11 unmissable Autumn exhibitions

Hockney, Irving Penn, Dior… Who said la rentrée wasn’t fun?

© -Merce-

As the new school year rolls around, the galleries of Paris are getting ready to teach us a lesson in how to stage an exhibition. Autumn is always a strong season for art, but this year's programme is especially distinguished. The heavyweight venues lead the pack with their big headline exhibitions: Centre Pompidou welcomes retrospectives on French sculptor César and British painter David Hockney. Grand Palais ushers in Irving Penn and Gauguin. The Philharmonie hosts a fitting tribute to French singing icon Barbara and Astérix author René Goscinny is commemorated at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme.

There's an emphasis on fashion this year with big tributes to Irving Penn at Grand Palais, colossal Dior exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Medusa at Musée d'Art Moderne. Whichever you choose - and we advise you check them all out - you won't be disappointed with autumn's artistic offerings. 

 

 

Free museums in Paris

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

This monumental 1930s building, housing the city's modern art collection, is strong on the Cubists, Fauves, the Delaunays, Rouault and Ecole de Paris artists Soutine and van Dongen. The museum was briefly closed in May 2010 after the theft of five masterpieces. The €100-million haul netted paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani and Léger.

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Chaillot

Musée Zadkine

This is one of the most intimate museums in Paris, a rare peaceful, almost secret corner where you can also get a good dose of modern art. The former studio of Russian-born Cubist sculptor Ossip Zadkine was converted into a museum in 1932, and has always had a particular charm, conserving the spirit of the place where the sculptor and his wife, painter Valentine Prax, lived for more than 40 years. A renovation and re-opening in autumn 2012 has cemented and invigorated this success...

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6e arrondissement
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Le Mémorial de la Shoah

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Airport-style security checks mean queues, but don't let that put you off: the Mémorial du Martyr Juif Inconnu is an impressively presented and moving memorial to the Holocaust. Enter via the Wall of Names, where limestone slabs are engraved with the first and last names of each of the 76,000 Jews deported from France from 1942 to 1944 with, as an inscription reminds the visitor, the say-so of the Vichy government...

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Le Marais

Atelier Brancusi

When Constantin Brancusi died in 1957, he left his studio and its contents to the state, and it was later moved and rebuilt by the Centre Pompidou. His fragile works in wood and plaster, the endless columns and streamlined bird forms show how Brancusi revolutionised sculpture...

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4e arrondissement
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Musée de la Vie Romantique

When Dutch artist Ary Scheffer built this small villa in 1830, the area teemed with composers, writers and artists. Novelist George Sand was a guest at Scheffer's soirées, along with great names such as Chopin and Liszt. The museum is devoted to Sand, plus Scheffer’s paintings and other mementoes of the Romantic era. Newly renovated in 2013, the museum’s tree-lined courtyard café and greenhouse are the perfect summer secret garden.

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Saint-Georges

Arènes de Lutèce

This Roman arena, where wild beasts and gladiators fought, could seat 10,000 people. It was still visible during the reign of Philippe-Auguste in the 12th century, then disappeared under rubble. The site was rediscovered in 1869 and now incorporates a romantically planted garden. These days, it attracts skateboarders, footballers and boules players...

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Quartier latin
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Galerie Lumière des Roses

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‘I’m an amateur, and I intend to remain one. Look at amateurs, whose sole aim is to record a memory – that’s pure photography.’ This quote from legendary Hungarian photographer André Kertész adorns the website of the Galerie Lumière des Roses, serving as a sort of manifesto for the venue. The photos lining its walls are credited to nobody: we don’t know who took them, when, or where. Big-name artists and industry professionals don’t get a look in. Opened in 2005 by Philippe and Marion Jacquier...

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Paris et sa banlieue
RECOMMENDED: Late-night opening hours at Paris museums

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