Unreserved drawing, the exhibition of the Decorative Arts Museum

    Unreserved drawing, the exhibition of the Decorative Arts Museum

    1. Jean Souverbie (1891-1981)

    The music, 1937

    Charcoal, gouache, oil and varnish on paper – 260 x 130 cm

    Paris, Museum of Decorative Arts

    Photo: Christophe Dellière

    See the image in his page

    Should we really count the exposure The drawing without reservation. Collections of the Decorative Arts Museum among the victims of the health crisis that has shaken the world for a year? Initially scheduled from March to July 2020, it was quickly postponed from June 2020 to January 2021: if its reopening is compromised, especially since it would not be considered to extend it beyond January 31, 2021, it has all the same could open its doors from the end of June to the end of October. Four months of opening is almost a luxury for a museum exhibition in this grim year, it is even more than its initially planned duration. MAD Paris services kindly gave us some figures: 30,000 visitors and 900 catalogs sold! It is not a triumph but it remains a success and we can only hope that all Parisian readers of The Art Tribune were able to go to the Museum of Decorative Arts to admire this exhibition, the genesis of which we had extensively chronicled, from the appointment of Bénédicte Gady (see the news of 12/22/17) until the publication of her catalog, at the time of first confinement (see article), including a few rediscoveries that accompanied the preparation of the exhibition: we had already told the story of François-Marius Granet’s paint box, Maurice Denis’s large cardboard or even the ceiling project by Charles de La Fosse and the nave by Friedrich Sustris, not to mention the large cardboard by Jean Souverbie (ill. 1) which welcomes visitors to the exhibition on the landing of the staircase (see the news from 3/24/19 and 6/15/19).

    So we could legitimately know what to expect. However, upon entering the exhibition, the whirlwind of treasures that submerges the visitor makes the discovery irresistibly exciting: past the shock felt in front of Souverbie’s huge box, which is not the largest drawing on the route, overwhelmed in size by that of Maurice Denis, the extraordinary Eucharistic turret project which is hung at the very beginning of the architectural section in turn arouses enthusiasm. This grandiose drawing, perfectly analyzed by Étienne Hamon in the exhibition catalog, in itself justified a visit to the museum in the rue de Rivoli, so much its rarity and its graphic virtuosity make it an exceptional piece. If the primer of the alphabet has its flaws and its qualities, we understand its choice for such an exhibition which aims to reveal to the general public a collection certainly less mysterious than one can imagine but still largely unrecognized: while risking losing the visitor by its rough side, it nevertheless allows visual connections particularly …

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