Arts

Paris’s Top Art Exhibitions in 2020

by Ali Postma

There is never a shortage of great art exhibitions in Paris regardless of time of year. As an art lover, it can be hard to keep up with what’s on, and to get to all the exhibitions that you want to see. I know I’m certainly guilty of leaving it to the last minute and seeing an exhibition in its final days (along with everyone else!). So, one of my new year resolutions is to get organized and plan visits in advance. In addition to the blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Louvre, which finishes on February 24th, here are some of the best current and upcoming art exhibitions in Paris during the first half of 2020.

Towers of filing cabinets as part of Christian Boltanski's latest exhibition in Paris.
Top: Christian Boltanski, L’album de photographies de la famille D. entre 1939 et 1964, 1971, Institut d’art contemporain de Villeurbanne © Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole. Photo © Yves Bresson, Adagp, Paris, 2019. Above: Christian Boltanski, Réserve Les Suisses Morts, 1991, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Generalitat. Photo © Institut Valencia d’Art Moderne, Adagp, Paris, 2019.

Christian Boltanski: Faire son temps

Centre Pompidou until March 16, 2020

Christian Boltanski has returned to Centre Pompidou 35 years since his first exhibition at the institution. The exhibition presents 50 works from Boltanski, who is one of today’s most important contemporary artists. Designed by the artist himself as a vast journey into the heart of his work, this new exhibition is not so much a retrospective, rather it traces the evolution of his artistic approach.

Left, a painting by Boltanski at his exhibition in Paris. Right, neon sign spelling out "departure" in French.
Left: Christian Boltanski, La Chambre Ovale, 1967, Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris. Collection Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI. Photo © Adam Rzepka / Dist. RMN-GP, Adagp, Paris, 2019. Right: Christian Boltanski, Départ, 2015. Courtesy Christian Boltanski et Galerie Marian Goodman. Photo © Rebecca Fanuele, Adagp, Paris, 2019.

Christian Louboutin, l’Exhibition[niste]

Palais de la Porte Dorée from February 26 – July 26, 2020

Fashion lovers rejoice because the Palais de la Porte Dorée will host a major exhibition dedicated to the creativity and work of Christian Louboutin, the famous footwear designer. Louboutin was born in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, close to the Palais de la Porte Dorée, and the institution was one of the earliest influences on his love of art and design. The exhibition will present a large selection of shoes, some of which have never been exhibited before, and will explore the many inspirations behind his multi-referential work.

Atmospheric paintings of Turner are must-sees this season in Paris.
Left: J.M. William Turner, Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Saluteca, 1835.
Right: J.M. William Turner, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838, 1839.

Turner, Paintings and Watercolours from the Tate

Musée Jacquemart-Andre from March 13 – July 20, 2020

J.M. William Turner was without a doubt one of the masters of English Romanticism and Expressionism during the Golden Age of painting. He is known for his portrayal of the effects of light, color, and atmosphere on both English and Venetian landscapes and seascapes. This exhibition brings together 60 watercolors and 10 oil paintings from the Tate Britain in London, some of which have never been seen in France. I saw the exhibition Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master at the National Gallery of Australia in 2013 and it made a lasting impression—believe me, his paintings have to be seen in the flesh.

Atmospheric paintings of Turner are must-sees this season in Paris.
Left: J.M. William Turner, Ulysses deriding Polyphemus – Homer’s Odyssey, 1829.
Right: J.M. William Turner, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16th October 1834, 1834-1835.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Centre Pompidou from March 18 – June 15, 2020

I first became acquainted with Christo and Jeanne-Claude during my art history studies at university in Australia when we studied their work Wrapped Coast – One Million Square Feet, created in Sydney 1968–69. It was the first major environmental project by the iconic artists, created over a decade before they became worldwide renown for their impactful style. This major exhibition is devoted to the work of the couple, focusing in particular on their time in Paris between 1958 and 1964, as well as the history of their work Le Pont-Neuf empaqueté, projet pour Paris, 1975-1985. 

Artist Christo will be wrapping Paris this season.
Left: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1968-69. Photo Shunk-Kender © 1969 Christo.
Right: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-85. Photo Wolfgang Volz © 1985 Christo.

Cindy Sherman

Fondation Vuitton from April 1 – August 24, 2020

Cindy Sherman is an influential American photographer known for her self-portraits and film stills that question gender and identity. Fondation Louis Vuitton will present the biggest Cindy Sherman exhibition in Europe for the past 10 years, featuring more than 300 images created 1975-2020. The exhibition was designed in close collaboration with Sherman and will span her entire career, with a particular focus on works created in the early 2010s, in addition to some previously unseen works.

Cindy Sherman photographs of strong  women.
Left: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #582, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York © 2019.
Right: Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #2, 1978. MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, New York Horace W. Goldsmith Fund through Robert B. Menschel, 1995 © 2017.

Man Ray et la Mode

Musée du Luxembourg from April 8 – July 19, 2020

I’ve always loved photography, and Man Ray is one of my favorites. This exhibition presents the work of this renowned avant-garde artist from an unknown angle: fashion. A central figure of Parisian artistic life during the inter-war period, and of Surrealism and Dada in particular, Man Ray has been the subject of exhibitions in Paris before, but never from a fashion perspective. While initially successful in portrait photography, Ray gradually fell into favor with many esteemed designers commissioning his work, including Coco Chanel. This exhibition will present a wide selection of Ray’s photographs, in dialogue with pieces of haute couture and cinematographic documents that evoke the fashion from the 1920s and 1930s.

Black and white fashion portraits by Man Rey can be seen this season at the Musée du Luxembourg.
Left: Man Ray et la Mode. Right: Man Ray, Noire et Blanche, 1926.

Related Links

Left, a dress by Jeanne Lanvin on a mannequin. Right, a portrait of a woman with her hand resting on her cheek by Man Rey.
Left: Robe de style Jeanne Lanvin 1922. © LACMA Collections.
Right: Man Ray, Elsa Schiaparelli, vers 1934, Musée Cantini, Marseille. © Man Ray 2015 Trust / Adagp, Paris 2019.

Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Ali Postma

Ali is from Melbourne, Australia, where she studied Art History and Art Curatorship at university and worked in various art galleries. Passionate about all things arts and culture, she loves French film, Nordic noir, photography, street art and architecture. Addicted to pain au chocolat, Ali is fulfilling her dream of living in Paris. View Ali Postma's Website

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe without commenting

Vacation Rentals for Those Who Don’t just Travel, they Experience.

Boutique rentals from our trusted partner Haven In

Paris · Provence · Tuscany · London
ALL RENTALS