10 art exhibitions not to miss this autumn in Paris

Paris has a rather incredible selection of art exhibitions coming up this autumn that you really shouldn't miss. Here are 10 temporary art shows you need to see before they are gone.

The return to real life after France's summer pause can be painful, but there is such a good crop of exhbitions coming up that it almost takes away the pain from going back to work.

Whether it's the brand names like Salvador Dali and Jeff Koons or artists who are famous among those who know art, this autumn promises a heaping dose of both. Yet all of them are only on display for the next couple months.

Here are the 10 show you should go see before they are gone:

  • Marcel Duchamp, Centre Pompidou

Marcel Duchamp, the father of contemporary art, has been described as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

This massive exhibition aims to show French people the true importance of his work, which is greatly admired outside France, but less so inside of it. Runs from September 24th  to January 5th.

  • Katsushika Hokusai, Grand Palais

Five hundred works from the famous 18th century Japanese artist, who is well known for his painting “The big wave of Kanagawa”, will be on display.

It's a great opportunity to see artwork that has become emblematic of Japan. Runs from October  1st  to January 18th .

  • William Eggleston , Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Bringing together more than 150 pictures taken by the American photographer, the Fondation Cartier presents for the first time in France a broad range of Eggleston’s work.

It traces his early days in black and white pictures to his later career when he discovered colour photography. He is credited with pushing galeries to accept colour photos as a serious art form. Runs from September 9th  to December 21st .

  • Pascal Maître, Maison Européenne de la Photo

Over the course of this photographer's travels to 13 of the 40 countries in Africa he considered himself to be doing the work of a reporter. He managed to get to places where nobody else did and crossed boundaries nobody dared to, armed only with his camera.

His pictures show the different faces, realities and landscapes of a continent that remains a mystery to many of us. Runs from September 10th to November 2nd.

  • The Borgias, Musée Maillol

Jewellery, paintings, clothings and armour help relate the incredible story of the Borgias, who became a symbol of the moral decadence of the wealthy families of the renaissance.

Sex, scandal, murder, incest, nothing of the family's story escapes the attention of this exhibition. Runs from September 17th to February 15th.

  • Jeff Koons,  Centre Pompidou

The famous American artist, star of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, is famous for his kitsch style and colourful creations. He'll make a grand return to Paris in the grey month of November.

It ‘s light, it’s fun and it’s definitely a must-see. Runs from November 26th to April 27th .

  • Gary Winogrand, Jeu de Paume

This is the first exhibition in Paris for this American master of photography, whose work focused on depicting post-World War II America.

From the 1950’s to the 1980’s his pictures embodied the essence of American life and society. Some of his best work will be brought together in this comprehensive exhibition. Runs from October 14th to February 8th .

  • Sonia Delaunay, Musée d’Arts Moderne de la ville de Paris

Sonia Delaunay is, along with her husband Robert Delaunay, one of the great figures of abstract painting. But unlike him, she experimented with a variety of mediums, which ranged from painting to posters to designing objects and clothes.

This exhibit recounts her life and work, exposing more than 400 of her creations. Runs from October 17th  to February 22nd 

  • Salvador Dali, Espace Dali

Dali’s mark on the world of modern art extends beyond the world of galeries and museums. To create this new exhibit 20 street artists created works directly inspired by Dali. With this project, they show the impact of surrealism on today’s urban art and artistic sensibilities.

The result is impressive. Runs from September 11th to March 15th.

  • Maya , Musée du Quai Branly

For those who like travelling and are fascinated by history this exhibit is a good bet.

Presenting a series of objects, statues and art works belonging to the great pre-Hispanic Mayan nation, the exhibit explains their beliefs, culture and history. Runs from October 7th to February 8th .

 By Léa Surugue

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Futuristic Gehry tower opens in World Heritage Arles

Rising high beyond an ancient Roman arena in Arles, a tall, twisted tower created by Frank Gehry shimmers in the sun, the latest futuristic addition to this southern French city known for its World Heritage sites.

Futuristic Gehry tower opens in World Heritage Arles
Gehry's Luma Tower opens in Arles, France. Photo: H I / Pixabay

The tower, which opens to the public on Saturday, is the flagship attraction of a new “creative campus” conceived by the Swiss Luma arts foundation that wants to offer artists a space to create, collaborate and showcase their work.

Gehry, the 92-year-old brain behind Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum and Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, wrapped 11,000 stainless steel panels around his tower above a huge glass round base.

It will house contemporary art exhibitions, a library, and offices, while the Luma Arles campus as a whole will host conferences and live performances.

From a distance, the structure reflects the changing lights of this town that inspired Van Gogh, capturing the whiteness of the limestone Alpilles mountain range nearby which glows a fierce orange when the sun sets.

Mustapha Bouhayati, the head of Luma Arles, says the town is no stranger to
imposing monuments; its ancient Roman arena and theatre have long drawn the

The tower is just the latest addition, he says. “We’re building the heritage of tomorrow.”

Luma Arles spreads out over a huge former industrial wasteland.

Maja Hoffmann, a Swiss patron of the arts who created the foundation, says
the site took seven years to build and many more years to conceive.

Maja Hoffmann, founder and president of the Luma Foundation. Photo: Pascal GUYOT / AFP

Aside from the tower, Luma Arles also has exhibition and performance spaces in former industrial buildings, a phosphorescent skatepark created by South Korean artist Koo Jeong A and a sprawling public park conceived by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets.

‘Arles chose me’

The wealthy great-granddaughter of a founder of Swiss drug giant Roche, Hoffmann has for years been involved in the world of contemporary art, like her grandmother before her.

A documentary producer and arts collector, she owns photos by Annie Leibovitz and Diane Arbus and says she hung out with Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York.

Her foundation’s stated aim is to promote artists and their work, with a special interest in environmental issues, human rights, education and culture.

She refuses to answer a question on how much the project in Arles cost. But as to why she chose the 53,000-strong town, Hoffmann responds: “I did not choose Arles, Arles chose me.”

She moved there as a baby when her father Luc Hoffmann, who co-founded WWF,
created a reserve to preserve the biodiversity of the Camargue, a region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Rhone river delta known for its pink flamingos.

The tower reflects that, with Camargue salt used as mural panels and the
delta’s algae as textile dye.

Hoffmann says she wants her project to attract more visitors in the winter, in a town where nearly a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line.

Some 190 people will be working at the Luma project over the summer, Bouhayati says, adding that Hoffman has created an “ecosystem for creation”.