Destination: Art.

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Do I ever shop for clothes in Paris? Actually, only very rarely, once some cardinal pink socks in the tiniest sock shop with the handsomest of sock shop owners on Boulevard Haussmann, because I hadn’t dared to in Rome, at a shop specialized in dressing nuns and priests, as well as bishops and cardinals, like first floor brands and couture brands at the floors way up, I thought it would be blasphemy to buy stuff for the clergy when you’re, well, not part of the clergy, Fellini’s fashion ideas for nuns now come to mind, anyway, some shirts at Charvet, but other than that I have always come to Paris rather for the exhibitions than for new collections, Picasso et les maîtres at the Grand Palais, Picasso’s pictures of his wife Olga at the Picasso museum, Cy Twombly at Centre Pompidou, Modigliani at some musée (des arts modernes?) close to the Madeleine, totally forgot its name but recall how hot it was that day, Balenciaga at Musée Bourdelle and so on and on, catalogues have been schlepped afterwards all through town, forcing me to have even more coffees to recover and reflect on what I just saw. Perfect combination, art and Paris! Absolutely wonderful. But then there’s Winterthur, Stuttgart and Coblenz, Max Liebermann in Winterthur, Oskar Schlemmer in Stuttgart, Edgar Degas in Coblenz, great art, for some odd reasons displayed at places that nobody ever wants to go to. Horrid experiences, once you have left the museum you have to schlepp your catalogue through provincial uglyness, you’re lost in the architectural equivalent of Nescafé with condensed milk. This year, I was spared such agony: Emily has sent me catalogues from London. Russian art after the revolution at the Royal Academy of Arts, Balenciaga at the V&A and just a few days ago Matisse in the studio, also at the Royal Academy of Arts. Splendid exhibitions, all of them. So glad I didn’t have to travel to London this year. Who would need that?

One thought on “Destination: Art.

  1. Once again I’m honoured to be mentioned on this wonderful blog in such a beautifully written piece. My regret though is that I made your trip to London unnecessary when we would have had the best time. There is even a Goyard! Back in 2001, my mother and I spent several weeks in Paris, visiting a different exhibition every day – Signac, Italian realism, Nicholas de Staël etc. And for every time exhibition, we bought a catalogue and also went art book shopping at places like the Louvre. Our suitcase weighed almost 30 kilos when we had to return home, I had to flirt with customs so they didn’t ask me to lift and open the case and schlepping it nearly killed me. But as you’ve shown, great art is worth it!

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