Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Having posted a new opening date for the Cézanne/Kandinsky show at Carrieres de Lumieres (May 1st), then listened to the French Prime Minister who could only forecast a general re-opening for mid May, I thought I’d check the Les Baux website and, sure enough, the ‘1st’ has been removed.

It really must be a nightmare for arts organisations right now who are managing in such uncertainty and with Covid numbers still high locally.

So here is my list of forthcoming shows which seem to be teed up, ready to roll with all possible safety-measures, just waiting for the signal ‘GO’.  (more…)

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The annual Rencontres d’Arles photography exhibition is taking place 4 July – 26 September, with some modifications: 10 sq m of space will be allocated to each potential visitor.  So they will be reviewing all their venues.  Fortunately they have the new arts complex, LUMA, to spread into, and will also be using gardens for exhibiting.  Actually part of the fun of visiting this sprawling summer show is exploring the venues, so this promises to be a positive and creative solution.

The Festival d’Aix (more…)

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The Cézanne / Kandinsky show at Les Baux has had its opening date postponed again. (more…)

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Ballet at the Granet

Here’s a little treat  while the Musee Granet is closed. Angelin Preljocaj has created a short dance sequence: 8 dancers from his company perform in the Meyer Gallery to the accompaniment of a Mozart sonata.  Five beautiful escapist minutes….


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Latest on David Hockney Expo in Aix


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Paul Signac’s painting of the town.

A recommended day out from Aix is Saint-Paul de Vence, one of my favourite villages in Provence: it could be a bit far to go right now under the circumstances, in which case keep this for your WTIAO list (When This Is All Over).  But if you are nearby, an off-season visit can be the perfect opportunity to walk the ramparts or the pretty streets to experience what inspired so many artists. (more…)

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The oldest chateau in Provence, the Chateau de la Barben, is set to re-open in June after a 30m euro overhaul by its new owner, Vianney d’Alencon. 


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Here’s a lovely start to the week with this fine portrait chosen by President Joe Biden to hang near his desk in the Oval Office.  It shows Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of the Founding Fathers of the US, painted by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis from Carpentras. (more…)

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Not Fair…

…for Aix teenagers and thrill-seekers.  The annual Foire aux Maneges at the Stade de Carcassonne which was supposed to be starting on February 13th has now been cancelled.

And planned events elsewhere have had to be put back: the Easter Feria in Arles has been rescheduled for 4-6 June, and the 2021 Cannes Film Festival will now start on July 6th.  How difficult it must be right now for events organisers…

But at least there is something opening that will gladden Aixois hearts – La Poste at the Rotonde. It’s been closed since October for general renovation and improvement of digital services. Re-opens Tuesday 2nd February at 14:00hrs.

Museum closed but visitors are enjoying new content online

In other news Marseille Provence Airport has had the thumbs up for their proposed expansion, a 22,000 sq m building which link the existing terminals to provide much more space for check-in desks, baggage handling, and commercial areas such as shopping and restaurants. Of course 2020 saw a dramatic drop in numbers, but the authorities expect a return to normal growth by 2023.

Also coping with the situation positively is Aix’s Musée Granet. It’s closed, but is welcoming about 1000 virtual visitors to their site where they have bite-sized films of various aspects of the current exhibition of Egyptian antiquities, narrated by curator-in-chief Bruno Ely; also proving popular are their activities for children – check both out here:  http://www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/visites-et-activites.html

And to end on a positive note, there’s good news from the Carmargue where the drop in tourist numbers has resulted in an increase in the population of flamingoes.

There are 1000 more than normal and they are all apparently breeding well in the calm conditions essential to their feelings of security. The nature park, Pont de Gau, near Saints-Maries-de-la-Mer, is also welcoming birds like the ibis falcinelle and other unusual visitors.

Some reasons to be cheerful…………

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Perhaps you have noticed that the bust of politician Victor Leydet is back on its plinth at the Place Jeanne d’Arc, next to the Rotonde?  It was put back there on 18th December, 110 years to the day from its inauguration.

So who was Victor Leydet and what is the story of this statue?

Born in Aix in 1845, he went to school at what is now the college Mignet before finding work as a shop assistant in town.  He was soon running a local business dealing in almonds, oils and drinks, and married Louise Lucie Ely, sister of well-known Aix photographer Henri Ely – their premises are still in the Passage Agard.  He became involved in politics becoming adjoint au maire d’Aix, conseiller général, député and sénateur in Paris.

Back in 1879, Leydet bought 40 rue Villeverte, now named rue Victor Leydet, where his descedants still live.

When he died in Paris in 1908, sculptor Auguste Carli was commissioned to create a monument to him in his home town. Unfortunately this was requisitioned in 1942 by the Vichy regime under orders from the Nazis who were seizing metals for use in armaments.  It was replaced in 1951 by a marble bust from the Leydet tomb at the cimetière Saint-Pierre.  After decades in place, this bust was moved in 2012 when the area around the Rotonde was renovated.

A new version in bronze has been created and that’s what we can see today.  There was no ceremony – that will have to wait until it’s safe to celebrate the statue and the life of Victor Leydet.  Thanks to Dympna for sending details and photos to Aixcentric.


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