Hi Frugalistas! It’s not often I say something is a must do, but if you are planning a trip to Paris, are interested in art exhibitions in Paris, or just love art, then do read on. I first read of the Klimt exhibition in Paris on Facebook while I was travelling elsewhere in France. As I’m always looking for unusual things to do in Paris, I knew the Klimt exhibition was a current exhibition in Paris I wanted to see.
Who was Gustav Klimt?
Gustav Klimt was born in Austria in 1862. Recognised for his artistic ability while a teenager, he established a cooperative with his brother and a colleague, working on commissions for churches and other interiors. While his original works were quite traditional, in 1897 he began the Secession Movement to expose more cutting edge young artists to public show.
But it was on leaving the Secession Movement that Klimt created his most famous works. Influenced by his Viennese contemporary, Sigmund Freud, Klimt began painting in the erotic style that was to become his calling card.
Gustav Klimt died after a stroke in 1918. His paintings became for more recognised for their artistic merit after his death.
About the Klimt exhibition
Gustav Klimt Une Immersion Dans L’Art et La Musique (Gustav Klimt An Immersion in Art and Music) is the first exhibition at the new Atelier des Lumières in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Housed in a 19th century foundry, the Atelier is a unique space. It is the only digital art center in Paris that focuses exclusively on immersive exhibitions and has the world’s largest permanent multimedia installation covering 3 300 square metres of space – including on the floors and on walls up to 10 metres high. The Atelier alone makes the exhibition one of the most unique things to do in Paris.
The Atelier’s curators chose Klimt for their first exhibition to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of his death.
The exhibition also features a short display of the works of Egon Schiele and Friedensreich Hunderwasser, successors of Klimt.
How to book tickets for the Klimt exhibition Paris
The best way to visit the Klimt exhibition is to book your tickets on line on the Atelier des Lumières website. We booked our timed entry tickets online and were shocked at the queues of people waiting to buy tickets to enter even though it was midweek and late in the afternoon (we had booked the last timed entry available).
If you wish to visit the exhibition on a weekend, the ticket office is closed, so you must book online.
Although we booked our tickets while we were away, there was no need to worry about printing tickets – I scanned our tickets from the email I received without any problems.
A normal adult admission is €14.50 with discounted tickets available for children and those over 65years.
My experience of the Klimt exhibition
While there are many different things to do in Paris, I do think the Klimt exhibition must be one of the best exhibitions in Paris now.
The exhibition runs on a continuous loop, so once you are inside you will notice the exhibition happening all around you immediately. Upon entering, the first thing I noticed was how dark it was. Then I saw flowers. Flowers emerging on the walls and floors everywhere. They were even on the old foundry chimney stack. There was music playing, and a constant play of images emerging and retreating on the walls.
It was definitely like no art gallery or exhibition I had ever seen. In fact, it’s actually quite hard to explain the Klimt exhibition and do it justice. The art surrounded us, and wrapped us up in a gorgeous blanket of constantly evolving colours, textures and images. Because the art is digital, rather than the actual paintings, it is big, bright and constantly playing with its audience.
The Atelier itself is a large open space, with a mezzanine. Visitor numbers were well controlled so we were never crowded in and always had a perfect view of the show. We enjoyed standing on the stairs and then just sitting on the floor. There is not a lot of seating, but you are free to move around the exhibition, sit on the floor and sit and lean against the walls. I must admit I quite liked watching the art cross people’s faces as they watched.
When we visited the exhibition had only been opened for a couple of weeks. Most of our fellow visitors seemed to be French. There were a lot of young people, and a surprising number of children. While the exhibition was quite captivating, the people watching was also great.
First time visitors to Paris tend to head to the “big ticket” art galleries in Paris like the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. While they are very tempting, I do think that even if you are a first time visitor this exhibition really is one of the best art exhibitions Paris has to offer at the moment. It really is extraordinary in every sense.
Practical information for visiting the Klimt exhibition
The Gustav Klimt Une Immersion Dans L’Art et La Musique is at the Atelier de Lumières, located at 38 rue St Maur in the 11th arrondissement. Rue St Maur is a long street, with the Atelier being located at the southern end of the street. We found a pleasant bar on the corner diagonally opposite to enjoy a quiet drink and snack before we entered.
The exhibition is showing until 31 December 2018 although the Schiele and Hunderwasser part of the exhibition finishes in November.
The exhibition is wheelchair accessible, although prams and strollers are not permitted.
On weekends, admission is via timed admission ticket which need to be booked on line. The booking office is not open on weekends.
Like most timed entry admissions, once you are inside the Atelier you can stay as long as you like.
Author’s note: We booked and paid for our own tickets to this exhibition.
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