Jeu de Paume, Paris

A museum here in Paris devoted to photography but the term is also to describe a type of tennis court used played without racquets. How does a tennis match happen without raquets?  Well they used to hit the ball with their hands, not so bizarre when you think of water polo and beach volleyball. Another connection we discovered recently is that nearby, a hotel on Ile de St Louis bears the same name and so I looked into it further to discover it was once the site of a tennis court. We visited the hotel to make a booking for a friend and still could not quite imagine how the space was once a tennis court but we have to believe them, after all why would they name their hotel Jeu de Paume. So now I am in the picture about why a library and gallery here has the same name, it was the site of a tennis court. Taken me some time to find that out in all the visits to Paris.

The gallery here is officially known as Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume and is based in the north west corner of the Tuileries gardens. Near the Concorde end. Do look at the website as I have found the English version for you to visit.

from 28 September 2010 until 06 February 2011
There has never been a proper retrospective of the work of André Kertész (Budapest, 1894–New York, 1985) in Europe, even though he donated all his negatives to the French state. And yet he is one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, both for the richness of his body of work and for the sheer longevity of his career.’

What luck we had in being able to see a restrospective of this seminal photographer who bequeathed his collection to France. He was originally from Hungary and spent most of his life in Paris and New York. As a young man living in Paris he formed friendships with many artists and photographed them and their studios. He was not a portrait photographer though, all his photographs were taken not to document the people or times but to express his feelings.

Many of the exhibits at the beginning of the exhibition were the size of a matchbox so there were magnifying plastic square discs for viewing.

I particularly like the photo of the stack of crates in the foreground of the Eiffel Tower, there are other favourites and the body (sic) of photos taken of nudes in distorting mirrors are fun and look like they would have influenced Picasso.

Many of the original publications that made his work world famous are exhibited in cabinets.

If you are a fan of photography you can look at this PetitJournal_Kertesz_GB I downloaded, it is in English.

Jeu de Paume are very up to date in disseminating information, they are on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc. If you look at the website you can join the email newsletter.


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