From Ancient Egypt to Gainsbourg and Picasso: The Paris exhibits to see in 2023
Paris is gearing up for a new year of must-see exhibits, from a rare chance to view the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses II to a Harry Potter “experience” or a deep dive into rival Impressionists Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas.
The Pablo Picasso museum will mark 50 years since the artist’s death while the Centre Pompidou will explore the literary influences that inspired Serge Gainsbourg’s music. Many of the exhibits this year are immersive experiences, as venues look for new and creative ways to approach the classics.
Serge Gainsbourg – Le mot exact (The perfect word)
The legendary French songwriter’s relationship to literature is explored in this exhibition at the Pompidou Centre’s public library. For the first time, manuscripts from Gainsbourg’s home on rue de Verneuil in Paris will be shown alongside books from his personal collection. Gainsbourg, who wrote more than 500 songs throughout his career, is considered one of France’s great wordsmiths and melodists, with lyrics that were deeply influenced by literature and poetry.
Serge Gainsbourg – Le mot exact at the Centre Pompidou runs from January 25 – May 8.
More than 200 photographs, videos, installations and archive materials will go on display in the first-ever French retrospective on internationally recognised South African photographer Zanele Muholi. Many of Muholi’s subjects have experienced discrimination, and the artist’s work is inseparable from their activism for the Black LGBTQIA+ community. Muholi emphasises individuality, beauty and humour in striking portraits that challenge stereotypes.
Zanele Muholi at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie runs from February 1 – May 21.
Chagall, Paris – New York
Marc Chagall’s paintings are set to come to life in this digital exhibition that blends projections, animation, music and narration. The immersive experience will explore the Russian artist’s relationship with two cities that profoundly influenced his life and art: Paris, the city where he chose to live, and New York, where the Russian Jewish artist spent seven years in exile from occupied France during World War II.
Chagall, Paris – New York at the Atelier des Lumières runs from February 17 – January 7, 2024.
Picasso Celebration, the collection takes on colour
To mark 50 years since Pablo Picasso’s death, his namesake museum in Paris has invited British designer Paul Smith to oversee a unique exhibition showcasing the museum’s permanent collection in a new light. With a focus on colour, visitors can expect to see a fresh take on well-known masterpieces from one of the 20th century’s most daring and prolific artists.
Picasso Celebration, the collection takes on colour at the Musée National Picasso-Paris runs from March 7 – August 27.
The stylised illustrations of Alphonse Mucha have come to define Art Nouveau and Paris’s Belle Époque period. The Czech artist was living in the French capital working as a poster desiger as he developed his signature style, celebrating natural forms and female beauty. This immersive exhibition will cover Mucha’s own story, his best-known works and his enduring influence.
Eternel Mucha at the Grand Palais Immersif runs from March 22 – November 5.
Manet / Degas
Contemporaries, friends and rivals Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas revolutionised painting in the late 1860s to 1880s by depicting daily life at cafes, theatres and racecourses. Although they had much in common, including an undeniable influence on the Impressionist movement, this exhibition explores how their differences in temperament and style impacted their creative work and careers.
Manet / Degas at the Musée d’Orsay runs from March 28 – July 23.
Basquait x Warhol, A quatre mains (With four hands)
Following on from its 2018 solo exhibition dedicated to American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Louis Vuitton Foundation has dedicated a second exhibition to his collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol. The pair worked on 160 canvasses together in the 1980s, marrying their disparate artistic styles and creative perspectives. Individual works by each artist will also be on display alongside others representing the downtown New York art scene of the era, including Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer and Michael Halsband.
Basquait x Warhol, A quatre mains at the Fondation Louis Vuitton runs from April 5 – August 28.
Ramsès et l’or des pharons (Ramesses and the Pharoahs’ gold)
The star attraction of this exhibition at Parc de la Villette is the chance to see the sarcophagus of Ramesses II himself, loaned to France by the Egyptian government. Often regarded as the greatest pharaoh of his era, Egyptian art and culture flourished under his rule as he dedicated his reign to building cities, temples and monuments, many of which are still standing. Ancient Egyptian jewellery, masks and artefacts from inside tombs dating back more than 3,000 years will also be on display.
Ramsès et l’or des pharons at the Grand Halle de la Villette runs from April 7 – September 6.
Harry Potter, L’Exposition
Harry Potter: The Exhibition will open its doors in Paris this April after showing in the United States and Asia. The immersive experience is set to bring the Potterverse to life with the chance to explore stunning sets from the movies, get sorted into a Hogwarts house, and see famous props and costumes up close. A must for fans of the books and movies.
Harry Potter, L’Exposition at Paris Exo Porte de Versailles runs from April 21.
Treasures of Notre-Dame at the Louvre
In autumn the Louvre will host some of the invaluable treasures that survived the 2019 Notre-Dame fire. Currently closed to the public while under reconstruction, this exhibition is a unique opportunity to see artefacts including paintings, manuscripts and engravings that reveal the history of the famous cathedral.
Le Trésor de Notre-Dame at the Musée du Louvre runs from October 19 – February 19, 2024. (Note: No official link yet available
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