After two years, Paris is again full of American tourists. You hear them everywhere—on the streets and in the museums and Metro subway. This means that all the exhibitions I was planning to scout out are very crowded, but I‘m persevering….
The Musée d’Orsay has two temporary shows. The first is a spotlight on Aristide Maillol (1861-1944), a famed Art Deco sculptor who, it turns out, also created a lot of good paintings. The second exhibition is devoted to the life of Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), whose most famous works are houses he designed in his native Barcelona—a city that embraced the sinuous Art Nouveau style to a degree rivaled only by Vienna. Gaudi’s modernist architecture embodies both his city’s development in the last quarter of the 19th century and the delightfully over-the-top style of the period. The Paris exhibition traces Gaudi’s beginnings, when he submitted for his architectural diploma his vision of city structures (a fountain, a pavilion) that would blend neo-Gothic with Moorish elements and his own nascent style.