Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

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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Something to really look forward to at the Musée Granet this summer – guess whose work will be hitting town with a big splash! (more…)

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Just as cinemas, theaters, and museums were all preparing to reopen on December 15, yesterday, December 10, the government announced cultural places are to remain shut until January 7, 2021.  It must be so frustrating for them.  Curators have a difficult time with loans  and insurance and travel arrangements for works of art – I expect this is why Aix’s Hotel Caumont Centre d’Art has had to rearrange things completely: it has announced that it is postponing its next exhibition ‘Tresors de Venice – La Collection Cini’ to autumn 2021. (more…)

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Carrieres de Lumieres, the former quarry now centre for immersive art displays, has announced its theme for 2021, and it’s one that should prove popular with the Aixois… (more…)

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Happy Hour at MuCEM, Marseille

Fabulous, literally….the rooftop at MuCEM

During November and December, MuCEM’s new Happy Hour programme includes free admission to all exhibitions from 16:00-18:00.  This starts today and will last for the duration of the curfew.  It’s worth remembering that all the public museums in Marseille are free too, for the next 12 months.

Details here and worth a click to see the lovely photo of MuCEM, better than mine! https://www.mucem.org/le-mucem-en-mode-happy-hour

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Exhibitions Ending

Last Chance to See

Coming to an end…

Just a reminder that the beautiful works of Spanish impressionist Sorolla head out of town after November 1st.  Until then, daily at the Hotel Caumont, Aix.

And November 1st is also the end date at Fondation Carmignac, the stunning gallery on the island of Porquerolles.  As usual, the gallery closes during the winter months.  Background from a previous visit: https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/20/fondation-carmignac-at-porquerolles-not-to-be-missed/

Reservations and masks needed for both.

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Jas de Bouffan – News

As Aixcentric followers will know, the 18th century country house, Jas de Bouffan, which was home to the Cezanne family for 40 years, was closed over a year

Cezanne painted his home 36 times in oil, and 17 times with watercolour.

ago for renovation.  I went in for a last visit on its last day of opening and my goodness it needed renovation: think cold, damp, pieces of plaster hanging off the walls and ceilings.

It’s a sizable property, 450m2, with a farm, outbuildings, caretaker’s house, a large pond, an orangerie…all in 6 hectares of land, all inside the Aix city boundaries. Work started and was expected to take about 3 years, but of course Covid intervened, and work is just recommencing.  The new target date is 2023.  So what can we expect to see? (more…)

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Two Aix Galleries Go Egyptian

One hundred and fifty-three treasures from ancient Egypt have gone on show at Aix’s Musee Granet, many of which come from the town’s own collection.  During the 19th c, there was a fascination amongst travellers for all things Egyptian, and collectors include Granet himself and town mayor Francois Sallier. These have been carefully restored and are on show for the first time in 25 years. The exhibition also contains items from other museums including the Louvre.

Also included, a mummified ‘varan de Nil’ which even the Museum in Cairo doesn’t have, apparently. My dictionary couldn’t help me with this one but it turns out to be a monitor, or giant lizard.

There will be a tour in English on Saturday 3rd Oct, at 16:00hrs, given by Emilie from the Education Dept – she is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide.  Details: http://www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/en/activities/for-adults/guided-tours-for-individuals.html

For even more on ancient Egypt, head off down the cours Mirabeau to the departmental cultural space just down from Monoprix, to see 40 watercolours by Jean-Claude Golvin. He’s a specialist in recreating scenarios of ancient civilisations and works with the Musee de l’Arles Antique. I have long admired his recreations of Roman Aix which are imaginative reconstructions of what the town must have looked like.  At ’21bis Cours Mirabeau’, Wed-Suns 11:30-18:30. I have read it’s open until 11 October but could close/have closed sooner.  If you have info, please share!

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Next Show at Aix’s Hotel Caumont

Just announced, the next show at the Caumont Centre d’Art will be a display of (more…)

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