musee national d'art moderne -

Hosted in the beautiful Palais de Tokyo and continuously enriched by donations (in 2011, 4 paintings by Bernard Buffet and 61 by Giorgio de Chirico), the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris displays 20th century masterpieces in a spacious and bright environment. The museum is famous for its paintings by Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Delaunay, Raoul Dufy (La fee electricite), Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse (La danse), Kees Van Dongen.

The Centre Pompidou contains Europe's largest collection of modern and contemporary art, rivaled only in its breadth and quality by MOMA in New York. Within you can find a large selection of pieces including those by major modernist and contemporary artists like Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Dali, Man Ray, and Dubuffet. Generally for contemporary art, you either hate it or love it. This time around, I left the building feeling mostly bewildered by the large collection of sculptures/paintings/installations/things that made me think what the…?/miscellaneous media that I saw. (-Carmel)

At least this modern artist’s work shows a level of complexity and beauty that doesn’t make me feel as though they were made in under five minutes. (-Emilienne)

Don't confuse the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, managed by the city, with the National Museum of Modern Art in Centre Pompidou, managed by the state.

With about 15 000 works, The City of Paris Museum of modern art museum collections represent the wealth of the artistic creation in XXth and XXIth centuries and testifies of the dynamism of the contemporary artistic scene.

Avec près de 15 000 œuvres, les collections du Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris représentent la richesse de la création artistique au XXème et XXIème siècles et témoignent du dynamisme de la scène artistique contemporaine.

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The Musée d'Art Moderne has 6000 pieces of art spanning the 20th century. It is divided into halls dedicated to artistic movements such as Cubism, Fauvism, Realism, Abstract and Contemporary Art. The museum includes a section on decorative art and furniture from the 1920s and 1930s.

Amidst an area of pleasant cafés, brasseries, shops, a gothic church, and the Stravinsky fountain, the Centre Pompidou rises up as a modern landmark of the Beaubourg area of the 4ème arrondissement (Métro: Rambuteau). In 1977, this building “turned the architectural world upside down,” or rather “inside-out,” with its color-coded electrical, air, and water tubes, escalators and elevators, and other typical “building innards” on full display along the outside of the building, leaving a large space within for a two-story art gallery, music library, public library, café, shop, performance space, and cinema, among other things.

Among them are Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, Francis Picabia, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio de Chirico, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Max Ernst, Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de Staël and Victor Vasarely.

I’ve never been much of a fan of modern art.  I’ll admit there are some beautiful works of modern art.  However, I did not appreciate any of the Matisse paintings I saw.  The guide pointed out the recurring themes of windows, but I found Matisse’s windows terribly sad in their oversimplification of the Parisian architecture.  They seemed to reflect a jaded view of his own city, portrayed by an artist no longer capable of appreciating the aesthetics of the city that wowed me each day I was there.  Next we saw something white and porcelain looking suspiciously like a urinal placed on its side.  In fact, it was just that!  The only modification was a small signature on the side.  It’s hard to appreciate something that only required the “artist” to have enough money to purchase a urinal (or the time and energy to steal one) and the capability to write his name.  Next we spent several minutes staring at an empty frame with four strings, three words, and another “artist’s” name (Picabia).  It didn’t quite reach the level of masterpiece, especially after visiting the Louvre and admiring works of art which obviously took years of work and an incredible talent.  If I were an artist from that era and I were capable of seeing the works that can earn their way into art museums today, I think I would be insulted.  We spent about ten minutes in front of “Portrait d’une danseuse” by Joan Miro.  This particular work showed a great aptitude in placing thumb tacks in a wall, and also in balancing a feather between thumb tacks.  After a long lecture, I understood what these two thumbtacks + feather + string were trying to tell me, but I believe that any artwork which takes more time to interpret than to reproduce is hardly respectable.  I saw many phallic symbols and other sexually explicit works, none of which I would have recognized as such without our guide.  If you do ever make it to this museum, be sure to check out the works by Vassily Kandinsky. 

One of the most impressive paintings is the gigantic painting by Raoul Dufy, called La Fée Electricité, which narrates the history of electricity with bright colors.

The Musée d'Art Moderne is housed in Palais de Tokyo. The creation of Palais de Tokyo was the result of an architectural competition opened in 1934 by the city and the French State. They wanted to create a building to host collections housed in Petit Palais, Jeu de Paume and Palais du Luxembourg. Architects Jean-Claude André Aubert Dondel, Marcel Paul and Viard Dastugue won the design competition. The Art Deco building was inaugurated in 1937 as the Palace of the Museums of Modern Art during the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology in Modern Life.

The museum's permanent collections include many works of high quality by the most prominent 20th century artists.

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