• Misia and Valloton at Villeneuve, 1899.

    Misia and Valloton at Villeneuve, 1899.

    Edouard Vuillard

    Royal Academy | Burlington Gardens
    6 Burlington Gardens
    July 24, 2013–April 18, 2004


    May 15–August 24, 2003

    Grand Palais
    3 avenue du Général Eisenhower
    September 23, 2003–January 4, 2004

    National Gallery of Art
    Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
    January 19–April 20, 2003

    In 1954 Fairfield Porter wrote of Edouard Vuillard, “We have not yet caught up with the extreme sophistication of his successes.” This exhibition of some 200 works, coupled with the simultaneous publication of a catalogue raisonné by Antoine Salomon and Guy Cogeval of the Montreal Musée des Beaux-Arts, should at the very least aid us in gaining ground on the great intimiste (Cogeval, along with a team of National Gallery curators, is responsible for the selection here). In addition to paintings and mural decorations, there are prints, drawings, and photographs (as museumgoers will discover, Vuillard was a master of the Kodak).

  • Philippe Starck.

    Philippe Starck.

    Philippe Starck

    Centre Pompidou
    Place Georges-Pompidou
    February 26–May 12, 2003

    How do you celebrate Philippe Starck, creator of all things creatable, whose rise from nightclub stylist and Ian Schrager muse to French national treasure has, as he hoped it would, bent our understanding of the interplay between products and marketing, designers and design? How about with an installation of twelve talking Starck heads in a dark, velour-draped hall, where each robot effigy comments on an image of its master’s work projected opposite onto giant bronze-framed screens? That rather perfect Starckian hell greets visitors to this exhibition of the designer’s “mental universe,” organized by the Pompidou’s Marie-Laure Jousset with, one imagines, a measure of ineffable input from the subject himself.

  • René Magritte, L’Appel des cimes (The call of the peaks), 1943, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 1/4".

    René Magritte, L’Appel des cimes (The call of the peaks), 1943, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 1/4".

    René Magritte

    Jeu de Paume
    1 place de la Concorde
    February 11–June 9, 2003

    Magritte (1898–1967) does not lack for major exhibitions, but this retrospective attempts new approaches to the ever-popular and influential Belgian prankster (the last big show was held as recently as 1998, in Brussels). The selection of 110 paintings and fifty watercolors moves from the artist’s first Surrealist period of the mid-’20s through the so-called impressionist and vache moments of the ’40s to his late works of coffins and petrification. The curatorial team, headed by Jeu de Paume director Daniel Abadie, throws a French intellectual lasso around the neck of this poet of enigma and anxiety.

  • Autoportrait aux sept doigts, 1912-1913.

    Autoportrait aux sept doigts, 1912-1913.

    Marc Chagall

    Grand Palais
    3 avenue du Général Eisenhower
    March 14–June 23, 2003

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    July 26–November 4, 2003

    The art of Marc Chagall (1887–1985) isn’t all bright colors and fiddlers on the roof. His pre–1910 Russian works, with their shtetl imagery of women giving birth, look ever more raw and bracing, and his 1920 murals for the State Jewish Chamber Theater in Moscow, first seen ten years ago, reveal him to be a lean, mean designer with a mordant wit. Now the biblical paintings from the late ’30s to the ’60s shed new light on the apocalypse of World War II, not to mention the advent of AbEx. As curated by Jean-Michel Foray, director of the Musée Nationale Message Biblique Marc Chagall in Nice (one of the great late-moderne Riviera pit stops), the show should further strengthen the case for Chagall as it integrates these rediscoveries.