Paris exhibits to see this autumn, from Bollywood to Chagall and Picasso

As Parisians return from their summer holidays and get back to work or school (a period known in France as “la rentrée”), the City of Lights is set for a rich cultural season. From Russian-French artist Marc Chagall to a retrospective on Indian cinema, FRANCE 24 has selected 10 of the top upcoming exhibits in Paris. 

The new cultural season in Paris is shaping up to be an extremely varied one, with exhibits dedicated to Vincent van Gogh at the Musée d’Orsay, Marc Chagall at the Centre Pompidou and Berthe Morisot – one of the leading female figures of French impressionism – at the Musée Marmottan Monet. Looking for immersive experiences and something off the beaten track? Check out the Aura Invalides, a multimedia light show under the dome at the monument where Napoleon is buried; the street art exhibit at the Grand Palais Immersif; and an exhibit on the Paris metro at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. 


Gertrude Stein et Pablo Picasso – L’invention du langage (The invention of language)

To mark 50 years since Pablo Picasso’s death, the Luxembourg museum is putting on an exhibition centred around the extraordinary friendship between Cubist pioneers Pablo Picasso and American writer Gertrude Stein, two 20th-century icons of the Bohemian art scene in Paris. 

The aim of the exhibition is not only to shed light on Stein’s little-known poetic work in relation to Picasso’s paintings and sculptures, but also to highlight their influence on artists across Europe and the United States such as Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp and John Cage. 

Gertrude Stein et Pablo Picasso – L’invention du langage at the Musée du Luxembourg runs from September 13 – January 28, 2024. 


Mode et sport, d’un podium à l’autre (Fashion and sports: From one podium to another)

The poster for “Fashion and sport: From one podium to another”, an exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, features the Lacoste couture polo dress by designer Freaky Debbie. © David Hugonot Petit, Conception graphique: Coline Aguettaz & Brice Tourneux

Ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) explores the evolution of sportswear and its influence on fashion, from ancient times to the present day. From the outfits worn by French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen to the jerseys worn by Les Bleus, the French national football team, the exhibit presents a wide selection of emblematic pieces. It also provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on the social and cultural crossover between these two seemingly distant worlds. 

Mode et sport, d’un podium à l’autre at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs runs from September 20 – April 7, 2024.


Aura Invalides  


A brand-new immersive experience is coming to Paris. From September 22, a light show will be projected onto the interior walls of the Invalides dome at dusk. Guided by music, visitors will explore the six chapels surrounding the crypt of Napoleon’s tomb and learn about the history of the 17th-century dome. This experience is an invitation to travel back in time and discover a whole new side of the Hôtel National des Invalides. 

Aura Invalides at the Hôtel National des Invalides runs from September 22. 


Bollywood Superstars – Histoire d’un cinéma indien (History of Indian cinema) 

The poster for the upcoming
The poster for the upcoming “Bollywood Superstars” exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. © Gitanjali Rao

Previously shown at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Musée du Quai Branly is now putting India – the world’s largest film producer with over 1,500 films a year exported throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa – front and centre in this exhibit. More than 200 works – including paintings, costumes and photographs – will be on display, allowing visitors a rare opportunity to discover the rich history of Indian cinema from the end of the 19th century to the present day.  

Bollywood Superstars – Histoire d’un cinéma indien at the Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac runs from September 26 – January 14, 2024. 


Van Gogh à Auvers-sur-Oise – Les derniers mois (Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: The final months) 

“The church at Auvers” by Vincent Van Gogh was purchased with the help of Paul Gachet, son of Dr Paul Gachet, and an anonymous Canadian donation in 1952. © Hervé Lewandowski, RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay)

The Musée d’Orsay will be putting on the first exhibition devoted solely to the works produced by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh during the last two months of his life at Auvers-sur-Oise on the northwestern outskirts of Paris. Although he only spent a short period of time there, it marked a crucial final phase in his artistic development during which he produced some of his most notable works, including “The Church at Auvers”.

Known as “the city of Impressionists”, other artists such as Cezanne and Pissaro either lived or spent time in Auvers. After visiting the exhibit, consider making a trip to Auvers-sur-Oise itself, which offers a chance to visit the graves of Van Gogh and his brother Theodore; the Auberge Ravoux, where Van Gogh lived during his stay; and the Painters’ Pathway, a self-guided walk marked by panels exhibiting the Impressionist masterpieces that were painted in and around the town. 

Auvers-sur-Oise is very easy to reach by train. Take the Transilien H train from Paris Gare du Nord to the Pontoise train station and then take another Transilien H from Pontoise to Auvers-sur-Oise. The journey will take about one hour.  

Van Gogh à Auvers-sur-Oise – Les derniers mois at the Musée d’Orsay runs from October 3 – February 4, 2024.


Chagall à l’œuvre – Dessins, céramiques et sculptures 1945-1970 (Chagall at work: Drawings, ceramics and sculptures, 1945-1970)

Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall works in the Madoura studio in Vallauris, France on June 11, 1952.
Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall works in the Madoura studio in Vallauris, France on June 11, 1952. © Meunier, AFP

A major 20th-century artist who was nearly as famous as his friend Picasso, French-Russian artist Marc Chagall is now honoured at the Pompidou Centre. The exhibition brings together a selection of the artist’s greatest works, including the preparatory drawings for the costumes and stage curtains in Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird”, sketches of the ceiling of Paris’s Opéra Garnier and a collection of ceramics, collages and sculptures. This exhibit is the perfect opportunity to (re)discover his work, which is rich in colour and symbolism and influenced by his Jewish heritage, his life in Russia and his career in France

Chagall à l’œuvre – Dessins, céramiques et sculptures 1945-1970 at the Centre Pompidou runs from October 4 – February 26, 2024. 


Dana Schutz – Le monde visible (Dana Schutz: The visible world)

The City of Paris Museum of Modern Art is hosting the first major French exhibition of works by US artist Dana Schutz. Born in Michigan in 1976, Schutz has had a major influence on contemporary art. A storyteller skilled with colour, she has explored contemporary themes over the years through complex, large-scale fictional settings. The exhibit explores themes such as the artist at work, the construction of self and society, and the tension that can be felt in large crowds.   

Dana Schutz – Le monde visible at the Musée d’Art Moderne runs from October 6 – February 11, 2024.


Berthe Morisot et l’art du XVIIIe siècle (Berthe Morisot and the art of the 18th century) 

“Apollo revealing his divinity to the shepherdess” by Berthe Morisot, based on a work by François Boucher, 1892. © Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

The Musée Marmottan Monet has brought together 65 works from French and foreign museums as well as private collections for the first time to highlight the similarities between the work of Berthe Morisot and the lesser-known 18th-century French painters from whom she drew inspiration: Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Jean-Baptiste Perronneau. 

Morisot established herself as the first female Impressionist and, alongside Monet, Renoir and Degas, was one of the leading members of the group. Due to social restrictions imposed on her class and gender, the most common subject for her paintings were domestic scenes. Many of these depict members of her own family, including her husband Eugène Manet, Édouard Manet’s brother, and their daughter Julie.  

Berthe Morisot et l’art du XVIIIe siècle at the Musée Marmottan Monet runs from October 18 – March 3, 2024. 


Métro ! Le Grand Paris en mouvement (Metro! Greater Paris on the move)

A commuter sits in a carriage at the Gare de l'Est metro station in Paris on March 7, 2023.
A commuter sits in a carriage at the Gare de l’Est metro station in Paris on March 7, 2023. © Christophe Archambault, AFP

As part of efforts to reduce traffic congestion and national emissions, the French government launched construction in 2016 on the Grand Paris Express, a group of new transit lines that will connect many areas of the suburbs without having to pass through Paris. As this project’s first stations near completion, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine is presenting a new exhibit about the history of the Paris metro and the urban transformations associated with it. 

Métro ! Le Grand Paris en mouvement at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine runs from November 8 – June 2, 2024.


L’art urbain à l’ère numérique (Street art in the digital age)

“L’homme oiseau” (Bird-man), a work by French artists Ella & Pitr in Cerrillos, Chile, in 2013. © Ella&Pitr

Street art takes centre stage at the Grand Palais Immersif, a new exhibition space set up within the walls of Paris’s Opéra Bastille in autumn 2022. The exhibit traces the history of this artistic movement, which appeared on city walls in the 20th century, and the impact of technology on the work of street artists. From New York subway stations to large-scale murals of the 2000s and paintings created using drones, visitors can witness the evolution of street art.   

L’art urbain à l’ère numérique at the Grand Palais Immersif runs from December 6 – July 21, 2024.

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