Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and Paul Klee too!

But that was just the upper floor of the Orangerie. Down below, another series of elegant galleries house the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection featuring paintings by Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Rousseau, Matisse, Derain, Modigliani and many others.

Paul Guillaume by Modigliani

The way to get your art dealer to work for you is to paint his portrait. Here is Paul Guillaume done by Modigliani.

Read how the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection came into being – hint: both guys shared the same wife.

Picasso - Large Bather

Formidable portrait by Picasso.

We took a relatively fast trip through these because in the downstairs gallery there was also a Paul Klee (1879-1940) exhibition. I didn’t know anything about Paul Klee but just from seeing the poster, I wanted to take in the show.

Paul Klee - Tiges

This was one of the discoveries of the trip for me. Looking forward to learning more about Paul Klee.

Still don’t know much, but thoroughly enjoyed this show. He led an incredibly interesting life, produced over 10,000 works of art (that’s the thing about most successful artists – they work and work hard), and came up with some very memorable quotes. For example, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” Here’s the Wikipedia entry on Klee.

The show featured 27 of Klee’s mostly abstract paintings and drawings, 17 of which were from the Beyeler Fondation from Basel (Switzerland). This was founded by well-known collector and connoisseur Ernst Beyeler and his wife Hildy.

In another irony of timing, Beyeler died in February of 2010, age 88, while this show opened just two months later in April. What is it about artists, or in this case collectors, and upcoming exhibitions at the Orangerie?

Klee and Van Gogh share a distinction – both of them had their art declared “degenerate” by the Nazis. (Note: Site is in German. Database of all art seized by the Nazis. Fascinating. Horrifying.)

In the late 1930’s Klee fled his teaching post at the Bauhaus school of art in Dusseldorf (my home town!) for Switzerland.

At least two of Van Gogh’s paintings, declared too degenerate for the public, were owned for a while by Mr. Degenerate himself, Hermann Goering. Goering sold them both – needed the foreign currency. (For much more on this, read The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War.)

We had a look around the beautiful little gift shop but managed to leave without buying anything. We’d seen enough art for one day – time to get out.

Paris - Orangerie model

Outside of the gift shop were highly detailed models of the Orangerie as it went through various phases of renovation. Little masterpieces!

Paris - Orangerie lower level gallery

The problem is you get spoiled. The Monets are upstairs, there's a whole Klee show downstairs and in this adjacent gallery are the Renoirs, Cézannes, Matisses and more. Too much!

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