Heaven and happiness from the Pompidou

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Heaven and happiness from the Pompidou


Clockwise from top left: “The Red Studio” (Henri Matisse), “Rainbow” (Marc Chagall), “Seated Woman” and “The Spring” (Pablo Picasso), “Leisure Homage to Louis David” (Fernand Leger), “Blue 2” and “Woman and Bird in the Night” (Joan Miro). Provided by the organizer

It’s been a good few years for local art aficionados with a penchant for contemporary Western works with exhibitions from the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris coming here recently. And this blessing continues this year, too.

The Seoul Museum of Art in Jung District, central Seoul, is displaying 79 pieces from the Centre Georges Pompidou, a major contemporary art museum in Paris.

The paintings, sculptures and installations are by 39 20th-century artists including Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Georges Braque (1882-1963), Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) and Fernand Leger (1881-1955). Living artists like Francois-Xavier Lalanne, 84, and Alain Jacquet, 69, are also featured.

“The paintings offer a study of European mythology, history and culture,” said Cho Ju-hyun, the exhibition’s curator.

Titled “Heaven for Artists,” the exhibition explores images of utopia, happiness and harmony.

The man behind the exhibition is Didier Ottinger, chief curator of the Centre Georges Pompidou.

He started planning the Korean project two years ago after being inspired by French painter Nicolas Poussin’s “Shepherds of Arcadia,” a pastoral painting of an idealized world. Ottinger started wondering how different painters expressed utopia.

To Chagall, it was the French Riviera, the beautiful southern coast, that inspired the 1967 work, “Rainbow.” In the painting are images of a couple under the moon, the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame cathedral.

Works also include Leger’s “Leisure Homage to Louis David,” a painting of people enjoying their paid vacations, Jean Miro’s “Woman and Bird in the Night” and Picasso’s “A Portrait of Marie-Therese.” Marie-Therese is believed to be one of Picasso’s lovers and muses.

This is the Pompidou’s second exhibition in Asia, following one last year at the National Art Center in Tokyo.

By Lee Eun-joo Staff Reporter [angie@joongang.co.kr]

The exhibition opens this Saturday and runs through March 22 at the Seoul Museum of Art. Go to City Hall Station, line No. 1, exit 1, or line No. 2, exit 11. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. The museum is closed on Mondays. For more information, call (02) 2124-8800 or visit www.seoulmoa.org.

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