“The beauty of lines” an amazing photographic collection at the Caillebotte property
“Creating desire in relation to the photographic object is important in the digital age.”
Marc Donadieu, Chief Curator at the Musée de l’Elysée Lausanne
Orangery, kiosk, aviary… Spending an afternoon at the Caillebotte property (Yerres, Essonne) is like being timeless in a 19th century family property with its English-style park, its Swiss chalet arranged by Martial the artist’s brother, a vegetable garden and an ornamental farm now devoted to temporary exhibitions. Thus Gustave’s passions are organized in this resort near Paris where he devotes himself to the happiness of painting and cabotage with Martial who practices photography becoming one of the reporters of the great bourgeoisie of the Second Empire. Later on, after their mother’s death and the sale of the property, the two brothers settled in Le Petit Gennevilliers, attracted by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris. Gustave then turned to a new period in his life marked by sailing and high-level regattas, leading him to develop major inventions in yachting. All these facets are retraced in the tour of the Caillebotte house, which remained in the pure spirit of the time.
So what can the resolutely vintage black and white prints of the New York couple Sonder Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla do in such a setting?
A story of encounters as often and it is by Tatyana Franck, director of the Elysée Museum in Lausanne that the project was born, taken over by the Yerres team. Supported by Pauline Martin, they imagine the prism of the line to unfold the course and make a choice among the 1500 masterpieces of the couple’s 20th and 21st centuries. A price party that has imposed itself, as Marc Donadieu, the new curator, points out, in the face of the requirements of the couple who do not hesitate to wait twenty years to acquire certain prints such as Walker Evans’ “Saratoga Springs” or Imogen Cunningham’s “Unmade bed”. Their principle is to decide together, with few exceptions. After a real crush on Eugène Atget, he asked the curator of WOAgri at the time, John Szarkowski, to introduce him to the medium, before meeting Celso Gonzalez-Falla, his partner in the city and on the scene of the great collectors. He joins her in the adventure practicing this medium himself and buy their first piece together, aMapplethorpeexposed in the course. It is at home in the elegant Upper East Side residence that they like to convene their collection each year on their vertiginous stairs.
“The beauty of the lines,” while classic, exudes visual strength. It opens with the 3 prints of Atget, the trigger of the adventure, acquired for some 250 dollars each at the time (!), but we also discover Rineke Dijkstra, Stéphane Couturier or Loretta Lux as if to illustrate that the search for coherence does not prevent us from being guided also by intimacy and emotion. From the vertical straight line of the Empire State Building by Lewis Hine with this tightrope walker to Edward Burtynsky’s bamboo scaffolding in China, we document this disturbing reality, we glorify Margaret Bourke-White’s exploit with the Washington Bridge in New York, when Sugimoto’s post-romantic horizon lines oppose a certain coldness in Robert Adams or Lewis Baltz (the new topographers). We are at the heart of the human being even if the line disappears in front of the play of looks, verticals are drawn with Leon Levinstein who focuses on anatomical details or Berenice Abbott whose self-portrait is close to the portrait of his mother by Alexander Rodchenko. Worrying strangeness in Cig Harvey confronted with Julie Blackmon’s domestic and dissonant interior. Findings from the hanging!
On the first floor, there are abstractions with Aaron Siskind, Minor White, the Italian Augusto Cantamessa, the Cuban Abelardo Morell (Book with Wavy Pages) or more recently Alison Rossiter (light experiments), Candida Höfer and Barbara Kasten.
Then, there are the voluptuous curves of nature ( Karl Blossfeld, Vik Muniz, Mark Klett, Edward Weston, Bill Brandt…) and the body: Erotic veiled by Man Ray, lines of the dancer Bill T Jones of Mapplethorpe, black man’s body on white horse by Laurent Eli Badessi, athlete reviewed and corrected by Andres Serrano.
It is with the portrait of Sondra by Andy Warhol (1988) who closes this panorama that we take the measure of the personality of this collector, of her relationship to images, her “babies” as she calls them.
She can rest assured, they are at the Caillebotte property well cared for!
Catalogue published by Editions Noir sur Blanc / Elysée Lausanne, on sale in the bookshop area of Ferme Ornée and Maison Caillebotte.
On the first floor of the Ornée Farm, also discover the photographer Isabella Gherardi, “Interior Gardens”.
For lovers of painting, do not miss during your bucolic stroll, at the Orangery, the exhibition of the Swiss Robert Wehrlin (1903-1964), still unknown in France.
The beauty of the lines
until December 2nd
Ferme Ornée – Centre d’Art et d’Expositions8
rue de Concy – 91330 Yerres
(Access by RER D)
Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 14h00 – 18h30
8 € (3 € for Yerrois)
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