Creation of the Fondation Louis Vuitton
The project has taken some 13 years to carry out, but the result is spectacular. Right next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, the brand new Fondation Louis Vuitton rises up in a cloud of impressive glass architecture designed by American architect Frank Gehry. The building resembles a ship in full sail and is located in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne.
Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, has succeeded in creating a building that stands 46 metres high. Like many of his creations, the construction has neither a facade nor a roof in the traditional sense of the terms. It is composed more of flowing shapes that envelope the interior spaces designed to showcase cultural collections and exhibitions. The Californian architect used 6,000 m² of curved glass panels attached to a steel frame to provide the covering. A team of architects worked intensively on the feasibility of the project, registering some thirty patents in the process!
Gehry said that « when Bernard Arnault suggested that he come and meet him in Paris, he told him nothing at first. He took him to the Jardin d’acclimatiation and then spoke of his project. (Gehry who had lived in Paris in the 1950s knew the city but not that particular place). He said that he felt quite emotional thinking about French writer Proust walking along the pathways there. He said that he realized then that this was a historic place ».
12,000 m² devoted to art
The LVMH group, which supports artistic creation, now has a first-class flagship with a surface area of 12,000 m². Some of this is used to show a selection of works from the Foundation’s collection and from Bernard Arnault’s private collection. In addition to this ‘permanent’ collection, the Foundation also hosts two temporary exhibitions every year as well as musical events in the auditorium.
Egon Schiele – Jean-Michel Basquiat
From 3 October 2018 to 14 January 2019
From 3 October 2018 to 14 January 2019, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is providing art lovers with a rare opportunity to see the work of Egon Schiele and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Divided into two completely separate trails, the exhibition unveils nearly 120 works by Egon Schiele, including drawings, gouache and a few paintings, while a 2,500-m² space is devoted to Jean-Michel Basquiat, with some works being displayed for the first time in Europe, such as Obnoxious Liberals, In Italian and Riding with Death.
Major figures of early and late 20th-century art, these two artists have a couple of striking similarities: both of them died at the age of 28 and are known for their bold work. Egon Schiele embarked on his career in the early 1900s, right in the middle of the Vienna Secession. It was within this Austro-Hungarian movement of intellectuals and artists that he developed his expressionist style using dark colours against white backgrounds, which contrasted sharply at the time with his mentor Gustave Klimt’s Symbolism. A few decades later, graffiti by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a pioneer of New York’s underground scene, began to crop up around the city. An Andy Warhol protégé, Basquiat’s innovative questioning of art and identity offered an entirely fresh perspective on pictorial art.
Despite their untimely deaths and short-lived careers, the modernity of both Schiele and Basquiat’s works left a lasting mark on 20th century art and have since inspired several generations of artists.