Jacquemart André Museum

I’ve been to this museum before. The building itself was built by Edouard André, from a Protestant banking family and he devoted his fortune to buying works of art. His mansion was completed in 1875. He wife, Nélie Jacquemart, an artist herself, bequeathed it and its collections to the Institut de France as a museum and it opened to the public in 1913. It’s full of paintings by Italian artists such as Bellini. The reason I made my return visit to this museum was to see a Rembrandt exhibition. As most know, he was a Dutch painter and is considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art. He lived and created in what is called the Dutch Golden Age. He did many self portraits, life like and without personal vanity, some of which were on exhibit here in the museum. There were also Biblical scenes and examples of his etching. He was considered a master of etching in his lifetime, the greatest in fact. Few of his paintings ever left the Dutch Republic while he lived but his prints were circulated all over Europe and his popularity was based on them alone for years. I’m a fan of his paintings myself and have seen The Night Watch and it was just breathtaking. His paintings glow somehow, and there is such powerful work with light and shadow. I read that he never used blue or green in his paintings and, when I think about it, all I remember are browns, blacks and ochre. In his personal life, although he made quite a bit of money, he didn’t handle it well and was always in debt. When he died he was buried in an unmarked grave reserved for the poor if you can imagine that. I went early on a weekend morning hoping to avoid crowds but had to fight my way past people and groups having tours with a guide. I don’t enjoy looking at exhibits this way but enjoyed seeing Rembrandt’s works nontheless. If I had had a dust cloth with me and no guards watching, I would have given some of the frames a good dusting. I couldn’t believe they weren’t cleaned before the showing. I didn’t get any photos of the exhibit. I was good and didn’t even try to sneak one in.

img_2273 This is one of the favorites of many people, mine too. It’s part of the permanent collection.

img_2276 A look at one of the walls leading into another room, rather palatial. The architect, Henri Parent, came in second to Garnier in a contest to build the Paris Opera House, so went all out in this mansion to show what he could do.

img_2279 This was the smoking room where men retired after dinner for cigars and pipes.

img_2283 The room on the second floor looked down into the entry area below. Musicians also played up here during parties.

img_2286This is called the Winter Garden and is considered the most lovely area in the mansion. It was designed in the period of Napoleon III in which there was a characteristic art of entertaining. It was an area women came to cool down and relax a bit when the other rooms got too crowded and hot. This creative design idea was copied from England which consisted of arranging pots of plants, many exotic, under a glass roof. It leads to a really lovely staircase.

img_2289 A look through a window at a bit of the exterior architecture. The mansion is found on Haussman avenue in Haussmann’s redesigned Paris, an area once full of mansions and elegant living. The museum also has a very nice restaurant but I have never eaten there as there is always a line waiting to get in.

Lap of Luxury

I was in a very nice, luxurious hotel the other day , the Saint James Hotel, and loved walking around taking photos.

img_2033 A sort of chandelier waterfall.

img_2038 Jungle theme here and there.

img_2052 Elegant staircase.

img_2024 I went into the bar with a friend and it was spectacular starting with this spiral staircase.

img_2027 The bar seen from up above via that staircase.

 

img_2040 I bet this room is lovely at night but it wasn’t bad in the daytime with fall outside the window.

img_2029 My only disappointment was my drink. This is not tea but a cocktail. I almost sent it back to tell the truth. I should have ordered a plain and simple cosmopolitan.

Around Concorde

Place de la Concorde is a huge area. I’m not in that part of Paris too often but got out the other day before rain was expected to take a few photos and explore.

img_1993 The Crillon Hotel is still under going renovation but covered with nice paintings to hide anything unsightly.

img_1995 I saw these in a store window selling expensive clothing. I wonder if I will ever see someone wearing a pair on the street?

img_1996 La Madeleine Church. They have a lot of concerts there.

img_2001 Place de la Concorde with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

img_2009 Autumn in the Tuleries Garden.

img_2014 I saw a photo something  like this on Instagram and tried it myself by putting my iPhone on the ground and leaning over to take the photo. It’s neat to see the leaves up close I think.

Incredible

I was recently at the Louis Vuitton Foundation where a new exhibit has been set up showing 130 works of art once collected by Russian Visionary Sergei Shchukin and placed in his palace where they covered the walls. He was a Russian textile merchant and his paintings were considered one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.  He amassed over 250 works of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in his lifetime. The exhibit is mostly impressionists on display along with a few others such as Picasso (34 of his works) and Cezanne who did not consider himself one, so you can see Monet, Degas, Van Gogh and more. He was an acquaintance of Matisse who introduced him to Picasso about whom Shchukin said he did not understand and is quoted as saying, “I’m sure he is right, and not me”. Matisse was also brought to Shchukin’s palace in Moscow to help decorate it in 1911. During Stalin’s reign and the Russian Revolution his art work was seized and placed in three museums (he and his family ended up in France) and this is the first time the paintings have left Russia in 100 years. As you might imagine, there was a huge insurance premium and although the Orsay Museum would probably make more sense for these paintings, the Louis Vuitton Foundation was the only museum who could afford to pay it. They hired their own guards too.

 

img_2212 Here’s a look at the museum as you approach, designed by Gehry, an American. It usually is plain glass but the coloured panels are a temporary art exhibit by Daniel Buren who also did the black and white striped columns at Palais Royal. It looks like Noah’s Ark to me in shape. A quote on Gehry’s building: “Your first instinct, when you see an extraordinary new building that looks like nothing you have ever seen before, is to try to understand it by connecting it to what you know. And so Frank Gehry’s new Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris, looks like sails, and it looks like a boat, and it looks like a whale, and it looks like a crystal palace that is in the middle of an explosion.” Some said it looked like a space ship. When you bring an engineer or an architect to see it, they are amazed at the construction. It is incredible to go to the top level and see how the glass panels are held up or to the side.

img_2239 The side of the building. The building is on the edge of the Bois du Boulogne, an enormous forest near the Champs Elysees. It is next to the children’s garden. This location kept the powers that be in Paris from interfering too much in the design. the colored squares and rectangles by Buren can be seen close up.  Buren is known best for using regular, contrasting colored stripes as you can see here. He used twelve hues of colors.

img_2231 A light installation from the artist Olafur Eliasson lines the lower level “grotto”.

img_2221 I loved the set up of the museum with these arches in one room and the dark gray paint. The rooms were very roomy, not small and cramped like some museums and even with large numbers of people roaming around, it was easy to look at the paintings.

img_2222 I can’t remember the artist for this painting. I just liked the view of la Madeleine and a look at the horse drawn cabs in the street. Also notice that black smoke billowing in the distance. I’ve read that in this age of coal burning energy sources, women often wore coats over their dressing to protect them from coal dust in the air. I imagine it wasn’t good for your lungs either.

img_2225 Taken from the side and not cropped but look at the lovely light. By Monet.

img_2226 I believe this is by Monet too and everyone is dressed-no naked ladies.

If you come to Paris and want to see this exhibit, be sure and order your tickets online and print them out as the line to buy them in person  can be up to an hour long.

 

Canal Saint Martin

The last time I visited the Canal Saint Martin it had been drained of water and cleaned so it was nice to see it full again, especially with blue skies and sun. There are often gray days in Paris in the Autumn so nice weather is really appreciated.

img_1973 There are pedestrian bridges over the canal, curved so boats can go underneath.

img_1974 Nice architecture on either side of the canal.

img_1977 Smooth water reflecting a blue sky.

img_1991 One of the boats that do tours up the canal. In this case, the road opens to let the boat through-you can see it on the left.

img_1978 The shabby chic bar/restaurant, le Comptoir General, is there for a drink and some cuban music.

Mostly People

This could be called This and That but I was trying for a change. I was in the Left Bank area on this day which started out with sun but ended with rain.

img_1962 A favorite lamp post.

img_1958 A sweet little girl with a cute hairdo.

img_1942 An elegantly dressed French woman with phone and cigarette-very typical in Paris.

img_1939 I don’t know the story on this guy. I’m pretty sure I saw him on the metro a couple of years ago wearing a huge pair of glasses. I guess he likes being looked at.

img_1968 There was a very heavy rain but with a bit of sun to brighten the Saint Germain des Res church.

img_1970 Sunlight and rain can make for dramatic light in a city.