November 9, 2012

Art Exhibitions in Paris Not to Miss this Winter

If you’ve got a real passion for art, booking a cheap hostel in Paris is an obvious choice for a cultural holiday. While the city is packed with galleries and is constantly hosting exciting exhibitions, this winter is looking to be a particularly great time to come and soak up some of the local art scene.

The upcoming events include major exhibitions of international artists’ work, as well as some showcases of French greats. To give you a balanced look at what you can expect, I’ve divided my personal favourites of the city’s winter art calendar into those two categories.

International Art

Let’s start with the international artists. Now, I’m not going to claim to be an expert when it comes to art, but I do know what I like – and I like Edward Hopper. This American artist is famous for his haunting paintings of urban scenes (Nighthawks is probably his best-known).

This winter, the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais are staging a chronological retrospective of his work, which, as well as showcasing some of his most moving pieces, aims to demonstrate the range of his expression. If I could jet off to Paris this winter (unlikely, unfortunately!), this is definitely one exhibition I wouldn’t miss. It runs until January 28th 2013, so catch it if you can.

Another really interesting option is two exhibitions of Paul Graham’s photography, which are taking place at Le Bal – Espace d’exposition until December 9th 2012. These two collections look at very different worlds, which is part of what makes the prospect of a visit here so intriguing.

The first, ‘Beyond Caring’, looks at Britain under Thatcher. This series of shots was taken in social services waiting rooms and is characterised by strange angles – something that stems from the fact photography was banned here, so often images had to be snapped in secret. The shots capture the frustration and unrest of the period.

‘The Present’, meanwhile, sees Graham hit the streets of New York to look at the modern era through a lens – a huge contrast to the world of 1980s Britain.

French art

Considering you’ll be in Paris, it’d be shame not to see some French art while you’re here. As luck would have it, this winter the city will host an exhibition dedicated to one of its most famous artists – Villemont.

Whether you know the name or not, you’ll definitely recognise his work. Famous for his colourful, distinctive posters and advertisements, Villemont began his prolific career back in the 1930s and, impressively, he produced works all the way up till the 1980s.

An exhibition of more than 100 posters is being held at the Bibliotheque Forney until January 5th 2013, so it’s well worth seeing it this winter before it disappears.

The final Parisian exhibition on my wish list for this winter is L’Art en guerre, France 1938 – 1947. Being held at the Musee d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris until February 17th 2013, this collection looks at how the artistic community coped during the second world war – more specifically, during the occupation of France.

Throughout this period, artists were suppressed and, at times, even subjected to violence. Today, you can see more than 400 works – including paintings and photographs – by approximately 100 French artists produced at the time. Among the names you might recognise are Chagall and Picasso.