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Paris Art Galleries
2007-03-05 18:09:38 [ Big Normal Small ] Comment
  The accepted wisdom is Paris was the World’s artistic capital until the mid-20th century. Then the baton was handed to New York. Well, agreement with that proposition depends perhaps on how much enthusiasm is accorded non-representational art such as the abstract expressionist movement that developed there then. It’s a personal thing. Certainly was Thomas Wolfe was scathing in his The Painted Word but admittedly he is an iconoclast.
  
  For many though Paris remains the world capital of picture galleries. In terms of comprehensive classic collections the Louvre has perhaps some rivals, such as New York’s Metropolitan; London’s National Gallery; Madrid’s Prado; Florence’s Uffizi; Berlin’s recently reorganised collections; and St Petersburg’s Hermitage. But four Da Vinci oils are hard to beat-especially the Mona Lisa! (although its true its almost mystical status is a comparatively development). But Paris is an old city resplendent with such architectural jewels as that triumph of medieval architecture known as Notre Dame Cathedral.
  
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  More recently it assembled an array of other galleries which arguably makes Paris pre-eminent for art lovers. The Picasso Museum holds all that artist’s works which he could not bear to sell, plus some he bought from his contemporaries. And Paris remains the home to the last major art movements -concluding in the early 20 th century-to have yet gained popular acceptance. The unsurprising legacy is more impressionist and post-impressionist galleries than found anywhere else.
  
  It’s been said that of the USA that the art galleries have displaced churches as places of communal worship. Certainly that atmosphere of intent and reverent attention prevails more generally, though silence is not mandatory. Plus the hoarding of Monet images!
  
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  After all in general legal terms copyright is a 20th Century development. But religious awe is harder to preserve in the crowded and even frantic throngs that attend the blockbuster shows that have more recently gained popularity of curators. No such problems here where those photographed are looking at Paris’ and hence the world’s best gallery for impressionist and post-impressionist art:the Musee d’Orsay. There are also other fine Paris galleries focusing on impressionism. But the Musee d’Orsay provides the most comprehensive collection, austerely hung in a splendid gallery.
  
  CopyrightMark Berthold2007
  
  
china.com
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