Sam Francis, « In Lovely Blueness »
On September 12, 2023, echoing Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Musée de l’Orangerie installed Sam Francis’, very large-format painting In Lovely Blueness,loaned for three years by the National Museum of Modern Art / Centre for Industrial Creation, to which it had been given in 1977 thanks to the Scaler Foundation with Éric and Sylvie Boissonnas’ contribution.
Sam Francis arrived in Paris in 1950 and stayed there for ten years, during which his work gained recognition. This painting’s format was inspired by Monet’s Water Lilies, which he discovered in 1953 when the Museum reopened. He titled the work In Lovely Blueness, recalling a poem by Hölderlin (In Lieblicher Bläue, 1823). Blue of the sky, as the poet wrote, but also blue of the ocean according to Sam Francis, as this color reveals the lyricism of his perspective on the world.
Group of sculptures from Africa and Oceania, formerly part of the Paul Guillaume collection
The exceptional long-term loan of a group of sculptures from Africa and Oceania, formerly the Paul Guillaume Collection, by the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, along with drawings and archives, has enriched the collection’s visitor circuit.
"The Louvre should present certain exotic masterpieces that are no less moving than the finest specimens of Western statuary." Apollinaire, 1909
Guillaume Apollinaire and Paul Guillaume both worked to promote the arts of Africa and Oceania. In 1910, Paul Guillaume put sculptures from Gabon in the window of the automobile garage where he was working, thereby attracting the attention of the French poet Baudelaire, who introduced him not only to the antique dealer Joseph Brummer but also to Picasso. Later an art dealer himself, Paul Guillaume, going against ethnocentric public opinion, made the innovatory move of exhibiting African sculptures in his gallery, thereby allowing numerous artists to discover the works.
In 1917, he loaned items to the first Dada exhibition, held by the Corray gallery in Zürich, and, with Apollinaire, published an album of photographs entitled Sculptures Nègres.
Working as an art dealer meant he found himself advising gallery owners and collectors, one of whom was Alfred Stieglitz, who held an exhibition in December 1914 at his gallery, the 291, in New York, presenting both modern and African statuary. He also bought works on behalf of Albert C. Barnes for his foundation in Philadelphia.
Although Paul Guillaume wasn’t the only person to take an interest in non-Western arts, he nevertheless played a pre-eminent role in introducing them to a wider audience, paving the way for a radical paradigm shift in how they were perceived.
Non-Western arts had long been regarded through an ethnocentric prism. Expressions like "art Nègre" or "art des Noirs", (“black art”), were part of the prevailing terminology in the early 20th century, used by both Apollinaire and Paul Guillaume.
Matrices Chromatiques [Chromatic Matrices], by Agnès Thurnauer
Matrices Chromatiques [Chromatic Matrices], functional sculptures designed by the artist Agnès Thurnauer, have been installed in a number of spaces in the Musée de l'Orangerie.
Commissioned and donated to the Centre National des Arts Plastiques through the generosity of Sophie Javary and Alain Bernard, two of the museum’s patrons, and now on long-term loan to the Orangerie, these mat aluminum bench sculptures are like a series of “water lily letters” spelling out the word "chromatiques" and taking the aura of Monet’s work to every corner of the museum.
The Chromatic Matrices gives the Musée de l’Orangerie a powerful, elegant visual signal, underlining its renovated status as a museum, now reactivated by the contemporary gaze.