Crossing the Rue Longchamp after visiting Pâtisserie des Rêves, I stumble onto Renoma and a new fascination is born.
Maurice Renoma transformed French menswear in the 1960s. Unfettered and original, he used sensual fabrics, bold color and sculptural designs that contour the body — remember his fab unisex suits? In the 90s, Renoma developed a passion for photography and began a second career as modographe, creating provocative black-and-white images with cinematic charm. Now Renoma is designing furniture — look out world.
You’ll find art, art, and more art at the Louis Vuitton Foundation on the edge of the historic green space that is the Bois de Boulogne. Since 1853, the enormous Bois has delighted Parisians with horse paths, gardens and ponds. With the addition of Frank Gehry’s swooping free-form museum, it is a treat for both eye and spirit. We experience the current exhibition, Keys to a Passion, with works by Bacon, Bonnard, Brancusi, Dix, Delaunay, Giacometti, Hodler, Kandinsky, Léger, Malevich, Matisse, Mondrian, Monet, Munch, Nolde, Picabia, Picasso, Rothko, Schjerfbeck and Severini — a veritable who’s who, each represented by a small group or single work. We are thoroughly engaged and delighted. July 6 brings the next installation of Keys, don’t miss it.
On the left bank of the Seine sits the former Beaux-Arts railway station that is now the Musée d’Orsay. A short rive gauche stroll from our beloved St. Michel neighborhood, the d’Orsay houses the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in the world — Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh.
The d’Orsay always takes my breath away. A brief bomb scare gives me a moment in the grand hall to compose myself. Picasso’s Femme en Vert stuns me, as does Cézanne’s Woman with a Coffeepot. Room 10 is devoted to disturbing and mesmerizing scenes of Bohemian Paris — this is where Picasso’s powerful Absinthe Drinker hangs alongside Toulouse-Lautrec’s scenes of dance halls and brothels. Raboteurs by Caillebotte, below, is a d’Orsay favorite, the workmen muscled and sweaty, the light glorious.
As a true Italophile, I am drawn to the d’Orsay’s special exhibition, Dolce Vita, showcasing Italian design from 1900-1940. Che buono.
At Musée d’Art Moderne, the quirky permanent collection includes an exhibition in-the-round of Raul Dufy, a sprawling but sparse Matisse room, and several free-range surprises like the irreverent La Battaille de Waterl’eau. Best of all, this bright and sassy waterfront musée is free.
Art Makes Me Hungry
So we head to our favorite bistro in Le Marais, Chez Janou, where we enjoy a fine meal of warm goat cheese in tomato, grilled fish, an amazing bit of duck and of course several helpings from the magic olive bowl. We declare Janou our private club and pinky-swear to return. And we will.
From museum-art to to street-art to flower-art to food-art: You never know what you will see in Paris. •