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Panoramic view of Les Arts Décoratifs © D4m1en/WikiCommons
Panoramic view of Les Arts Décoratifs © D4m1en/WikiCommons
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5 Things To Do & See At Les Arts Décoratifs In 2016

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 15 August 2016
Since its founding in 1882, Les Arts Décoratifs has tried, in its own words, ‘to keep alive in France the culture of the arts which seeks to make useful things beautiful’. It has done so, in spite of prevailing trends and technologies, by striving to strengthen the bonds between producers of culture and captains of industry, and likewise the processes of design and production. The society has three locations across Paris: the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Library des Arts Décoratifs, both attached to the Louvre, at 107 rue de Rivoli, the Musée Nissim de Camondo at 63 rue de Monceau, and the Ecole Camondo, a school of design and interior architecture at 266 Boulevard Raspail. Below is a rundown of five of its exhibitions still to be enjoyed in 2016.

De La Caricature À L’Affiche 1850-1918

📅 Thursday, February 18th – Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Now entering its final weeks, this exhibition — loosely translated as From the Caricature to the Poster — takes a close look at the influence of caricaturists during the crisis years of French poster-making between 1900 and 1918. This gloomy chapter was sandwiched by its golden years at the end of the 19th century — think classic dancehall imagery by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec — and its rebirth following the First World War. Comprised entirely of works from the museum’s permanent collection, the aim of this exhibition is to reconstruct a particular niche in design history and place it firmly within its broader political and economic contexts.


📅 Thursday, March 10th – Sunday, 18th September 2016

In the first exhibition of its kind by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, over 700 Barbie dolls have been displayed over an area of 1,500 square meters alongside works from the museum’s collections, including outfits by designers like Paco Rabanne, Thierry Mugler, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela and Christian Louboutin as well as works by contemporary artists, newspaper clippings, photography, and archival footage. Barbie is in part a celebration of a beloved (and loathed) toy which has endured since its creation in 1959 but also an examination of the historical and sociological contexts that have precipitated its continual evolution.

Roger Tallon, Design In Motion

📅 Thursday, September 8th, 2016 – Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Roger Tallon, perhaps the greatest French industrial designer of the 20th century, donated his archives to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs before his death in 2011. This major retrospective of his 60-year career — out of which came era-defining creations like the TGV Duplex, the Module M400 spiral staircase, and the MACH 2000 Lip watch — examines the way in which he constructed and embodied a new design philosophy, one fundamentally industrial and yet open to influence and inspiration from all areas of contemporary creation. The exhibition will feature his most famous objects and the drawings and models used in their design and production.

L’Esprit Du Bauhaus, L’Objet En Question

📅 Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 – Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The Bauhaus school resided in the German cities of Weimar, Dessau, and finally Berlin across its 14-year history between 1919 and 1933. It brought together painters, architects, artisans, engineers, actors, musicians, photographers, and designers in order to invent products which married artistry with mass production and to reinvent the way in which life could be led. The exhibition will place particular emphasis on the daily operations of the Bauhaus’ studios. If you would like to brush up on the basics of this art movement before you go, take a look at the video below.

Tenue Correcte Exigée: Quand Le Vêtement Fait Scandale

📅 Thursday, December 1st, 2016 – Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

The history of fashion is best told as one of controversy. From the first pair of trousers for women to skirts for men, creations on the catwalk have led to commotions on the street. This exhibition highlights such iconic moments — more often than not those when gender norms were challenged — in the development of fashion from the 14th century to today, using characteristic garments and fashion accessories, portraits, caricatures, advertisements, and other miscellaneous objects. For an alternative historical fashion snapshot, check out the video below.

📅 Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00am – 6:00pm (last entry at 5:30pm). Late night Thursdays until 9:00pm (excluding September 18th to October 18th, 2016).

Full entry is 11€ and reduced entry is 8.50€.

📍Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris