Dans L’Atelier: A Contiguous Look To An Artist’s Life.

Have you ever wondered, what would look like the place where the masterpieces of art were created? Was it bright or dark? Was it a spacious room or just a small corner? Were the tools neatly arranged or the whole place seemed like it had been wiped out by a tornado? All these questions will be answered in “Dans l’atelier”, an exhibition at Petit Palais, which acts as a bridge to bring the public closer the private life of artists.

The exhibition was arranged in the order of time, from 19th century to the modern days, however, the audience is greeted with studio pictures of contemporary artists. Photographed mostly by Gautier Deblonde, these photos bring to the public another view to the mind of some well-known names of the 21st century, reflecting what they are thinking, reading, doing and what factors influence their creativity.

Marlène Mocquet in her studio in Paris, September 2010

Marlène Mocquet in her studio in Paris, September 2010 © Marie-Paule Nègre

The time stream then truly starts in the 19th century with mostly photos, occasional paintings and a few documented journals. As stereotypes as they are in the way of dressing, it is clear that the artists had invested quite some time turning their ateliers into small museums with relics collected from all over the world. Each picture represents not only the composure that makes an artist in the 19th century but also a treasure chest in the artist’s own sense: this man would have his studio all covered with Arabian tapestry, another one was obsessed with arms and guns, that other man in the corner decorated his walls with African masks.

It all changed when a new century came. The closer we get to modern time, the more the studios look more like a place dedicated simply to creativity and work. Artists of the 20th century chose to dive deep down into their personality other than their hobbies, and thus, from then on, the exhibition becomes more like a roller-coaster of emotions and surprises. One picture would show a neat, minimalistic living space of Mondrian, a few steps ahead it’s the dark, edgy, industrial-like studio of Giacometti and just on the other side of the wall, it’s a messy, close-to-disaster workspace of Bacon.

Giacometti in his studio, 1957

Giacometti in his studio, 1957 © Robert Doisneau.

working Picasso, 1955

working Picasso, 1955 © André Villers

Of course, studios are not enough depicting an artist’s life, whether they are systematized or disarranged, working alone or in groups, there are still a lot of aspects to be explored. The exhibition paid quite a close attention to factors that could have an impact on artists’ lives, the academies where they received their education, the family members who they spend most of their time with or even the pet that would become their best friend in town. There is also a specific area dedicated to the models, the crucial element in making an artwork.

Nude studio in Montparnasse, 1936-1938

Nude studio in Montparnasse, 1936-1938 © Willy Maywald

Throughout the exhibition, the audience would have more understanding of how studios would develop in accordance with the era’s requirements and thus, to have an insightful peer into the personalities of artists. The way they see life, the perception of their mind, the influences that sharp their styles, other than looking for them in the artwork, isn’t it also interesting to look into the place where these artworks are created?

Picasso's palette, 1955

Picasso’s palette, 1955 © André Villers

The exhibition “Dans L’atelier” will be held at le Petit Palais from April 5th to July 17th, opening time from 10:00 to 18:00 Tuesday to Sunday, night opening on Friday until 21:00. Visit here for more information and tell us what you think about this event.

Written by Trang Nguyen