Paris without Regret: Foreign Artists in Paris, 1944-1968
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
November 21, 2018 - April 22, 2019
This show explores the contribution of foreign artists who, after the Second World War, were working in Paris, a city which still preserved a certain aura surrounding its mythical modern embodiment as a “City of Light” in the 19th century. Paris at that time, rebuilding politically, socially and economically after the war, was trying to revamp the old image of the “School of Paris”, which had always relied upon the contribution of émigré artists for the development of a modern discourse. Paris was seen as a place of freedom, where individual personalities and identities were allowed and encouraged and, equally, measured meticulously according to a form of Cartesian restraint.
This broad collective exhibition reflects the vitality and vivacity of the art scene in all its complexity, displaying the different creative trends which took hold in the city inside and outside the School of Paris at a time of fervent political debate, held to the backdrop of the new global stage opened by the Cold War. From a broad array of artistic fields — from painting and sculpture to jazz, literature and film — foreign artists dealt with mounting tension by bringing their approaches and hopes to the Parisian milieu in an attempt to connect with the tradition of international modernism but without losing a grip on their own cultural identity.
Ellsworth Kelly spent six years in France on the GI Bill from 1948-1954. His La Combe I, included in this exhibition from the Whitney Museum of American Art’s collection, is one of four paintings made in the early 1950s which were inspired by shadows of railings on a staircase at the Villa La Combe in Meschers.[More Information]