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Paris/NY at MCNY

   
 

  Gotham vs the City of Light!

   

 

  

 

In recent years, freedom fries and political squabbles have overshadowed the historically rich relationship between France and the United States.  The recently opened show Paris/New York: Design/ Fashion/ Culture/1925-1940 at the Museum of the City of New York reminds us of a time when the relationship was marvelously symbiotic.

For close to two decades, Paris and New York competed for cultural supremacy in the fields of architecture, design, fashion and the performing arts.  Upstart New York assimilated the best of French design, including Art Deco, first introduced at the 1925 Paris Exposition Des Arts Décoratifs.  The style made its way into everything from furniture design to the construction of the Chrysler building in 1930.  New York designers took Parisian influences and turned out sleek mass produced products for the domestic market.  The French, in turn, were mesmerized by jazz music, skyscrapers and everything that symbolized American progress and ingenuity.  The American expatriate singer Josephine Baker, depicted in a vibrant 1926 lacquer panel by Jean Dunand and Jean Lambert-Rucki, had all of Paris infatuated with her.  American writers and painters from Fitzgerald to Hemingway flocked en masse to Paris.

The show includes a dramatic promotional photograph of the French oceanliner Normandie superimposed on New York city streets as if it were sailing through Manhattan.  The image was created by Byron Co. in 1934 in commemoration of the ship's maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York the following year.  From its luxurious interior design to the French cuisine that it served, the Normandie represented the best of La Belle France.  This remarkable exhibit reminds us that an openness to international discourse at every level is as important in art and culture as it is in politics.  Salut!

 

Visit: Paris/NY at The Museum of the City of New York

Read: Art Deco: 1910-1939, Charlotte Benton

 

Tags:  art  museums  paris    

 

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