BY CHRISTINE MINAS | JUNE 18, 2019
With its more reliably beautiful weather and the start of the art season, Fall is one of the best times to visit Paris. While you can find out about museum shows through a Google search, here are a few additional ideas to add to an autumnal itinerary in the City of Light.
Situated on the left bank near the Musée d’Orsay, it’s a wonder that mortals are even allowed in this place. During business hours (check their website here), it’s open to the public. The building looks like a private mansion from the outside but walk up the driveway and you will see a door to your right. The entrance leads to the first room, one of many to follow, in this photo:
Today, the owners of the gallery are the fifth generation in a family of antique dealers founded in Russia at the end of the 18th century. The Gallery moved into its current maison particulière, the Hôtel Collot, in 2004. Hôtel Collot is not without a storied past: it was built in 1840 by the distinguished architect Louis Visconti for Jean-Pierre Collot, the then director of the French Mint (La Monnaie).
The gallery specializes in art and objects—including silver, furniture, sculpture, Kunstkammer objects, renaissance jewellery, scientific instruments, etc.— from the middle ages to the 1850s. It may feel like you are in a museum in an elegant domestic setting, but this is in fact a commercial gallery where the art and objects are available for sale, should you be so inclined.
One of the most unforgettable objects I saw during a 2018 visit was the Clock with the Three Graces, based on a model by Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine. Comprised of an ornate base, three graces rendered in bronze and a sphere that holds the clock mechanism and faces, the clock was ordered by Charles IV of Spain (1748-1819) for one of his Princes. Over the years it passed through illustrious hands, including the Radziwill family, best known today as the family into which Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister Lee married.
Galerie Kugel is filled with such treasures and should not be missed, especially if you would like to impress the person you are with (or yourself).
The Clock with the Three Graces, 1806, after a model by Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine. Top left photo by Christine Minas, all others ©Galerie Kugel
While the art world convenes upon Paris in October for the fair FIAC (listed below), the independent fair Paris Internationale is the best of the other fairs that happen at the same time. Decidedly fresh and youthful, Paris Internationale takes over different spaces in the city.
Paris Internationale was established in 2015 as an innovative alternative to traditional art fairs to support a young generation of galleries. Last year’s presentation featured 42 galleries from 21 countries as well as numerous not-for-profit organizations.
Last year the presentation took place in a 5-story Haussmannian building not far from the Arc de Triomphe. All of the rooms were turned over to exhibitors, including kitchens and bathrooms.
The fair also provides a bonus for those of us who are not accustomed to getting a closer look at interior architecture in domestic Parisian settings. At 2018’s location at 16, rue Alfred de Vigny I was especially seduced by the staircase and the beautiful built-in closets.
Founded in Paris in 1974, the International Contemporary Art Fair (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) can easily serve as the anchor for a visit to Paris in the Autumn.
FIAC brings together around 195 exhibitors in the extraordinary Beaux-Arts masterpiece known as the Grand Palais. The galleries come from over 25 countries around the world, but there is a decidedly European focus, with France-based galleries representing about 30% of the total. All modern and contemporary media are represented: painting, sculpture, photography, installations, videos, performances, and digital arts.
In addition to the galleries at the Grand Palais, FIAC plans superb programming all around the city during the time of the fair. FIAC Projects presents, in collaboration with a different curator every year, some forty sculptures and installations at both the Grand Palais and across the street known as Avenue Winston Churchill, at the Petit Palais.
Another one of FIAC’s vibrant programs FIAC Hors les Murs consists of public art installations presented at some of Paris’ most famous locations: the Tuileries Gardens, the Place Vendôme, the Place de la Concorde, and in the Musée national Eugène Delacroix.
November is the time for Paris’ other most celebrated art fair: Paris Photo, the world’s largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium. Founded in 1997, it’s no surprise that this fair makes its home in Paris—there is a palpably deep love and respect for photography in France.
Like the aforementioned FIAC fair, Paris Photo also takes place in the historic Grand Palais.
Paris Photo brings together approximately 200 exhibitors from 30 countries. Leading galleries showcase historical and contemporary artworks from modern masters to emerging artists. Additionally, specialized publishers and art book dealers present unique and rare editions.
Planning a Trip to Paris?
For bespoke self-guided or accompanied art tours, contact Christine Minas Fine Art at firstname.lastname@example.org to help plan your next trip.
For those interested in architecture, garden history as well as sensorial visits built around the enjoyment of food, wine and perfume, CMFA regularly partners with Picturesque Voyages to add those additional components to your travels.