Belle Époque glamour goes on display in Sofia

The National Gallery for Foreign Art in Sofia will host one of its largest exhibitions in recent years starting October 25, when the splendour of the Belle Époque and the 1900 world’s fair in Paris goes on display.

The exhibition, covering seven gallery halls, will feature 141 works from the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts – fittingly, its building, Petit Palais, was built for the 1900 world’s fair, which also inspired the name of the exhibition, Paris 1900.

The exhibition is the cornerstone of the French embassy in Sofia cultural programme of the 2012-13 season, and is co-organised by the embassy, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture, the National Gallery forForeign Art and the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts. French bank Crédit Agricole is a partner of the exhibition.

Exhibits include paintings by Alfred Philippe Roll, Henri-Léopold Lévy and Jules Ernest Renoux capturing the sights of fin-de-siècle Paris, portraits of women Parisian women by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Charles Giron and Antonio La Gandara, as well as sculptures by Antoine Bourdelle and Auguste Rodin.

Theatre, ceramic art and even exquisite day-to-day items crafted in the artistic spirit of the time are all given a spot in the exhibition.

Plans of the Bulgarian pavilion at the 1900 world’s fair will be exhibited outside the gallery, while rare documents relating to Bulgaria’s participation in the fair will be on display inside. A film of Paris world’s fair visitors, shot by the Lumière brothers, is to be played on constant loop inside the gallery, with Bulgarian subtitles.

The official opening of the exhibition on October 25 will be attended by Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev, Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov, French minister for European affairs Bernard Cazeneuve, Unesco director-general Irina Bokova and French ambassador in Sofia Philippe Autié, as well as Crédit Agricole’s chairman of supervisory board Gérard Marchand.

The exhibition will run until January 13 2013, when the gallery will shut down for major reconstruction that will see it re-emerge as part of the National Museum Complex in Sofia, better known by its colloquial title of the “Bulgarian Louvre”.

(Photo: Todor Bozhinov/Wikimedia Commons)




The Sofia Globe staff

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