From King Tut to the moon, five exhibits to see now in Paris

Benoit Tessier, REUTERS | A gold inlaid coffinette of Tutankhamun at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris on March 21, 2019.

A journey to the moon, a tour of King Tut’s tomb and an immersive display of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings are among the must-see exhibits in Paris right now.


The Moon

This show looks as eclectic as it does fun. With the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing fast approaching on July 20, an array of lunar-inspired works have been brought together under the Grand Palais’s magnificent glass-paned ceiling. Stretching from 1609 to the present day, the exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through space and time, illustrated by sketches, modernist paintings, images from the Apollo 11 mission, and contemporary installations.

The Moon at the Grand Palais runs from April 3 through July 22.

King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

A sculpture of 'Tutankhamun usurped by Horemheb' at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris on March 21, 2019.
A sculpture of 'Tutankhamun usurped by Horemheb' at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris on March 21, 2019. Stéphane De Sakutin, AFP

There was no way we could omit this exhibit – it’s the talk of the town. Perhaps because the famed pharaoh’s funerary finery is making its final world tour before  moving permanently to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which is currently under construction. Or because the show marks the centenary of the opening of King Tut's tomb. Or simply because it offers a rare glimpse at the gilded treasures that accompanied Tutankhamun from one world to the next. Whatever the reason, be sure to reserve your tickets for this popular (and pricey) event in advance.

King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Grande Halle de la Villette runs from March 23 through September 15.

Van Gogh

After the startling success of its opening exhibition on Gustav Klimt, the L'Atelier des Lumières is back with a new immersive experience, this time featuring Vincent Van Gogh. Just as they were in the Klimt show, digitized reproductions of the artist's works have been set to music and projected onto the walls and floor of the former foundry’s main hall, evoking an experience that one visitor described as something akin to an acid flashback. It’s a wondrous way to breathe fresh life into some of the artist’s most beloved – and well-known – paintings.

Van Gogh: Starry Night at L'Atelier des Lumières runs from February 22 through December 31.

Black Models

Felix Vallotton (1922)
Felix Vallotton (1922) SHK / Hamburger Kunsthalle / bpk. Foto : Elke Walford

We wrote about this show last month, but it bears a second mention here, if only because it attempts to take a more nuanced and inclusive look at ethnicity in art. Among the more than 300 works showcased are portraits of acclaimed French author Alexandre Dumas, who was of mixed race, and Jeanne Duval, a Haitian-born actress and dancer who was once described by poet Charles Baudelaire as his “black Venus”. Yet more often than not, the models depicted have been forgotten by history, their identities unknown. This exhibition seeks to right that wrong by celebrating their beauty and the masterpieces they inspired.

Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse at the Musée d’Orsay runs from March 26 through July 21.

UPCOMING: Sally Mann

Sally Mann (1989) 
Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff.
Sally Mann (1989) Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff. Sally Mann

In the first major retrospective of Sally Mann’s work, “A Thousand Crossings” examines her relationship with the American South – where she was born – through photographs taken over the course of her four-decade career. The exhibition opens with images of her children at the family summer home in Lexington, Virginia, during the 1980s. It then continues to depict landscapes and people from other parts of the South that Mann has visited over the years, capturing the poetic and sometimes haunting beauty of a region that has played such a pivotal role in shaping the history and culture of the United States.

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings at the Jeu de Paume runs from June 18 through September 22.

Other notable exhibitions:

Préhistoire: Une énigme moderne (“Prehistory: A Modern Enigma”) at the Centre Pompidou runs from May 8 through September 16.

Les Nabis et le Décor: Bonnard, Vuillard, Maurice Denis… (“The Nabis and Decor: Bonnard, Vuillard, Maurice Denis…”) at the Musée du Luxembourg runs from March 13 through June 30.

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