‘Paris: Life & Luxury’ Opens at the Getty

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 23, 2011

The Getty exhibition on life in an eighteenth-century Parisian townhouse opens next week. The image list is available here. Programming includes the following, as noted in the Press Kit:

Paris: Life & Luxury
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 26 April — 7 August 2011
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 18 September — 10 December 2011

Curated by Charissa Bremer-David with Peter Björn Kerber

Evoking the elegant, prosperous world of Rococo Paris, this major, international loan exhibition brings to life activities that took place inside a Parisian town house over the course of a typical day—from dressing and letter writing to dining, music, and other evening entertainments. Paris: Life and Luxury unites prime examples of the extraordinary creative virtuosity of the period’s great artists and craftsmen, including furniture, fashion, silver, paintings, sculpture, musical instruments, clocks, and books. Rarely shown together, these objects literally and figuratively open up, allowing their functions and the parts they played in the fine art of eighteenth-century Parisian living to be understood by contemporary visitors.


Blogging, Now and Then (250 Years Ago)
Thursday, April 28, 7:00 pm
Long before the Internet, Europeans exchanged information in ways that anticipated blogging. The key element of their information system was the anecdote, a term that meant nearly the opposite then from what it means today. Robert Darnton (Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library at Harvard University) explains how anecdotes became a staple in the daily diet of news consumed by readers in 18th-century France and England.

Street Songs and Sedition in 18th-Century Paris: A Cabaret-Lecture
Saturday, April 30, 7:30 pm
In 18th-century Paris, most information traveled through oral systems of communication, and the most powerful means of transmission was song. Parisians composed new verses to old tunes nearly every day. The songs provided a running commentary on current events. In this presentation, Parisian cabaret artist Hélène Delavault sings historical songs and, with Robert Darnton (Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library, Harvard University), explains their complex meanings.

Representing Interiors in French 18th-Century Portraits
Sunday, May 22, 3:00 pm
Xavier Salmon, Director of Patrimony and the Collections at the Château of Fontainebleau, explores the development and significance of domestic portraiture in 18th-century France. During this period, painters were careful to provide indications of the profession or social standing of their sitters, and the genre developed to showcase the subjects in domestic settings.


Life and Luxury in 18th-Century Paris
Saturday, July 16, 10:30 am—3:30 pm
Join this focused course exploring the domestic activities of the 18th-century French elite. Educators Noelle Valentino and Christine Spier, together with one of the exhibition’s curators, examine how decorative arts relate to the daily rituals of the period. Course fee: $35; $25 students.

Culinary Workshop: Taste of Paris
Thursday, June 16, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm; repeats June 17
Travel to an 18th century Parisian town house in the exhibition Paris: Life and Luxury and discover the prevailing culinary and artistic tastes of the prosperous world of Rococo Paris. Then prepare and enjoy a class meal inspired by period foods and recipes. Course fee $75. Open to 20 participants.

A R T I S T – A T – W O R K – D E M O N S T R A T I O N 

Paris Fashion
Sunday, May 1, 15, & 29, and June 5 & 19, 1:00—3:00 pm
Join historic costume designer Maxwell Barr as he explores fashion in the prosperous world of 18th-century Paris. Barr demonstrates the extraordinary craftsmanship and virtuosity of the textiles and designs used to create period clothing.


Curator’s Gallery Talks
A curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, leads a gallery talk on the exhibition. Meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.
Saturday, April 30, 2:30 pm
Wednesday, May 11, 1:30 pm
Thursday, July 14, 1:30 pm
Thursday, August 4, 1:30 pm


Film Series: Vive la Magnifique!
Embrace the opulence of 18th-century Paris with three films that are particularly lush in their representations of the costume, design, and finery of the age. Free; reservations required.

Jefferson in Paris (1995)
Saturday, June 25, 3:00 pm
Directed by James Ivory, this film looks at the less-talked-about exploits of Thomas Jefferson when he served as the United States ambassador to France.

Danton (1982)
Saturday, June 25, 7:00 pm
Acting as a metaphor for revolutionary events unfolding in Poland in the early 1980s, this powerful historical drama from filmmaker Andrzej Wajda follows Georges Jacques/Danton and Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre, allies in the French Revolution.

Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
Saturday, June 26, 12:00 pm
Based on Chordelos de Laclos’ 1782 novel of sexual power games, director Stephen Frears cast Americans John Malkovich, Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer in his take on the story of pre-revolutionary French decadence vs. innocence.

Ridicule (1996)
Sunday June 26, 3:00 pm
Directed by Patrice Laconte and nominated for a 1996 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Ridicule tells the story of a cash-poor nobleman during the reign of Louis XVI.


Gordon Getty Concert: Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players
Saturday, May 21, 2011, 7:30 pm
San Francisco’s renowned Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players, joined by soprano Catherine Webster, present a luminous program featuring music by influential Baroque composers, including François Couperin, Jaques Hotterre, Michel Pignolet de Montéclair, and Jean-Philippe Rameau. In celebrating the Baroque eras opulence and musical history, the ensemble found inspiration in the Getty Museums exhibition, which includes a period harpsichord and an original opera aria score by Rameau. Tickets $20; $15 students/seniors.

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