Posts Tagged 'Paris'

(Unexpected) Art from Across the Pond

In late August, I was lucky enough to spend time exploring the art and culture of London and Paris. As a museum educator, my main goal (of course) was to fit in as many museum and cultural site visits as possible–and I tried my best! While I was mesmerized by the popular artistic highlights of these cities–who doesn’t treasure seeing a Da Vinci first-hand??–for this post I wanted to share some images that were particularly special to me, as they showcase some overlooked sites and scenes from these fascinating cities.

*For more information on Thomas Thwaites’ project (which is fascinating!) click here.  

Perhaps my favorite art educational gem from the entire trip was stumbling upon the Musee D’Orsay‘s crowdfunding restoration project of Gustave Courbet’s The Painter’s Studio. The artwork is being restored on-site in the Museum’s exhibition space and visitors can view the progress in-person over many months, and through various interactive technologies. The most exciting technological component, in my opinion, was a French Sign Language (LSF) interpreted description of the conservation work–fascinating and accessible!FSL

As with most trips overseas, mine was much too short and there were many, many things still left unseen. It was a magical trip and an unforgettable experience, which caused me to stop and think about the unexpected treasures that can be found on visits to popular and familiar places–and I hope you will too!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Merry Macarons

Our annual staff holiday party brought some French flair to the Museum with this year’s Winter in Paris theme. The Holiday Party Committee started planning in September and pulled together a sophisticated soiree fit for any Francophile, complete with a cardboard-roll Eiffel Tower-building contest, a French-themed photo booth, and an abundance of delicious French cuisine, courtesy of our amazing Chef Craig. Olivier Meslay, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and resident DMA Frenchman, served as the party’s emcee, much to everyone’s delight. The Museum’s gracious trustees, along with local businesses, donated a plethora of gifts for the staff raffle, a seasonal highlight for our much-deserving employees. It was the perfect kickoff to a merry holiday season!

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

The Welcoming Party: A Van Gogh Returns

Today we at the DMA are excited to welcome home after a “sabbatical” in Paris one of our masterpieces, van Gogh’s work on paper Café Terrace on the Place du Forum. On tour at the Musée d’Orsay, this magnificent work of art was one of only seven drawings featured in Van Gogh/Artaud: The Man Suicided by Society. This exhibition was seen by nearly 655,000 visitors over the course of four months, making it the highest-attended exhibition in Musée d’Orsay history. Now prominently and proudly on view in our special exhibition Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne, Café Terrace on the Place du Forum joins other masterworks by van Gogh’s peer artists including Manet, Degas, Cézanne, and Renoir. Say “bonjour” and see it now through October 26 on a visit to Mind’s Eye.

Exchange Student

SANDRA blogportrait

Sandra Buratti-Hasan, a Museum Curatorial student from Paris, France, has been the guest of the DMA for the past couple of months as the last step of her curatorial training. Uncrated recently caught up with her in the galleries to find out more about her visit to the U.S.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you’re visiting the Dallas Museum of Art: I am currently finishing my training as a museum curator in Paris at the Institut National du Patrimoine (National Heritage Institute). Every curator in France has to go through an eighteen-month training after passing a competitive examination. I am a specialist in Western 19th-century art, especially the symbolist period and the links between literature, music, and visual arts. The training consists of lectures on museum management, exhibition coordination, law, budget management, and various trainings within museums, both in France and abroad. For my international training, I wanted to discover from the inside the U.S. museum system, and I thought it would be very interesting to be hosted by my former teacher at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, Olivier Meslay, who is now the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the DMA.

What has an average day been like for you while at the DMA? There was no average day—my stay at the DMA has been full of surprises! However it has been a good balance between attending meetings, especially the curatorial and the budget and management team meetings, having a thirty-minute interview with a member of staff (in every department: gallery attendants, Visitor Services Desk, IT, Museum Store, conservation, marketing, and so on). I also spent lots of time in the galleries and in the Center for Creative Connections participating in programs for various visitors (schoolchildren, people with special needs, etc.). And I should not forget the Friday Late Nights and Jazz in the Atrium on Thursdays. I also had the great opportunity to visit Texas museums, which are full of treasures.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges? There are several “best parts” in being a museum curator. One of the most exciting is to give life to works of art you find really important and that have been previously neglected. It fulfills one of a curator’s greatest challenges: to help people become involved with art, no matter what their educational background is. Another challenge is to find the balance between managing the collections, coordinating exhibitions, and having enough time for your scientific research, which needs to be constantly updated.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum? I had several dreams. I wanted to be a painter, an archaeologist, a judge, or a natural scientist. But I was always fascinated by art, especially paintings, and as a child I would consider Leonardo as a friendly figure from the past, a bit like an unknown grandfather (certainly because of portraits showing him with a white beard). So I think working in an art museum was a dream, but an unconscious one.

What is your favorite work in the DMA’s collection? Definitely the Canaletto (San Cristoforo, San Michele, and Murano from the Fondamenta Nuove, Venice). I was fascinated by it as soon as I approached it on my first day at the Museum. It is a very striking piece, wide and uncommon in Canaletto’s work. He manages to capture the poetry of Venice, the gray sky, the mystery of the water; you feel as if the painting is going to swallow you. I would love for my soul to be likewise kidnapped by art. It is exactly for that feeling that I wanted to work among paintings.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing? I remember a striking show in Amsterdam in 2006, Rembrandt-Caravaggio. The room was really dark, with bright highlights on the paintings. You felt like you were entering a marvelous cave, and indeed, treasures were hung on the walls. Seeing the two masters at the same time deeply touched me. I have never felt such a strength in the brushstrokes, such a depth in the layers of the paintings or the looks on the faces.

Bid Adieu to Posters of Paris

There are less than two weeks left to visit Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries. The exhibition’s last day at the DMA is on Sunday, January 20. Join Dr. Amy Freund, Assistant Professor of Art History at Texas Christian University, on Wednesday, January 9, for our 12:15 p.m. lunchtime gallery talk and learn about the posters on display. You can also find out more about the works on your smartphone during your next visit to Posters of Paris.

Jules Chéret, Pastilles Géraudel, 1890, color lithograph, overall: 48 13/16 x 34 5/8 in. (124 x 88 cm), Private Collection, photo: John Glembin

Jules Chéret, Pastilles Géraudel, 1890, color lithograph, Private Collection

Installing the Boulevards of 19th-Century Paris

Paris arrives this Sunday at the DMA with the opening of Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries. We are excited to be one of only two venues presenting the exhibition and wanted to share with you some of the installation process. Join Dr. Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art and curator of the DMA presentation, at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday for an Opening Day Exhibition Tour. Check out all of our upcoming related programming here.

My Summer in Paris

Last month, I celebrated a birthday milestone.  In honor of turning 30, I spent the week of my birthday in Paris.  I had never been to Paris, but have dreamed about visiting the City of Lights since I was little.  Paris really became my “must-visit” destination once I decided to major in Art History.  I just had to see in person all of the works of art I studied over the past twelve years.

Paris was breathtaking, and every monument–museums, cathedrals, towers, arcs–made me feel like I was walking into my old art history textbooks.  The two works of art that most impressed me were The Raft of the Medusa (at the Louvre) and Olympia (at the Musée d’Orsay).  I could have spent hours with both of them!  But my favorite place, by far, was Claude Monet’s home at Giverny.  Being there, it was easy to see why he was so inspired by nature, and especially by water lilies.  I didn’t have a canvas or paints with me, but I did use my camera to capture some of my favorite artistic locales.

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Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Insider Tour of Paris

In May, Olivier Meslay, Interim Director of the Museum—and a former chief curator of the Louvre—led a group of eighteen DMA Donor Circle members to Paris for an “insider’s tour” of the city.

As you all may know, it’s hard to have a bad time in Paris, especially in the gorgeous spring. Here are just a few of the highlights.  The trip began with a visit to the Château of Fontainebleau, where the group had a special tour with chief curator Vincent Droguet that included a stop at the stairs where Napoleon gave his farewell address before being exiled to Elba.

We were also able to visit one of Marie Antoinette’s private cabinet rooms, which is not open to the general public. Climbing several narrow, winding sets of stairs, Vincent led us into a small private room where the queen used to retreat from the demands of royal life with just one or two companions.

When we visited Vaux le Vicomte, another château in the countryside, it was lit by candles for a beautiful and dramatic evening, which included fireworks in the garden.

The studio of Rosa Bonheur, which is a private museum still managed by her family, was a special stop. I love her work, and the DMA will soon acquire a Bonheur painting, which made this visit even more special.

Her unfinished final painting hangs on an easel in her studio.

And her stuffed parrot still resides in her bedroom (a little worse for wear).


The high point of the trip has to be our visit to the Louvre. We arrived very early in the morning, before it got crowded, and Olivier took us through the Grand Gallery to view some of the masterpieces of 18th- and 19th-century painting.

During his sixteen-year tenure at the Louvre, Olivier held a number of senior positions before coming to the DMA in 2009 in the joint position of Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. Being with him at his “old stomping grounds” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Another very special visit was to the atelier of Nicolas Marischael, a silversmith working in the center of Paris. Following in the footsteps of three generations of his family, Nicolas creates beautiful works of art, jewelry, and cutlery using old-world techniques and tools. Visiting his tiny atelier was amazing!

One of the last places we visited was the Musée de la chasse et de la nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature), where the director, Claude d’Anthenaise, has creatively displayed works of art that focus on hunting, nature, and animals.

Kim Bryan is the Director of Donor Circle Membership at the Dallas Museum of Art


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