Posts Tagged ‘Musee Granet’

Lots going on. Even if these events are not to your taste, it’s worth knowing about them so you can steer clear of traffic and crowds if need be!  We once set off for Arles and met police road-blocks – we hadn’t realised there was a feria taking place: not the best day for a peaceful walk around the old town!  Here are some events to enjoy or avoid as the mood takes you… (more…)

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Details of next year’s big summer exhibition at Aix’s Musée Granet have been announced.

‘Cézanne et la Modernité’ will bring 50 works from the Pearlman Collection to town 11th July – 5th October.  These pictures will include watercolours by Cézanne as well as impressionist and post-impressionist paintings from the collection.

Henry Pearlman was a New York businessman with a passion for art – he and his wife built up a formidable collectionfountain by cezanne of 19th and 20th century pictures.  Since his death in 1974, the paintings have been kept at Princeton University.  They are going on tour in 2014, first to the Ashmolean in Oxford, then Aix, followed by Atlanta and Vancouver.  You can read more here: http://www.pearlmancollection.org/about

This watercolour from the collection by Cezanne is intriguing.  I wondered why he never painted urban scenes of Aix itself…but here is one!  It shows the fountain in the place d’Hotel de Ville.  I hope this is included in the forthcoming exhibition.

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A quick post in the midst of packing to get back to France – today’s BA flight was cancelled thanks to the air traffic controllers’ strike – so hopefully will get to Aix tomorrow…where there’s a lot happening this coming week.

I’m looking forward to the opening of Le Grand Atelier du Midi exhibition at the musée Granet on the 13th, especially having read the fun and games they had trying to get a very large canvas from Marseille into the museum.   picture3

Firstly they had to winch it off a lorry on the peripherique and roll it along rue d’Italie on specially-laid hardboard. (more…)

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To celebrate its lovely new space at the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs, the Musée Granet is offering free entry all weekend to see the 120 works donated by Jean and Suzanne Planque.




I have to say that when I visited the collection in 2011, I wasn’t inspired by the paintings.  (more…)

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Back in Provence – but where is the spring? Certainly not outside our apartment right now but if you want to get out of the cold, the local cinemas have their ‘Printemps du Cinema’ offer which lasts until Tuesday – all seats are 3,50€.

The Cirque du Soleil is in town bringing some warmth and colour – well virtually speaking. A special 3D film has been put together by James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) and Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Narnia) and will be shown at the Cézanne on Thursday 21st March at 20:00 and Saturday 23rd at 14:00. If it is anything like the live show, it will be thrilling.

If you would like a taste of the major expo at the Musée Granet which starts June 13th (don’t forget to book tickets online….), curator Bruno Ely is giving a talk: ‘De Cézanne à Matisse’, is on Thursday 21st, at 18:00, at the IEP, 25 rue Gaston de Saporta. 6€.

tropezienneI have had two surprises since I returned to France. Firstly the very welcome opening of ‘La Tarte Tropézienne’, a new Aix branch of a chain of cafés dedicated to the eponymous tart. It was first created in St Trop by Alexandre Micka, a Polish soldier who came ashore with the liberating armies. He had his grand-mother’s recipe and started his business in the town. The recipe is still supposedly secret, but the cake is basically a mouth-watering sandwich of sponge and crème pâtissière. The café also offers salads, light meals and drinks. It’s at 3 ave des Belges (just down from the tourist office, same side of the road) and is open 06:30-20:30.


My second surprise was this much-photographed atlante in the cours Mirabeau which now has squatters!

These pigeons have found a cosy nook on his shoulder to make a nest and raise their family.  

Well it is…. just about…. spring!

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What does this picture suggest to you?  It is the image on the poster advertising the expo ‘Les Bouches du Rhône – Agnes Varda’, currently showing at ‘Galerie d’Art du Conseil General’ which is just down from Monoprix. Varda is a distinguished film-maker with a long record of success in the cinema, but I didn’t know that she is also a photographer.

I thought that the image above  was just a surrealistic notion until it was explained, when I got inside, that it represents Les Bouches du Rhône!  Of course!  The exhibition plays with place names in this manner with a series of photos taken around Marseille and also includes film recreating photos.  It’s only a small exhibition but if you are in town, very well worth a visit.  Free.  Until 17th March.  9.30-13, 14-18:00hrs.  Closed Mondays.

While on the subject of the Rhône, if you missed the wonderful exhibition of ‘César et les secrets du Rhone’ which was on in Arles and then in the Louvre, all the exhibits can be seen at the Archives et Bibliotheque Departementales Gaston-Deferre

It is a truly moving moment to see these objects which have been raised from the river bed, now on view for the first time in over 2000 years.  Since their initial showing, questions have been raised as to the identity of this bust.  Is it really Caesar?  Maybe we will never know.  But it is a wonderful sculpture of a Roman aristocrat in his middle years showing the cares of life all those centuries ago.  Until 24th March.

In Aix this Sunday remember that the Musée Granet is free on Sunday so you can catch up with the new expo ‘Cadavre Exquis’ which is, shall we say, different – plus there’s the book market in the Place de l’Hotel de Ville where you can browse amongst lots of out-of-print books.  For cycling fans, the season that will bring the Tour de France to Aix (July 4th), there is La Ronde d’Aix taking place in town.  Amateurs start at the Rotonde at 13:15 followed by the professionals at 14:30 or 50 depending on which paper you read!

And finally……….if you want some exercise rather than watching others racing around, there’s the new issue of En Balade.IMG_4719  This time they have given details of hikes themed around famous local writers and painters.  I’m particularly drawn to the ‘hike’ around Lourmarin with a Camus theme – 1.15hrs, completely flat and officially ‘facile’  Sounds good to me!

En Balade is 2.80 at kiosks and a mine of information.

Have an excellent weekend!

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There seems to be plenty happening at the moment.

giselle1‘Giselle’ danced by the Ballet de Perm promises to be lovely.  It’s on at the Grand Theatre de Provence on the 29th, 30th and 31st at 20:30.  Tickets 10-42€.  I think the cheap ones are not advisable as the seats are very high up and rather vertiginous. More for ballet-lovers – there is the Bolshoi ballet’s ‘La Bayadère’ at the Cézanne tomorrow at 16:00.

If you want tickets for the Festival d’Aix, they go on sale on January 28th at mid-day on www.festival-aix.com.  Alternatively they can be booked on the 30th from 17:30-23:00 on 08 20 922 923.

While on the subject of tickets, if you are planning to visit one or both of the blockbuster art shows this summer which are bracketed together as ‘Le Grand Atelier de Midi’, you can now make reservations.  ‘De Cezanne à Matisse’ is at the musée Granet and ‘De Van Gogh à Bonnard’ is showing in Marseille.  They both start on June 13th.  You can book on the MP2013 website or just drop in to the musée Granet where you can get tickets there and then.

The very controversial ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is currently showing at the Cézanne so I expect it is dubbed.  In VO at the moment we have ‘Django Unchained’ at the Renoir, ‘The Master’ at the Mazarin and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ at the Mazarin which has had great reviews and has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Director categories in the forthcoming Oscars.  Also loaded with nominations is ‘Lincoln’ in which Daniel Day Lewis seems to morph himself remarkably into the American President.  That starts on Wednesday and is at the Renoir.

A heads-up now on an event at Book In Bar – a little in advance but this will give you time to read some of Claire Keegan’s writing. She is a young Irish writer who has won an award for her short stories.  She will be reading and signing books at Book In Bar, rue Joseph Cabassol (the road opp Monoprix) at 11:00 on Saturday 9th February.  More about her here: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/author/claire-keegan

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, a little further afield, a new expo  ‘Signac Hommage à Françoise Cachin’, at l’Annonciade in St Tropez.  This is one of my favourite galleries ever.  It’s in a converted chapel, right on the quay-side and their permanent collection has paintings by artists who were working either in the town or in the surrounding countryside.  There are some fantastic works and you are normally alone to enjoy them!  Signac was one of the first artists to moor up there – he was a keen sailor – and this expo shows the private collection of his family.  Françoise Cachin is actually his grand-daughter who became the head of the Musée d’Orsay then Directeur des Musées de France.  Nice work if you can get it.  It’s on til 11th March – see www.amis-annonciade.fr.



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No excuse for being bored! 

Saturday 13th October sees the opening of a new exhibition at the Musée Granet, ‘La Montagne Blanche’.  Photographer Bernard Plossu has spent much time walking around and up the Sainte-Victoire, a mountain he loves, and the exhibition will show 107 of his pictures.  In parallel, the Vieille Charité will have an expo of 230 photos of Marseille, taken over the past 15 years.  It must be a challenge finding new angles for both these subjects so it will be interesting to see what M. Plossu has produced.

While on the subject of our famous local mountain, the Maison de Ste-Victoire launches its expo on the Priory tomorrow.  It was a shock to me when I first climbed up there to find an entire church!  Apparently it dates from the 17th century and was renovated fairly recently.  Poor workmen. It’s bad enough hauling a rucksack up there. 

Now, I have read about this new show in the local press but can’t find any confirmation online.  The Maison de Ste-Victoire is at Saint-Antonin and is a beautiful place to sit and have a coffee.  It’s open daily 10-18:00hrs.  Aixcentric will investigate!

If you are interested in local history, the Académie d’Aix is holding a study day on Saturday at the Cité du Livre, with their eminent members giving half-hour talks on different aspects of life in town 1900-1912.  It’s to launch ‘Aix au Temps de Paul Arbaud’, a new book celebrating the life of the collector and academician.  9:30-17:00hrs. Free.  Thanks to Simone for this info.

If you prefer to get out of town and enjoy the countryside, check out the new issue of  ‘En Balade’ which has just hit the news-stands. This has lots of ideas for outings including 10 hikes, each accompanied by tips on where to eat and where to stay.

The destinations featured for weekends away in this issue are Avignon and Hyeres.

And finally…….the Fête de la Courge takes place this weekend in Rians.  It’s great fun.  I had no idea that courges came in so many different shapes, sizes and colours. Don’t miss the competitions for the heaviest/strangest-shaped courge. Lots of stalls – Rians is very much en fête for this event – well worth a visit.  Easy parking in a big nearby field.  http://www.fetedelacourge-rians.fr/ This website has details, recipes and information on all the different types of courge!  Thanks to Nasse for this tip.



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Today I went along to see this exhibition, never having heard of Henri Dobler and I came out rather liking him: after all we have him to thank for leaving his Pavillon de Vendôme to the town of Aix when he and his wife died.

He was from a very rich Swiss family who had moved to Marseille where he was born in 1863. After some years in military service, he and his wife acquired the pavillon in Aix as their ‘dream house’.  With money no object, Henri set about renovating the house (it was a run-down convent school) and furnishing it with Provençal pieces from all periods.  He also restored the gardens, using the 1680 plans for its original owner, the Duc de Vendôme, Governor of Provence, cardinal of the Catholic church, and secret lover of one of the town’s most beautiful women.

The organisers of this expo have redecorated the pavillon just as it was during Henri’s lifetime.  His home had been featured in ‘Vie à la Campagne’ – the 1929 version of Ideal Home – so we know how it looked.  I have always found this building rather empty and impersonal, so it is good to experience it with colourful wallpaper and curtains and furnishings…it really is like stepping into the Dobler home during the 20s and 30s.

Henri was also a painter, a poet, a musician, a writer, a collector and a decorator. He seems to have been on every cultural committee in Aix including the Musée Granet which is where the story gets fascinating.  It emerges that he really disliked Cézanne’s work. He was opposed to ‘la sale peinture’ as he called it and was part of the group that blocked the Granet acquiring any of Cézanne’s paintings!  He said that he detested that style of painting and ‘l’avenir, je l’espere, jugera’.  Indeed!

Upstairs we can judge Henri’s watercolours and I think Cézanne can relax.  But there is also a room of small paintings by contemporary Aix artists – Niollon, Gautier, Ravaisou, de Courcy – some of which are lovely. (Sorry –  No photos allowed)

The gardens are looking particularly nice right now with late summer flowers. So ‘Chapeau Henri’ for all the good work but perhaps one could wish his interventions at the Musée Granet had been a little less musclé!

Pavillon de Vendôme
13 rue de la Molle – 32, rue Célony
Tél : 04 42 91 88 75 / Rendez-vous animation : 04 42 91 88 74
Garden open all year.  House closed Tuesdays.  Wed-Mon: 10-12:30, 13:30-18:00hrs. Guided tours of this exhibition on Fridays at 10:30 and 14:30.

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Masterpieces from the Museum Frieder Burda are being shown for the first time in France at the Musée Granet until  September 30th. Frieder Burda is a scion of the German publishing family and has been collecting art since the sixties.  His father had already amassed a number of works by German expressionists in the family home and his son has built on this, establishing a museum in Baden-Baden.

The exhibition starts with those German expressionists such as Kirchner, Macke or Beckmann.  There is a lovely colourful painting by Macke  (see illustration) one of my favourites in the show – but the others for me are very clunky and heavy on black lines.  (Photo: Musée Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden)

The next room has a presentation of 7 large-format works by Picasso, dating from his last period (between 1960 and 1972), a bronze of a joyful child.  (Photo: L’Express)

Then there are paintings by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz and  American painters Jackson Pollock, de Kooning, Mark Rothko etc who Frieder Burda encountered while staying in the US.

The exhibition concludes with a series of work of young artists with works by German artists such as Tim Eitel, Anton Hennig and Neo Rauch.

Verdict?  Depends on your taste of course but with such an eclectic collection there will be something for most visitors.  I’d certainly like to find a home for Pollock’s Composition no 16 a harmony of restrained colours, lines and golden splashes.

Plus there’s a chance to meet Burda this month in Aix. He will be interviewed by M Bruno Ely, the curator of the musée Granet on Thursday 14th June at 18:00hrs.  At the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, 25 rue Gaston-de-Saporta.

More information on the expo at : www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr.


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