October 8, 2018

The Fondation Louis Vuitton

The most epic exhibition in a century, over 120 works by Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, and over 100 works by Egon Schiele
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The Fondation Louis Vuitton

If you only have time to see one museum in Paris, make it the Foundation Louis Vuitton. It’s an absolutely gorgeous Frank Gehry building filled with even more gorgeous art. Their permanent collections consists of works by 263 pieces by 102 artists. But the real gems are the special exhibitions which take up most of the museum.

In particular I’m talking about the infamous Basquiat exhibition. Four floors of what it seemed, every work Basquiat ever produced. It was unreal how an artist who only lived for 27 years could create so many works of art. I really enjoyed, and would highly recommend downloading the app before going to the museum, because they have audio guides for each floor, which provide really interesting context to the works.

Egon Schiele

When I visited the museum, last October, the exhibits had just started. On the bottom floor was an exhibition of works by Egon Schiele, on view from October 3rd - January 14th. It consisted of over 100 works (drawings, gouaches, and paintings), which is impressive considering how much smaller this exhibition was than Basquiat’s.

“Very few artists have approached line and drawing with the same virtuosity and intensity as Schiele. [...] By evolving from the ornamental line towards the expressionist line, combined, in three dimensions, fragmented and amputated, he enabled a borderline dissonant and divergent experience of the line as a sign of human existence.” - Dieter Buchhart
“The picture must radiate light, the bodies have their own light which they consume to live: they burn, they are not lit from outside” - Egon Schiele
“Art cannot be modern, art is timeless.” - Egon Schiele


Now, onto Basquiat. OMG, what a joy it was to see this exhibition. I can only imagine how many years it took to coordinate the consolidation of so many of his works into one place. However, it’s no surprise it would be the FLV that housed such a great exhibition since LVMH chief), Bernard Arnault is an avid Basquiat collector himself.

Bravo to the curators

Head Curator: Suzanne Pagé

Curator: Dieter Buchhart

Associate curator for the Paris exhibition: Olivier Michelon

Architect: Jean-François Bodin in collaboration with Hélène Roncerel

‘We wanted to make an exhibition about something which is just so crucial for these artists,’ says Bucchart, who describes the existential line as a particular manifestation of fear and anger. ‘Very obviously, it was a tool for them, but this has never been made clear in a show.’ - Wallpaper
“The exhibition follows his work, from the first drawings and monumental works to the later prints, collages and assemblages, shedding light on his inimitable touch, use of words, phrases and enumerations, and his recourse to concrete hip hop poetry. To the image of the African American man threatened by racism, exclusion, oppression and capitalism, he opposed warriors and heroes.” - Dieter Buchart for Art Daily
‘He was not a wild painter at all. In the end, his compositions always had something to do with intuition and talent. In my understanding, it’s actually fine if he’s not able to explain what he’s doing. He gives us a job. We are able to think about his work and that’s a great thing.’ - Buchart for Wallpaper
“I want to make paintings that look as if they were made by a child.” - Jean-Michel Basquiat
“Since I was seventeen I thought I might be a star. I'd think about all my heroes, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix... I had a romantic feeling about how these people became famous.” - Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat & Warhol


After the exhibition I was completely famished and had lunch at “Le Frank” - the restaurant named after architect Frank Gehry. While some in-museum dining is overrated, Le Frank was not. It was so fresh and delicious and exactly what I needed for round 2 of the museum (yes I went through the exhibit again, because I definitely wouldn’t be back in Paris to see it again).

I also purchased the catalogue and it’s gives a wonderful, in-depth overview that’s worth the read.

Round 2

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