Monday, April 30, 2018

Matthew Ronay at galerie Perrotin

Bill and I had a look at some of the independent art galleries of the Haut Marais on Saturday. Contemporary art is alive and well in Paris!
Brooklyn-based Matthew Ronay's charming sculptures at the Perrotin Gallery came as a complete surprise. What undersea ocean trench did Move, Swallow, Breathe grow up in?
Ronay is certainly in touch with his unconscious. The gallery literature tells us that Raw Recorder and the other works begin life as sketches. 
When Ronay decides the sketch is finished the fabrication of the piece begins. Femsupreme is made of basswood, dye, gouache, flocking, plastic and steel. Ronay's began his career making  architectural maquettes.
Trophallaxis and all the other pieces in the show were made last year in 2017. Ronan began exhibiting in 1999.
I find them delightful. Limerent Bond is a typical size -- about two feet long.
Sexual Trimorphism and the other works certainly evoke Yves Tanguy's biomorphic shapes.
Terra/Firmament stands on a table in front of
Midnight Ascent -- a larger work: 55" by 47". We'll give Ronay the last word. He talks about this body of work in this five minute video.

Museum of the Hunt and Nature

         The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is situated in two 18th century mansions in the heart of the Marais.
This oversized frog peering out of a ground floor window promises surprises within.
We knew that interesting contemporary artists like Sophie Calle had shown at the museum. Gérard Garouste, a contemporary French painter was showing at the museum's gallery when we visited.
Here's an example of the expressionistic work he was showing on the ground floor gallery -- Diana and Actaeon, 2015.
(Detail of above). When huntsman, Actaeon stumbles upon the goddess Diana bathing in the nude in the woods, she angrily turns him into a stag and he is torn to pieces by his own hounds.
We left the art gallery and climbed the steps to the museum.
At the top of the stairs we found a small, medieval carving of Saint Eustace converting to Christianity after encountering a stag in the forest with a crucifix between its horns.
Then we walked into the The Room of the Dogs.
John captured a detail of the pups in the painting above
and I admired Jeff Koons' ceramic vase, Puppy, 1998. Thus began a series of elegant rooms dedicated to the hunt and the hunted that lead the visitor through the museum's collection.
In The Room of the Stag and the Wolf we found Wolf hunt, a late 16th century, Flemish tapestry
and a stuffed stag with full antlers. Every elegant room is packed with period furniture, art and stuffed animals related to the hunt
as well as dark side rooms full of mysterious treasures like this owl mask
in a little room featuring a ceiling of owls. It's all quite mysterious and overwhelming.
John liked this little warthog
and in this lushly decorated sitting room
I favoured this fox curled up in one of the chairs. John saw one young visitor whispering into the fox' ear. Kids love this museum.
The period rooms seem endless, always with surprises
like this one where John has found some contemporary porcelain figurines
like this bear holding what seems to be a partial child's body
and this rather louche bear reclining with a pistol on his lap.
Other cabinets displayed 17th century dishes with hunt decorations,
serving tureens like this boar's head design
and rather terrifying, exotic cans of rhinoceros
crocodile and tiger meat. Not available at your local supermarket, thank God!
The museum reminded me of of a wild cabinet of sometimes questionable curiosities. Not for the faint of heart! Let's take our leave as John poses with an oversized friend
and we descend to the Rue des Archives below!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Delacroix at the Louvre

John and I visited  the Louvre this week and went directly to the new Delacroix, 1798-1863 retrospective. It is the first major retrospective show of his works since 1963.
There are 180 works on display -- paintings, lithographs, drawings and watercolours.
Portrait of Eugene Delacroix, 1858 by Nadar. Isn't it amazing to have a photograph of a man born in the 18th century!
The inevitable crowds made it hard to see the most famous paintings like this one -- July 28, Liberty Guides the People, 1830.
We had better luck with this elegant, life-sized, Portrait of Louis Auguste Schwiter, 1827-1828.
I am more excited by Delacroix's watercolours and studies, like this one, a study for
The Death of Sardanapolus (small version), 1844-1846.
Crowds also surrounded the Lion Hunt, 1854, here seen in a relatively quiet moment.
John managed to get this detail of a lion chewing the rump of a horse, from the upper right of the painting. Light was very low in the exhibition hall. John told me his Nikon gave him only a blur, but his phone gave him this sharp image. Who would have thought...
John's Nikon did deliver this snapshot of some of the passionate visitors.
Now let's turn to my chief interest in Delacroix --  the drawings and watercolours. Here's his lovely pastel drawing, Perseus and Andromeda, 1853. It's difficult not to see possible influence on late 19th century artist's like Odilon Redon in this drawing.
Come and enjoy some watercolours with me. Look at this spectacular Unmade Bed from 1825-1828.
A courtyard in Tangier, 1832
An Arab sitting with hands crossed, graphite and watercolour, also 1832.
Horse frightened by thunder, watercolour, 1825-1829.
The Education of Achilles, graphite, 1838-1842.
Sunset on the Sea, watercolor over graphite on paper, c.1854
John got this detail of the brush strokes.
One final treat -- we both swooned over Delacroix' sketchbooks.
The sketchbooks were tiny.
Here is a closer look at the book above, filled with Moroccan notes and loose studies.
 Here's another book -- Notes and drawings done in Tangier, 1832, 
and a detail therefrom. The Delacroix Exhibition at the Louvre continues until July 23rd.