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Fashion & Design

Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles. A life of patronage

50 min visit

Villa Noailles
12 Jul → 20 Sep 2021
Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

« Discover the history and original architecture of the Villa Noailles through a unique collection! »

Although the de Noailles couple were of great importance for the advent of artistic modernity in France, this is the first exhibition devoted to them. From 1923 to 1970, the villa was the meeting and exhibition ground of Marie-Laure and Charles de Noailles. This exhibition is an opportunity to show both the couple's incredibly modern collection and their personal and intimate life. The Noailles are not just another collecting duo. They are interested in all possible artistic fields (sculpture, music, dance, photography, cinema, literature, montage, collage) and live in the age of time. Their eclectic collection is the testimony of an entire era, that of the technical reproducibility of the work of art, to quote Walter Benjamin. Modern and at the same time classic, the collection brings together works by Brecht, Vertov, Picasso, Eisenstein, Ernst, Bataille, Leiris and Rivière, heirs to Baudelaire, Manet, Proust or Mallarmé who give meaning to the modern practice of montage. But also works by Goya, Dali, Rubens, Mandiargues, Clémenti, César as well as antique statues. There is also furniture by Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Jean-Michel Frank, Charlotte Perriand, Francis Jourdain and Smith & Co. The ensemble is mixed with vernacular objects such as Spanish dolls, images and texts gathered in scrapbooks, postcards... In short, an enormous cabinet of curiosities with a singular layout where meanings intersect and intermingle. High and low culture rub shoulders and break the codes by going beyond the imposed borders. This arrangement translates the modernity of works that, at first glance, have nothing to do with each other. Surprisingly, this assembly forms a collection in rhizomes, made of encounters and exchanges at the heart of the modernities of the last century. And all of this takes place in the superb Villa Noailles, a functional and compact building that bears witness to the new concepts of modern architecture in France between the wars. Robert Mallet-Stevens, its architect, played with full and empty spaces, with forms that repeat themselves, recalling the neo-plastic allure of the Dutch group De Stijl.


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