I went to the recently-opened Fondation Louis Vuitton, in the Bois de Boulogne, primarily to see the building—a ship of concrete and glass designed by Frank Gehry.
The building is well worth a visit, and engineers will delight in the technologies perfected for its creation. But the highlight was the temporary art show.
“Keys to a Passion” is a stellar collection of modern art, arranged thematically in six intimate spaces.
The first room holds portraits by Giacometti and Francis Bacon, and—new to me—Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck. Her series of realistic self-portraits spanning the years 1915-1944 is remarkable for its continuity and emotional weight.
Schjerfbeck’s work has been compared to that of Edvard Munch, and “The Scream” hangs nearby. The juxtaposition of similar works is a strong point of the show.
A room of waterscapes invites meditation, and included my favorite painting: “Dune Sketch in Bright Stripes,” a soft abstract by Mondrian, very different from his grids.
Matisse cutouts, “La Danse” and “La Tristesse du Roi”, Rothko’s “#46”, and “Endless Column” by Brancusi, plus portraits by Picasso and Bonnard are set apart with plenty of space and seating.
My one quibble with the show is that the titles of works are hung in a corner of each room, where only 2 people can read at a time. But otherwise, it was a perfect afternoon.