Top Events in the US for a Dose of France this Summer

Top Events in the US for a Dose of France this Summer

France Today ambassador Martha Sessums rounds up the must-see exhibitions and unmissable events for confirmed Francophiles beyond the shores of La Belle France.

Camille Claudel

For the first time in more than 30 years (which is about the same amount of time Claudel was forced to stay in a psychiatric institution), a North American exhibition will focus entirely on her sculptures, many of which are considered daring and visionary masterpieces. Viewing nearly 60 sculptures from “The Waltz’ (two lovers dancing) to the three figures of ‘Age of Maturity’ (youth, middle age and mature), it becomes clear why French collectors and critics recognised her talent and creation of a new style of sculpture that focused on intimacy, poetry and humanity. It’s time the rest of the world caught up.

The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

Until July 21


Meet Partenope, who is the most eligible bachelorette in 1920s Paris and who is besieged by suitors. But love is a battlefield in this comedy of romance, rejection and gender confusion set to music by Handel.

San Francisco Opera, San Francisco, California

June 15-28


Mary Cassatt at work

A member of the French Impressionists, Cassatt focused on the social, intellectual and working lives of the women of the last half of the 1800s and early 1900s. This exhibition invites conversations about gender, work and Cassatt’s imagery of the realities of traditionally female activities such as motherhood, embroidery, reading or social appearances. More than 130 diverse works demonstrate the artist’s interest in the serious job of portraying the lives of women of her time.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

May 18-September 8


The forbidden city and the palace of Versailles

Exchanges Between China And France In The 17th/18th Centuries

Ever wonder why the wallpaper in some rooms in Versailles feature Chinese characters? This exhibition illustrates the diplomacy between Louis XIV and China’s Emperor Kangxi that resulted in an exchange of art and craft interweaving the two country’s science, foreign policy and trade. The result is more than 200 works that reflect shared styles and technology in painting, objects d’art, porcelain, decorative arts, music, science and more. The fascination on both sides went way beyond wallpaper to a golden age of Franco-Chinese relations that lasted until the French Revolution.

Palace Museum, Beijing, China

Until June 30


Jean Cocteau: The Juggler’s Revenge

Jean Cocteau’s versatility, the multiple juggling acts that distinguished his production, often drew criticism from his contemporaries. Here his talents are highlighted in drawings, graphics, jewellery, tapestries, books, magazines, photographs and films created by France’s Modernist enfant terrible.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

Until September 16


Discover Degas and Miss La La

The spotlight is on Miss La La, aka Anna Albertine Olga Brown, the aerialist suspended from a rope held between her teeth as she spirals upward towards the ceiling of a circus tent. Brown’s story is told through newly discovered Degas drawings and photographs.

The National Gallery, London, UK

June 6-September 1


Monet to Matisse: French Moderns

France is the focus as the artistic centre of international Modernism including Impressionism, Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism. Around 60 masterpieces on show will include Monet, Cézanne, Chagall, Degas, Matisse and others.

Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon

June 8 – September 15


Matthew Wong/ Vincent Van Gogh

Canadian artist Matthew Wong started drawing and painting in 2011, at the age of 27. He was hugely inspired by Van Gogh, whose influence is unmistakable in the use of colour, the thickly applied brushwork and personal themes. The exhibition explores the artistic and personal connection between the two artists, including Wong’s suicide when he was 35. “I see myself in him,” said Wong. “The impossibility of belonging in this world.” This is the first retrospective of Wong’s work in Europe.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Until September 1

From France Today Magazine


Lead photo credit : © WIKIMEDIA

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Martha Sessums is the France Today Ambassador for San Francisco. Intrigued by France since her first stroll along the Seine, Martha and her husband often travel to Paris to explore the city and beyond. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, delighting in its strong Francophone and French culture community. She was a high-tech public relations executive and currently runs a non-profit continuing education organization.

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