Here are the Most Fascinating Art Exhibitions in Paris this Winter


The Musée du Luxembourg in winter.

Paris is constantly playing host to temporary art exhibitions. New collections show up each season, offering new perspectives and putting into view works that have never been publicly shown before. This winter in Paris is no exception. From lost Egyptian artifacts to the greatest Pop artist ever known, with themes of love, time and death, this art season is going to be a good one! Below are a few art exhibitions we think you’ll love.

Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers? and Splendour & Misery at the Musée d’Orsay


The Musée d’Orsay is putting on quite a show this winter with two big thematic collections. Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers examines the role women had in the development of photography as an artistic medium, from the very beginnings of photography as a science through its popularization and institutionalization. It also addresses the gender-biased struggles these women had to face in order to pursue photography freely.

The second show at the Musée d’Orsay, Splendour and Misery, is a bit more scandalous, examining the ways in which painters portrayed the hidden world of prostitution. Surprisingly, it was a world commonly alluded to in painting, even official art of the French Salon. What subtleties, metaphors or symbolism did they use in such scenes, and what was the status of the real individuals who took part in them? (Please be aware that some material in this exhibition may be considered too provocative for some viewers – we discourage bringing children to this show)

Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers? 1839-1945
Second Part: 1918-1945
14 October 2015 – 24 January 2016

Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910
22 September 2015 – 17 January 2016

Musée d’Orsay
1, rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris.
RER C Musée d’Orsay or Metro Solférino (line 12)


A Brief History of the Future at the Musée du Louvre

A Brief History of the Future is based on a book of the same name by Jacques Attali. It is unlike any other temporary exhibition, bringing together many contemporary artists and other works from different eras. These contemporary artists were commissioned to create pieces specifically for this show, so it’s not just a handful of old works reassembled in a new way – it’s an entirely new idea. The exhibition is organized around four themes:  the ordering of the world, the great empires, the expansion of the world, and the polycentric world we live in today. Using the past to understand the future is a complex notion, but regardless of how informative or perplexing it may be, it will certainly get you to think deeply, and that’s always a good thing.

A Brief History of the Future
From September 24, 2015 to January 4, 2016

Musée du Louvre
Hall Napoléon (under the Pyramid)
Metro Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station (line 1)

Osiris – Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries at the Institut du Monde Arabe

Winter Art Exhibitions in Paris

Ancient Egypt is one of the most mysterious and intriguing fields of archeological and historical study, so it’s easy to assume we’ve already learned all we can about it. However, a brand new discovery was made by Franck Goddio and his team recently: They found two sunken cities in the Nile Delta! It’s like the legend of Atlantis, except real, and Egyptian. Within those underwater cities were lots of artifacts from the cult of Osiris that are now on display in this exhibition. Accompanying Goddio’s finds are other masterpieces, some of which have never been outside of the museums in Egypt until now! It’s a truly unique opportunity to see all these pieces in one place, and in France.

Osiris – Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries
From September 8th, 2015 to January 31st, 2016

Institut du Monde Arabe
1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard
Place Mohammed-V 75005 Paris
Metro Jussieu (line 7) and Cardinal Lemoine (line 10)

Warhol Unlimited at the Musée d’Art Moderne

Winter Art Exhibitions in Paris

Andy Warhol, Shadows, 1978-79. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / ADAGP, Paris 2015

As the name suggests, this exhibition focuses on Warhol’s serial works, or works he produced multiple variations of. This was a very common theme throughout his entire career, from the famous Campbell’s soup cans to Marilyn Monroe’s portrait. Warhol was always trying to break the boundaries, undermine the art system, and challenge the viewer by using visual codes seen in pop culture. This exhibition will immerse you in that idea and may leave you seeing double.

Warhol Unlimited
October 2nd, 2015 to February 7th, 2016

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
Metro Alma-Marceau or Iéna (line 9)
RER C Pont de l’Alma


Fragonard in Love at the Musée du Luxembourg

Flirtations, blushing cheeks, winks and stolen glances – these are the details of Rococo painting that lend such a romantic, ebullient feeling to each scene. Fragonard was a master of this romance, and this exhibition showcases it. If you love romance and Marie Antoinette’s playful, girlish style, you’ll definitley enjoy this show!

Fragonard in Love – Suitor and Libertine
16 September 2015 to 24 January 2016

Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris
metro Saint Sulpice (line 4) and Mabillon (line 10)
RER B Luxembourg

The King is Dead at the Château de Versailles

We all know how the story goes: Marie Antoinette told the peasants to eat cake, then all the royals had their heads cut off because of it. This is such an extreme simplification that it was become a myth. What really happened in the days leading up to the King’s death, was it as simple as a quick drop of the guillotine blade? This exhibition reveals that the strict etiquette of the Baroque court didn’t stop when it came time for death. It was a huge event that represents a massive change in the order of the world, specifically how people, religion and politics intertwine.

The King is Dead
From October 27th, 2015 to February 21st, 2016

Château de Versailles
Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
RER C Versailles Château Rive Gauche

Picasso Mania at the Grand Palais

Winter Art Exhibitions in Paris

There have been so many exhibitions organized around the legendary Picasso, so many in fact that it’s getting a little tiresome! However, this one adds a level of criticality, examining how and why he rose to such a level of celebrity in the art world. Was it natural talent and cleverness, or was it merely the result of spontaneous circumstance and cultural perception? This exhibition will help you come up with an answer to that question.

Picasso Mania
07 October 2015 to 29 February 2016

Galeries nationales, Grand Palais
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris
Metro Champs-Elysées Clemenceau (line 1)

One Response to “Here are the Most Fascinating Art Exhibitions in Paris this Winter”

  1. Finding French Inspiration - In December | DISTANT FRANCOPHILE says:

    […] Winter in Paris is a great time to take in an extra cultural experience or two. You stay warm and dry and you are almost guaranteed to learn something. With all that in mind, I thought I should also share Paris Perfect’s list of fascinating, Parisian art exhibitions. You can check them out here. […]

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