morning with Picasso

I first visited Picasso in Paris ten years ago, stopping to admire the 17th-century mansion known as the Hôtel Salé, on one of my many walks around the Marais. I remember thinking what a shame that so much of his personal work was in storage, as there was scant wall space to display the artwork. Little did I know I would end up living just a stone’s throw from this artist’s legacy, but with only the garden open for viewing. As anyone who is a fan of Picasso’s work knows, the Musée Picasso has been closed for the last 5 years (3 years longer than expected), undergoing extensive renovations.

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On Friday morning, October 24th, one day shy of Picasso’s birthday and the official opening, I was invited inside the newly renovated museum, now three times the size and much more impressive.

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I walked around the five floors in awe of the renewed space which now boasts over 400 of Picasso’s paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as works from his personal collection.

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Musée Picasso plans to host one major exhibit each year. Next year, in collaboration with New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, it will be a show revolving around Picasso’s sculpture. Until then, I plan to spend many a Paris morning with Picasso.

Auvers-sur-Oise

This past spring when my mom came to visit, I thought about where to bring her. Last year we had explored Chantilly, and while it would have been a lovely time of year to visit Giverny, I opted to be more creative and we ventured to Auvers-sur-Oise. This commune, only about 27 kilometers northwest of Paris, was once home to the Impressionists. More specifically, Paul Cézanne, Charles-François Daubigny, Camille Pissarro, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and, Vincent van Gogh.

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IMG_1742This was a trip into Van Gogh’s life. It was incredible to be amidst the church that he once painted.

IMG_1744It is here that he rests alongside his brother Theo, who passed away only 6 months after Vincent.

IMG_1750The next stop was Château d’Auvers where we discovered a most insightful interactive journey into the lives of the Impressionists. A unique experience! Not to mention the breathtaking gardens…

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As the sun was setting we walked the length of the estate, reflecting on years long gone.

IMG_1820It was time to bid farewell to Auvers-sur-Oise. Like the artists before us, we headed back to Paris.

a work of art

My ideal holiday includes good art and gourmet food. Simple, no? When we decided to embark on adventures in the Basque Country, I knew there would be plenty of both. Our first stop on this whirlwind weekend away was Bilbao, which means the Guggenheim. I had dreamed of visiting this Frank Gehry masterpiece since it’s inauguration in 1997. Finally, it was time.

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I was in awe as we reached the museum, it’s scale-like facade illuminated beneath a cloudy sky.

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Every angle of the grand edifice uniquely reflecting the light.

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Anish Kapoor’s impressive Tall Tree & The Eye standing tall, and observing keenly.

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Jeff Koons’ Tulips filled the outdoor space with color.

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Throughout the day, as the light changed, so too did the reflections.

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One of the most interesting pieces was Louise Bourgeois’ Maman, a larger than life spider.

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What made me the happiest was Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time, a permanent installation of eight sculptures by this artist whose work I have admired for years. What luck to find him in Bilbao!

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Ernesto Neto, a Brazilian artist, was new to me. I enjoyed experiencing his work, quite literally.

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Yoko Ono too, was a featured artist, along with her wishing tree. Yes, we made a few wishes!

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We spent most of the day within and around this museum, itself a work of art. Unforgettable.

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But it was now time for San Sebastián, or Donostia to the locals. The beach and pinxtos awaited…

art{ist} collecting

These days, while I visit Paris museums and galleries, admiring the masters, I’m also on the hunt for art and artists with which to decorate my home. During my around the world travels, it was often undiscovered artists that caught my eye, a lacquer painting by a local artist from the village of Hoi An in Vietnam (see below), or a Chilean artist whose work I became enamored with in Santiago. And then there was the Brazilian sculptor  in Olinda… and thus began my art collection.

art from Hoi AnSince I don’t currently travel to these remote lands, I search online. Most recently I discovered incredible abstract drawings by artists from around the world, from a favorite London based gallery, Saatchi! Not to mention paintings by talented emerging artists. A few of my favorites…

nr 185:2 by Hennie Van De Landenr 185/2 by Henni Van de Lande of Breda, Netherlands

Lovers by Jarek Puczel Lovers by Jarek Puczel of Olsztyn, Poland

abstract N 632 [emerald green] by Koen Lybaertabstract N° 632 [emerald green] by Koen Lybaert of Geel, Antwerp, Belgium

Through the international site Etsy, I’ve also discovered two artists whose work I admire, one of them a Danish girl living in Paris, and the other a Dutch artist based in Rotterdam.

ArtyGryParisSpringtime by Rikke Clausen of Copenhagen, Denmark

Ronald HunterBlue and White Buildings by Ronald Hunter of Rotterdam, Netherlands

The only problem now remains, which artist to add to my collection?

curating inspiration

As anyone in Paris is well aware, given the amount of fashion forward (and fashion faux pas) walking the streets of Paris these days, it’s Fashion Week. Rather than attending crowded shows to catch a glimpse of new trends that are often only seen on the catwalk, I chose a more inspired path. Friday night was the opening of the Dries Van Noten exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. I was lucky enough to join Anne of Ritournelle Blog, along with the who’s who of fashion, including Dries himself! This is the Belgian fashion icon’s first solo exhibition, aptly titled Inspirations. Not merely a fashion exhibition, but a look into the mind of a designer through art, imagination and creativity.

IMG_7217The starting point of a collection can be either very literal or abstract, a painting, a certain colour, a thought, a gesture, a smell, a flower, anything really. What matters to me is the journey from that first flash of inspiration to the final destination, the individual garments, the collection.

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I was impressed and inspired by this in-depth look into the mind of an artist. Here’s what Suzy Menkes of the International New York Times had to say, along with a video tour with Dries himself. This exhibition, which took 2 years to mount, will be on display until August 31st. Well worth a visit for anyone with creative sensibilities and a love for fashion, art & travel. Worth even a trip to Paris!

expressive art

What is a trip to New York City without a visit to one of the many impressive museums or galleries? Since my Italian had never been to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, and one of my favorite spaces, the Guggenheim Museum, there we spent a chilly but inspired afternoon.

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Just in time to catch the last days of the Christopher Wool exhibition.

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Wool, an artist from Chicago who began his career in NYC in the 1980’s, developed an art style that used language as his subject matter. A fan of his work, I found these pieces most thought provoking.

IMG_4917Rendering a word or phrase in bold, blocky stencils arrayed across a geometric grid, he preserved the specific form and order of the language, but freely stripped out punctuation, disrupted conventional spacing, and removed letters.

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The resulting compositions oscillate between verbal communication & pure formalism, with their structural dissonance reflecting the state of anxiety & agitation conjured by the texts themselves.

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IMG_4844Next stop for Wool, the Pompidou? I can think of a few French words and expressions…

New York minutes

This year we decided to brave the cold and ring in the early days of 2014 at home in New York City.

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What good it does me to walk these streets, feel the energy, catch up with the lives of dear friends…

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As cold as it was, with a blizzard on the way, we loved sharing these minutes with New York.

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The Freedom Tower standing tall.

Pop Art bag goes to NYC

And art around every corner. Next stop the Guggenheim…

the happy show

Often I question, what is happiness? Is it something we can control? For me, happiness can be as simple as sitting along the banks of the Seine, watching the sun set behind Notre Dame. Equally, cruising around the spectacular Greek island of Milos on a catamaran beneath a clear blue sky, or floating in a hot air balloon above the natural wonder that is called Cappodocia. Both of these memories elicit great happiness. Come to think of it, almost anything related to travel, beauty, love (or nearly anything sweet), brings me happiness. I recently read an article that shed a little light.

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When I discovered an exhibition based on this very topic, I couldn’t wait to go. Stefan Sagmeister is creator of The Happy Show, a study of happiness, a topic that has long intriqued him and led him on his happiness hunt. This Austrian-born graphic artist, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in New York City, asks “Is happiness a muscle just like any other?”

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The first question, what makes us happy? (Genetics, Activites & Life Conditions)

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IMG_5727How happy are you on a scale of 1-10? Looks like the gumballs are almost gone in #9.

IMG_4812What makes us unhappy? “Trying to look good limits my life”

IMG_5743It has been proven that taking risks increases happiness. I agree!

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My Italian and I attended the opening of the expo and were very happy to speak with Stefan about his studies on happiness and what inspired him to put together the show, as well as the film he’s working on. For those interested, here are 7 rules for making more happiness from Stefan.

The Happy Show is making it’s way around the world, from Philadelphia to Toronto to Los Angeles and now in Paris at La Gaîté Lyrique. Will the exhibition itself make you happy? You can bet on it.

art in the park

Traveling from Paris to London via Eurostar takes just as much time as traveling from New York City to my home in Westhampton Beach via LIRR. With a commute of just over 2 hours, whenever London calls, I answer. My latest chunnel journey was in search of fabrics. While in Londontown there was much going on in the art world (good timing!). In addition to a Paul Klee exhibition at the Tate Modern, followed by a chance Paul McCartney concert in Covent Garden (have I mentioned that timing is everything?), one of my highlights was an afternoon spent at the Frieze Masters.

IMG_2509Many great works to be found within the tents of Regent’s Park.

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Some of the most interesting artworks I discovered in the park itself. Looks like fabric!

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This piece reminded me of Richard Serra, whom I adore.

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Was most impressed by this larger than life face, changing as you moved around it.

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Reflecting on the artful day.

IMG_2559To accompany the art tour, the sun shone brightly. A perfect day in the park.

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for the ladies

What makes a perfect ladies night? How about champagne, macarons, nude men and good friends? That’s exactly the ladies night I just had the pleasure of indulging in. Following a Girls Guide to Paris soirée to launch their new magazine, I met girlfriends at the Musee d’Orsay. That’s where we found the nude men. Did I neglect to mention they were sculpted?

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Rarely in history has the male nude, the basis of Academic art training, been displayed the way the beauty of the nude woman has, and still is. The Musee d’Orsay decided to change this by curating the exhibition, Masculine / Masculine. Their aim is to take an “interpretive, playful, sociological and philosophical approach to exploring all aspects and meanings of the male nude in art.”

IMG_1981And how pleased are we women? And quite a fair share of men too.

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What most impressed me was the variety of artworks in view.

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From Rodin to Bacon, Warhol, Pierre et Gilles, Cocteau, Flandrin and many more masters.

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There was certainly a fair share of ogling by eager onlookers, but well worth braving the crowds.

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And worth snapping a few photos, even though it was forbidden. Shhhh!

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If you are in Paris, grab your girlfriends (or go solo) and head to the Orsay!

Exhibition ends January 2nd.