Gypsies, Venetians, Child Murderers in Paris Fall Season

'The Swing'
"The Swing" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876). The painting is being shown in "Impressionism and Fashion" at the Musee d'Orsay from Sept. 25 through Jan. 20, 2013. Source: Musee d'Orsay, Paris via Bloomberg

Love may be a gypsy child, as Carmen tells us.

In real life, “les gens du voyage” (traveling people) as they’re officially called in France, are unwelcome: The French government has closed a number of camps and sent illegal immigrants back to Romania.

“Bohemes” at the Grand Palais (Sept. 26 until Jan. 14, 2013) explores the myths surrounding the exotic tribe, with whom writers, artists and other “bohemians” identified. More than 200 paintings, photographs and books are presented in a mise-en-scene by Robert Carsen, a Canadian opera director.


The first important exhibition of the fall features Canaletto and Guardi, the two masters of Venetian vistas. Of the 50 canvases assembled at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, no less than eight come from the U.K. royal collection. It runs from tomorrow, Sept. 14, through Jan. 14, 2013.


On Sept. 22, the Louvre opens a new department devoted to Islamic art. Some 3,000 items are displayed in a courtyard covered with an undulating glass roof -- a distant relative of the museum’s famous pyramid.

Later, the Raphael show at the Prado moves to the Louvre. About 100 paintings, drawings and tapestries from his final seven years are on view from Oct. 11 through Jan. 14, 2013.


“Impressionism and Fashion” at the Musee d’Orsay (Sept. 25 to Jan. 20, 2013) afterward travels to New York’s Metropolitan Museum and the Chicago Art Institute.

Again staged by the ubiquitous Carsen, 60 masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas and others will be confronted with an equal number of dresses and accessories from the same period.


“L’Art en Guerre -- France 1938-1947” (Oct. 12 to Feb. 17, 2013) at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris promises to be at least as instructive.

About 400 works illustrate how Picasso, Matisse, Bonnard, Leger and 100 others coped with the war and the cultural policies of the Vichy government, which discouraged what the German occupiers called “degenerate art.”


The biggest blockbuster in the history of the Centre Pompidou was the Dali exhibition 32 years ago. With more than 200 works by the Catalan surrealist and provocateur on view from Nov. 21 through March 25, 2013, the museum hopes to repeat that stunt.


The most original contribution to the opera season comes from the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.

It presents three different versions of “Medea,” the myth of the vengeful child murderer -- by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (Oct. 12-23), by contemporary composer Pascal Dusapin (an import from Berlin, Nov. 9-10) and Luigi Cherubini (Dec. 10-16).

Charpentier’s opera will be directed by Pierre Audi and conducted by Emmanuelle Haim, Cherubini’s by Krzysztof Warlikowski and Christophe Rousset.


The first new production at the Bastille Opera is Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” (Oct. 15 to Nov. 11) with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez singing the lovers. Laurent Pelly directs, Marco Armiliato conducts.


(Jorg von Uthmann is a critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Jason Harper on cars and Martin Gayford on art.

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