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Review: Gustav Klimt at l’Atelier des Lumières- PARIS- a MUST SEE

Gustav Klimt at L’ Atelier des Lumières -

A MUST SEE in Paris

a dazzling immersion of lights

in the City of Lights


Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2018 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Klimt photo More

This month’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 2 Oz of Gustav Klimt, A Dash of Beethoven, A Sprinkle of Wagner, and a Splash of Visual Splendor- Enjoy!

The perfect Cultural Cocktail involves a blend of music and visual arts and the Gustav Klimt exhibit at Atelier des Lumières is a mesmerizing, intoxicating blend of artistic immersion, NOT to be missed.

Atelier des Lumières means “Studio Of Lights.” The site itself is unorthodox and compelling. The once dark, drab, former iron factory transforms into a feast for the senses, producing an artistic high. 140 laser video projectors illuminate the 16,000 square foot exhibit hall of the former iron factory with golden, gilded images as classical music soars through the space.


Klimt 8

To call it an exhibition is an understatement: the event is pure high-octane spectacle. My 3-year-old son, sitting next to me, asked, “Mom, is this an opera?”

The themes of the exhibit include Neoclassical Vienna, Klimt and the Vienna Secession, Klimt’s Use of Gold, Klimt’s Vision of Nature, Egon Schiele, and Klimt’s Images of Women. During the show, the space is filled with the music of Beethoven, Strauss, Chopin, Wagner, Mahler, Puccini, and Philip Glass.


Klimt Photo 3

It is apt that the music of Beethoven plays a key role in this exhibit, specifically Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Gustav Klimt created the Beethoven Frieze for the Fourteenth Exhibition of the Viennese Secession in 1902. Klimt’s Frieze was a paean to Beethoven’s Ninth, the Ode to Joy. Hearing the Ode to Joy while seeing the image of the Beethoven Frieze was a viscerally impactful experience, a multi-dimensional illustration of artistic inspiration.

Perhaps the iron factory can be understood as a metaphor for the human mind, the tabula rasa, the blank slate capable of being filled with wonder, and able to process a myriad of sensory experiences. Immensely ironic and a pleasant surprise was that despite the medium of high-tech digital media, relatively few people were taking selfies. The visitors were deeply absorbed in the immersive artistic experience, and the atmosphere pervading the room was one of hushed awe. A sense of respectfulness, of the sacred, of time standing still embodied the space.

Klimt photo 1

Because of the transcendent nature of this experience is a MUST-SEE for those in Paris. 

TIP: This is a popular show- purchase your tickets ONLINE before the show as it does sell-out (and tickets are sold exclusively online for weekend shows)- After witnessing a tourist without an online ticket turned away, I realize that this is a MUST!



TIP #2:  The crown of Jewel of this exhibit is the Klimt screening: there are 2 short films prior to this exhibit; quite frankly they’re a bit too loud & psychedelic- save your time for the Klimt feature ONLY

Running until November 8

The exhibit was created by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto, and Massimiliano Siccardi, with the musical collaboration of Luca Longobardi. Its curator was Beatrice Avanzi.

l’Atelier des Lumières

38 rue Saint Maur, 75011

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Monet’s Water Lillies at L’Orangerie- Paris


Monet 1

At Monet’s opening at L’Orangerie

Art critic Louis Gillet


monet 3“An Astonishing painting,

without pattern,

without borders...

there is no sky

no horizon

hardly any


or stable points of reference

Another Monet

enabling the viewer to orient himself,

just completely arbitrary boundaries

between actual space and pictorial space.”



Jardin des Tuileries

Place de la Concorde

75001 PARIS

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Greetings from Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week!

Greetings from Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week!

Haute Couture Automne Hiver 2018

While fireworks light the sky in the US during 4th of July weekend, across the pond, fashion fireworks take over Paris for Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018 Fashion week.

The city becomes a fashion Mecca with cultural landmarks like the Garnier Opera House and Musée Rodin transformed into runways for fashion designers to showcase their latest inspirations.

Cultural Cocktail Hour Editor-in-Chief Leticia Sanchez reports from Paris Haute Couture Fashion week. One unforgettable creation was the Azulant Akora Couture Show held at La Maison Champs Elysées. Stay tuned for the full report!

eti haute couture

Cultural Cocktail Hour Editor-in-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez

Azulant Akora Couture Show

Monday July 2nd

La Maison Champs Elysées


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Sneak Peak- “Icons of Style” at the Getty Center

Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911–2011


Upcoming, June 26 – October 21

West Pavilion, Lower Level

Madame Gres


Woman’s evening dress by Madame Grès

and her thoughts on the medium of fashion:

“I wanted to be a sculptor.

For me it’s the same thing to work

the fabric or the stone.”


For a full report on Icons of Style at the Getty Center, check back on CCH later this summer.

This week CCH is heading to Paris for a few Cultural Cocktails, including Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, so stay tuned!

Wishing all my readers an art and music-filled summer!

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Cultural Cocktail Hour reports from Paris: Garnier and the Paris Opera

A brief history of Le Palais Garnier: Persona Non Grata and the Opera Bombs

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Paris Photography and Text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Persona Non Grata

On the exuberant opening night at Le Palais Garnier, the Paris opera, one person was not on the guest list: Charles Garnier, the opera’s architect. In order to attend the inauguration ceremony with his wife, the landmark’s architect had to pay one hundred and twenty francs out of his own pocket. Persona Non Grata. Persona Non Gratis.

Garnier’s status had changed from revered architect to social pariah due to the shift in Paris’s political landscape. Garnier had been selected during a competition in 1861 under the reign of Napoleon III. The opening ceremony took place fourteen years later, under a vastly different regime. The government of the Third Republic had an aversion to any associations from the Second Empire, which included the Napoleon-selected Charles Garnier.

How did Napoleon III first come up with the idea for a new opera? 

The answer lies in two operas that took the phrase “the performance bombed” to a whole new level.

Opera Bombs

Napoleon III became obsessed with constructing a new opera house after escaping the Grim Reaper en route to the former opera house at Rue Le Peletier. On January 14, 1858, Felice Orsini and his cohorts hurled three bombs at the imperial carriage, killing eight people and wounding one hundred and forty-two others. The emperor and empress, however, survived and attended the evening’s performance of Rossini’s William Tell. Even if the performance bombed, you could always count on the Napoleons to put in a cameo appearance.

Napoleon III’s uncle, Napoleon I also faced an operatic death threat. On Christmas Eve, 1800, a bomb exploded as his carriage headed to the opening night of Haydn’s Creation, narrowly missing the emperor. How’s that for a Christmas present?

Napoleon III subsequently commissioned Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann to help rebuild Paris in a way that would increase the city’s security. Napoleon III envisioned fortified avenues extending from the Louvre and Les Jardins de Tuileries all the way up the Rue De La Paix. By widening the avenues of Paris, including the path leading up to the new opera, Napoleon III and Haussmann hoped to decrease the ability of pesky troublemakers to set up dangerous barricades on narrow streets.  

Now, if you happen to catch a performance that unfortunately bombs, be grateful that no dynamite or shrapnel is involved.

For more photography of the Paris Opera, please see the next article on Cultural Cocktail Hour.          

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Cultural Cocktail Hour heading to Paris!

Cultural Cocktail Hour will head to Paris at the end of this Month! (the last week of June)

In the meantime here are some photos from CCH’s 2012 exploration of Paris

All Paris Photography  © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Paris flowers

Paris Memories 2Paris Memories 1Paris memory more

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In the news: Sharks prefer Jazz over Classical Music

 According to a study, Sharks are more responsive to Jazz than to Classical Music.

((No wonder I haven’t seen any sharks sitting next to me when I listen to Brahms...) )

National Geographic News Link:

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In the news: The missing Caravaggio and “the Pizza Connection”

 The missing Caravaggio and the “Pizza Connection”

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

Caravaggio's Nativity

A pilfered painting by Caravaggio has been in the news this month, thanks to an article from Smithsonian magazine that offers new clues to the art mystery. The missing 17th century work, the Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence is on the FBI’s list of Top Ten Art Crimes. The painting was stolen in 1969 from the Oratorio di San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily where it hung above the altar. One theory posits that the painting ended up in the hands of Gaetano Badalamenti, a mobster who spent his last seventeen years in prison as the leader of a “pizza connection” drug trafficking ring.  Other hypotheses include that the painting was gnawed by rats, damaged in a fire, or left in deserted farmhouse.

According to Smithsonian, Gaetano Badalamenti, the mobster who ran the “Pizza Connection” ring showed the painting to an elderly Swiss art dealer. The mobster claims that the Swiss art dealer “sat and cried, and cried” upon seeing the work before rather callously declaring that in order to sell it, he would have to divide the masterpiece into pieces. The spurious Swiss dealer has since passed away, according to commission officials.

(Link to the Smithsonian article:

However, the most intriguing piece about the missing Caravaggio (from contains information from art sleuth Charley Hill who understands the convoluted tapestry of the various parties involved: the gangsters, church officials, the Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza.

In this article below, Hill offers us a glimmer of hope:

“I acknowledge that it’s probably a rolled-up cadaver of a Caravaggio, but it’s not destroyed. “

Painting above: Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence, 1609 by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. 


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Renoir and Boston


Renoir’s “The Seine At Asnieres” reminds me of my boat ride this week at the Boston Public Garden


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Alliums in Bloom at the Boston Public Garden


Claude Monet — ‘I must have flowers, always, and always” 

Boston Public Garden signBoston Public Garden

Bostob Public Garden

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