“Bibliothèque Nationale de France”

Nicolas Yantchevsky retrospective at the BNF

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France is presenting the first retrospective of the work of photographer Nicolas Nicolaïevitch Yantchevsky. This artist photographed Paris by night, in chiaroscuro, in the 1950s. With a sense of staging, his short twelve-year photographic career gave birth to a significant body of works, realistic and poetic in style, like that of his peers René-Jacques, Marcel Bovis, Izis, Willy Ronis and...

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Frédéric Rouzaud, 2016 winner of the Prix Montblanc des Arts et de la Culture

The Fondation Louis Roederer has been recognised for its commitment to artistic creation. The 2016 winner of the Prix Montblanc des Arts et de la Culture, Frédéric Rouzaud – CEO of Louis Roederer – has been raised to the status of a “great sponsor”. He founded the Fondation Louis Roederer in 2011, in order to structure and perpetuate the foundation’s sponsorship policy, which since 2003 has been aimed at great cultural institutions and confirmed or emerging artists. This year, the foundation was a partner of the Seydou Keïta exhibition at the Grand Palais, the Jean-Michel Alberola and Michel Houellebecq exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo, and the Richard Avedon exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France opening on 18 October. The foundation also funds the Louis Roederer research grant every year. In addition, the institution supports numerous festivals and artistic events including Planche(s) Contact in Deauville, the Festival international d’Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence and the Prix de...

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Memories from beyond the grave at the Bibliothèque nationale de France

Paris, 27 November 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Aurélie Filippetti, the French Minister for Culture and Communication, has expressed her delight at the state’s acquisition of the only existing complete copy of the manuscript for Mémoires d’outre-tombe (Memoirs from Beyond the Grave), the autobiography by François-René de Chateaubriand. The purchase took place following an amicable settlement with the manuscript’s previous owner, which took place on 26 November 2013. This version was reviewed and signed by the writer himself. There are no other existing signed manuscripts of this important work, as Chateaubriand became accustomed to dictating to his secretary very early on in his career, and would burn most of his drafts. This version is the only one which allows for a greater understanding of the form of the work as the author intended. The Bibliothèque nationale de France does own another copy, but it is only a small part of the entire manuscript. For these reasons, the manuscript is viewed as a national treasure, and is to join the collection at the Bibliothèque nationale de...

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“Black and Red. Greek Vases from the Luynes Collection”: Interview with Cécile Colonna

Paris, 26 November 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). AMA met with Cécile Colonna, curator of the exhibition “Black and Red. Greek Vases from the Luynes Collection”, which is on display at the Bibliothèque nationale de France until 4 January 2014. You are presenting the collection of Greek vases which belonged to Honoré d’Albert, Duke of Luynes. Who was this man? The Duke of Luynes was a collector, as well as one of the 19th century’s most important archaeology specialists. He amassed a pretty amazing collection which he gave to the Cabinet des médailles (Coins, Medals and Antiques Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France) in 1862. He is little-known to the public today, but he was a major patron of the arts, and an important researcher. The exhibition is therefore also a way of paying him tribute. In addition, most people are unaware that the Bibliothèque nationale possesses a collection of archaeological pieces, including this collection of Greek vases which is quite exceptional in quality, second only to the Louvre’s collection in France. In what way was he important for 19th century archaeological research? He was born into what was one of the biggest aristocratic families in France, and was heir to a large fortune. This wealth allowed him to work as he wanted, but also to support many contemporary artists and scholars by financing publications in numerous fields including history, the sciences and the arts. He was a strong believer in the invention of photography, for example, and, together with the Société française de photographie, created an award in order to enhance photographic techniques, in particular fixing the image. He thought that this invention would go a long way, particularly in the fields of history and art. He was also one of the founding members of the Institute for...

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Joel-Peter Witkin at the BnF

Paris, 6 April 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). The BnF is displaying “Hell or Heaven” from 27 March to 1 July 2012, an exhibition dedicated to Joel-Peter Witkin. Joel-Peter Witkin is a photographer, but unlike other artists of this realm, his purpose is not to capture a single moment. He prefers to create his own reality, from biblical, mythological, and artistic references. All of these references are centered on the themes of death, deformity, and extreme eroticism. Once the shots are taken, the second half of Witkin’s work begins by scratching, slashing, and painting his negatives and prints. This work has resulted in 81 photographs for “Hell or Heaven”, photographs which display mutilated corpses and amputated limbs. The museum chose to mix these fascinating and revolting works with about fifty prints dating from the Renaissance to the 20th century. The exhibition is not a retrospective dedicated to Witkin but a way of staging his work and making it legitimate. Taken from the BnF’s collections, the prints recount how death and suffering were represented throughout history by artists such as Goya, Picasso, Albrecht Dürer, Jean Morin, José de Ribera and...

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