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of  Matisse’s birth, the Centre Pompidou presents an exhibit that explores Matisse’s innovative contributions the language of art. Divided into nine “chapters,” the retrospective features over 230 works, illuminated by the writings of Louis Aragon, Dominique Fourcade, and Matisse himself.

Where: Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou 75004 Paris
When: Oct 21, 2020 – Feb 22, 2021

Turner, Paintings and Watercolours from the Tate

One of Paris’ most beautiful small museums, the Jacquemart André presents a major retrospective of the English painter, best known for the exceptional use of light, color and transparency in his watercolors. The exhibit features over 60 works and includes part of a private collection held by writer John Ruskin which illuminates Turner’s approach and imagination.

Where: Musée Jacquemart-André, 158 boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris
When: Through Jan 11, 2021


Cindy Sherman at The Fondation

Cindy Sherman’s singular self-portraits, featuring disturbing clowns, invented film heroines and society grand dames continues to provoke and fascinate. The retrospective at the Fondation Louis Vuitton brings together over 150 works, including ones never before seen in France. The exhibit is presented alongside a sister show, Crossing Views, pulling from the Foundation’s collection and chosen in collaboration with Sherman. Centered on the theme of the portrait, it highlights work by Marina Abramovic, Gilbert & George, Andy Warhol, Annette Messager and many others.

Where: Fondation Louis Vuitton, 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris
When: Through Jan 3, 2021

Sarah Moon, PastPresent

Self-taught photographer Sarah Moon began her career in fashion, eventually moving into art photography and film. Her work incorporates literary and cinematic references in her mysterious and poetic images, which play with the notions of transparency, obscurity and time. The exhibit, organized around a selection of her fairy-tale-inspired films, is the perfect time to discover the world of this striking artist.

Where: Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 14 avenue de New York 75116 Paris
When: Through January 10, 2021


The Golden Age of Danish Painting

The Petit Palais looks north to celebrate the Golden Age of Danish Painting, from 1801 to 1864. Featuring more than 200 works by leading artists of the time, the exhibit offers a rare view of the people, landscapes and artistic styles that inspired 19th century Danish painters. Don’t forget to take a tour in the museum’s charming gardens before you leave.

Where: Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill 75008 Paris
When: Through Jan 3, 2021

Cezanne And The Master Painters, A Dream Of Italy

By displaying Cézanne’s work alongside that of great Italian masters from the 16th to the 19th century, such as Tintoretto, El Greco and Poussin, the exhibit shines a light on the influence of Italy in Cezanne’s work. The second half of the show in turn highlights the importance of Cezanne’s painting on Italian artists of the modern era and beyond.

Where: Musée Marmottan Manet, 2 rue Louis Boilly 75016 Paris
When: Through Jan 3, 2021


Man Ray and Fashion

Best known as an avant-gardist and surrealist, Man Ray helped define fashion photography with his contributions to Vanity Fair, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, then transformed the practice into art. This exhibit, focusing on his work in the 20s and 30s, explores the rise of publicity and mass consumption during the between-the-wars period as well as his relationship with famous models, Kiki de Montparnasse and Lee Miller.

Where: Musée du Luxembourg, 19 rue de Vaugirard, 75006
When: Through Jan 17, 2021

Harper’s Bazaar, First in Fashion

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs celebrates the mythic fashion magazine, tracing its evolution from the 19th century to modern day, highlighting the work of its influential photographers and editors. The exhibit mixes behind-the-scenes photos and archive materials with the magazine’s most famous covers and the gowns which graced them. For fashion fans and history buffs alike.

Where: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
When: Through Jan 3, 2021


Noir & Blanc: A Photographic Aesthetic.

Elitist and old-fashioned to some, bold and poetic to others, black and white photography has a long and rich history that this exhibit sets out to explore. Drawing on the archives of the Bibliothèque Nationale, the show features the work of 204 photographers from 36 countries, including masters like Man Ray, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Valérie Belin and more, comparing different periods, currents and techniques to demonstrate the lasting power of black and white photography.

Where: Grand Palais, 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris
When: Through Jan 4, 2021

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto

The Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of the city of Paris, reopens its doors after extensive remodeling with an unmissable retrospective of Gabrielle Chanel’s life and career. The exhibit recounts her early years, the development of her unique style, from the little black dress to the iconic perfumes and jewelry, and her return to design in the mid-1950s. Ten photo portraits accompany the 350 pieces on display, attesting to the fact Chanel herself was always the best ambassador of her brand.

Where: Palais Galliera, 10 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75016 Paris
Where: Through Mar 14, 2021


Precious Stones 

The Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, part of the Museum of Natural History complex at the Jardin des Plantes, invites you to discover the world of precious gems. Over 500 minerals, gems and objets d’art are on display alongside 200 pieces of jewelry from venerated house Van Cleef and Arpels. Discover the geology behind these beautiful creations, from mineral formation to the latest scientific advances.

Where: Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, 36 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire 75005 Paris
Where: Through June 14, 2021

Christian Louboutin : L’Exhibition[nist]

This stunning and informative exhibit traces Christian Louboutin’s inspirations and creative process, illustrating how he became one of the world’s best-known shoe designers. The mixed-media show features a large selection of shoes as well as playful videos with collaborators, archival photos and examples of the art and places which sparked his imagination, including the Palais itself. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover this beautifully restored museum, a former monument to colonialism which has transformed itself into a cultural institution dedicated to engaging with France’s troubled immigration history.

Where: Palais de la Porte Dorée, 293 Avenue Daumesnil 75012 Paris
When: Through Jan 3, 2021

Mystery and Metaphysics

Giorgio de Chirico, Metaphysical Painting

Filled with eerie cityscapes, mysterious mannequins and mythological references, de Chirico’s paintings are a unique mix of surrealism, modernism and the metaphysical. This exhibit at the l’Orangerie traces the artist’s philosophical influences, including Nietzsche Schopenhauer, as well as his relationship with luminaries of the time like Guillaume Apollinaire, André Breton and Paul Eluard, who championed his work.

Where: Musée l’Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde 75001 Paris
When: Through 14 Dec 14, 2020

Léon Spilliaert. Light and solitude

This exhibit of the Belgian artist, the first in France in nearly 40 years, concentrates on the years 1900-1919, when Spilliaert created some of his most memorable work. Drawing on the metaphysical and Flemish culture, as well as symbolism and expressionism, Spillaert’s art plays with light and dark to evoke a universal sense of mystery and melancholy.

Where: Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris
When: Through Jan 10, 2021



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