Paris has a plethora of terrific art exhibitions this summer including the centennial of sculptor Auguste Rodin, portraits by Cezanne and a Walker Evans retrospective.
However two standout shows move to the top of our list, one about an iconic fashion brand and the other about a celebrated contemporary artist who turns 80 this year.
A smash hit in New York and London, a David Hockney retrospective arrived in Paris in June. A true retrospective, as Hockney is still very much alive and still creating new works, it spans six decades with over 160 works. It includes Hockney’s most recognized images including photographs, engravings, video installations, drawings, printed works and of course paintings of familiar themes of swimming pools, double portraits and monumental landscapes.
Hockney attended university in his native Bradford, England, and his early paintings reflect the gritty industrial England he grew up in. He later studied Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Art College in London. Moving to Los Angeles in 1964 he embarked on one of his most prolific periods, painting the sunny landscapes and carefree West Coast lifestyle of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1997, he moved back to Bradford to newly capture his beginnings.
Hockney has heavily relied on technology for his creations over the years, starting with the computer and the iPhone. In his most recent pieces he has used the iPad to draw sophisticated drawings.
Till October 23, 2017
Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004
Christian Dior, Couturier du Reve
One of the greatest couturiers and fashion designers of the 20th century, Christian Dior, is having a grand fete for the 70th anniversary of the eponymous fashion house. The massive show taking over the entire 30,000 square foot exhibition space of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is the first to show the entire 70-year history of the brand and all of the subsequent designers after Christian Dior, who died at 52 in 1957.
A fact rarely known is that Christian Dior didn’t start out as a fashion designer; in fact, he had a great eye for antiques, objets, paintings and photographs and ran a successful gallery between 1928 and 1934. After closing the gallery, Dior worked as a fashion designer for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong, learning his craft. In 1947 he opened is own couture house with financing from the richest man in France, Marcel Boussac. His first collection in 1947 was coined The New Look by Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, which expressed a whole new feminine look like no other before with cinched waists, soft shoulders and accentuated bust line. Although the revolutionary collection was controversial, Dior became the toast of the town and raised Paris back to center of the fashion world.
After Dior passed away in 1957, the house ushered in a series of six designers: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and today’s director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. The exhibition traces the evolution of the brand with each impending designer giving their own signature to the house while retaining its roots.
Till January 7, 2018
Both exhibits have long lines for sure, so make sure to purchase your ticket online or in advance.