[June 2 2017]
There seems to be something magical about the number three. Human kind has been fixated on the number ever since some man writing the Bible in a cave decided that even “God” himself should be made of three beings instead of just one. Two times isn’t a charm but three times is. Tic-Tac-Toe three in a row. Alexandre Dumas wrote about the legendary Three Musketeers, adding another character or perhaps taking one away from the odd numbered trio would simply make the universe feel a little unbalanced. Science and Innovation has the legendary trio of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone – who famously got along so well that they purchased neighboring vacation homes directly next to one another. And for the art world a magical threesome friendship that occurred was between the brilliant artists André Derain (1880-1954), Balthus (1908- 2001), and Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966).
On June 2nd Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris opened to the public, an unprecedented exhibition curated by Jacqueline Munck, that spends time exploring the shared friendship between the three major artists in the twentieth century. The exhibition is comprised of a massive 350 (paintings, sculptures, works on paper and photographs), mainly focusing on the years 1930 to 1960. It brings together the most important of Derain’s work that hasn’t been presented in Paris for over twenty years. Beyond the reciprocal admiration and true affection they shared for each other that was evident throughout the artist’s lives, it was the deeply shared artistic aesthetic of the community they created that brought them together. An interesting point to note and one of the themes examined is the passion and interest that all three artists shared for ancient paintings and distant civilizations that contrasted against the very strong desire for modernity that can be seen in all their works. This is definitely an exhibit worth checking out before it ends.
On view until October 29th, 2017 at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 av. du Président Wilson 75116, Paris.
Text and photo Savannah Nolan