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Paris: A Twombly Ceiling.

March 11, 2009

By Grant Rosenberg from The American Scholar. Spring 2009

One morning in late January, after a ride on the Paris métro to its terminus in the eastern suburb of Montreuil and a cold 10-minute walk through an industrial zone, I arrive at a nondescript, unheated warehouse. Inside, laid out on the floor of the large, open space, is a 33-meter-long white canvas, composed of 11 strips stapled together. The canvas is still mostly blank, with unfinished spheres in shades of blue, white, and yellow. Music plays softly in the background as three painters perform the immense task of painting what will portray a vast skyscape. These unromantic working-class environs are an unlikely place to find what might be one of the more romantic possibilities in art: a painting for the ceiling of the Louvre.

Photo from Artnet and Anthony Meier Fine Arts:

Souvenir, 1992. Mixed media on paper h: 30 x w: 22.5 in

Cy Twombly, Souvenir (2/23/92)

As part of its mission to add contemporary artists’ work to its vast collection of paintings and crafts dating back to antiquity, the Louvre asked the American artist Cy Twombly to paint the ceiling of one of its galleries, the Salle des Bronzes. Twombly agreed, and for the first time since Georges Braque in 1953, a living artist’s work will adorn a ceiling of the iconic museum. There are other foreigners adding to the Louvre’s décor as well, most recently German artist Anselm Kiefer; sculptures and a painting of his were permanently installed in a stairwell on the northeast corner two years ago. Braque’s contribution—in the Salle Henri II, the room adjoining the Salle des Bronzes, as it happens—incorporates three separate paintings of birds on a dark blue sky into an existing Renaissance-era ceiling that covers the rest of the surface area.

Read more from The American Scholar here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 12, 2009 12:08 pm

    I feel the contrasts and similarities between contemporary art and the greatest art classics will really lift the Louvre up. Even more.

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