Masterpiece Museum

It's a Scream: New Louis Vuitton museum — and a masterpiece collection — are the talk of Paris

New Louis Vuitton museum and masterpiece collection are talk of Paris

Fondation Louis Vuitton
The enormous building, with its giant glass sails flaring overhead, bursts into view like an apparition from the next century.  Wikipedia
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris interior
A striking interior view at the new Fondation Louis Vuitton. Wikipedia
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris sign
The futuristic glass sculpture disguises a marvelous museum that is currently housing an almost equally impressive exhibition, “Keys to a Passion." Wikipedia
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris interior
A striking interior view at the new Fondation Louis Vuitton. Wikipedia
News_Edward Munch_The Scream
Among the masterpieces on display is Edward Munch's "The Scream." Courtesy photo
Fondation Louis Vuitton
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris interior
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris sign
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris interior
News_Edward Munch_The Scream

Of all the alluring works of art currently on view in Paris, surely the most impressive is architect Frank Gehry’s glass masterpiece, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Gloriously historic Paris, beloved by many for such icons as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, now tempts the traveler with a futuristic glass sculpture disguising a marvelous museum that is currently housing an almost equally impressive exhibition, “Keys to a Passion."

 The enormous building, with its giant glass sails flaring overhead, bursts into view like an apparition from the next century. 

 For the visitor approaching the site after a brief stroll through the Bois du Boulogne, the enormous building, with its giant glass sails flaring overhead, bursts into view like an apparition from the next century.

This ultra-modern spectacle strikes the eye as all the more astonishing in context, fast-forwarding the timeline for the traveler after taking the short Metro ride from the Pissarro-like turn-of-the-century cityscapes of central Paris.

Once inside the building, those who visit the exhibition are privileged to view major works from the first half of the 20th century which, as the accompanying booklet states, “established the foundations of modernity.” It’s an extraordinary selection of masterpieces by Giacometti, Munch ("The Scream”), Hodler, Monet, Brancusi, Rothko, Matisse (“The Dance”), and others, taking the visitor on an enlightening journey showing “how we got here from there.”

The instructive nature of the trip is significantly enhanced by the wall text, coupled with the free, 32-page exhibition booklet – both, happily, provided in multiple languages including English. For a detailed description of the art before you go, read The Guardian’s appreciative review of the exhibition when it opened in April, describing the accomplishment of gathering all these masterpieces in one place as “a remarkable feat.”        

Actually, it isn’t necessary to like this exhibition, or indeed, any kind of art to appreciate the structure that holds it, which opened fairly recently (late 2014) to considerable acclaim from knowledgeable sources such as the Architectural Digest. The building itself, comprising a canopy of 12 glass sails atop the “Iceberg” holding the galleries, is well worth the trip to Paris, standing as an inspiring tribute to the powers of the human imagination. 

Once you’ve had your appetite whetted after a walk around this novel building, though, it’s highly likely you’re going to want to see what’s inside this big surprise package.