2017-07-13 / Arts & Entertainment News

HAPPENINGS

The Norton celebrates Bastille Day
BY JANIS FONTAINE


“Untitled (Boat),” after 1898, printed after 1929, a gelatin silver print, from original glass plate negative by Eugène Atget. Printed by Berenice Abbott. 
COURTESY PHOTO “Untitled (Boat),” after 1898, printed after 1929, a gelatin silver print, from original glass plate negative by Eugène Atget. Printed by Berenice Abbott. COURTESY PHOTO Bonjour, mes amis, from Le Musee d’Art de Norton!

Once a year, the Norton Museum of Art goes French to celebrate one of France’s most important holidays: La Fête Nationale or French National Day. We know it as Bastille Day.

The celebrations commemorate “the storming of the Bastille,” an infamous medieval prison, by the citizens of Paris. The final straw was the dismissal of the finance minister. Residents swept through the city hoping to free thousands of inmates unjustly imprisoned by the corrupt monarchy. Even though the revolt only freed seven prisoners, it marked the turning point and shifted the momentum of the French Revolution, which led to the country’s independence.

Across France, towns celebrate with parades, and the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is the Bastille Day parade held on Paris’ famed Champs-Élysées every July 14. And while the Norton doesn’t have a parade planned, its celebration is bigger than ever. With solid public interest and a plethora of French art masterpieces in its collection, including 19th century and 20th century European painting and sculpture by Brancusi, Gauguin, Matisse, and Picasso, the Norton moved the celebration from a weekday to a Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. July 15.


Les Nuages will perform at the Norton Museum of Art’s Bastille Day festivities. 
COURTESY PHOTO Les Nuages will perform at the Norton Museum of Art’s Bastille Day festivities. COURTESY PHOTO At the center of the celebration is the exhibition “French Connections,” featuring works from the Norton’s collection of photography that explore France’s people, environs and culture. Rachel Gustafson will lead discussion of the photography in the collection from 1 to 1:40 p.m. in the Davis Gallery.

The popular Spotlight Talks take place all afternoon. First up, a tour that features Georges Braque and Les Soeurs Chevalme at 12:30 and 12:45 in the Galleries, followed by Gustave Courbet and Valerie Belin at 1:30 and 1:45 p.m. At 2:30 and 2:45 p.m., talks feature Robert Delaunay and Eugene Atget. The talk at 3:30 and 3:45 p.m. focuses on Claude Monet and Yasumasa Morimura.

Bastille Day is co-hosted by the Multilingual Language and Culture Society in West Palm Beach. Founder and director Natacha Koblova will teach a 40-minute “French 101” class at 2 p.m. in the Davis Gallery. Between 1 and 2:30 p.m. short films, including the classic “The Red Balloon,” will be shown in the Fisher Program Space.

Live entertainment features a performance of French music and songs by Les Nuages (The Clouds), which features vocalist Gail Darling with Bob Kendall on guitar and banjo, Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino on accordion and soprano sax and Kent Demonbreun playing stand-up bass. They’ll play a selection of French love songs and gypsy jazz, with Darling performing in French and English as well as Spanish and Portuguese. The quartet performs from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Fisher program space.

Curator Glenn Tomlinson will lead a tour, “French Styles in America: from Impressionism to Art Deco,” at 4 p.m. Meet at visitor services desk by 3:55 p.m. From 3 to 3:30 p.m., Renate Gross will lead a tour en Française (in French) discussing sculptures by Picasso and Brancusi, both of whom worked in Paris.

For kids and families, there’s plenty to do. Storytime with Kate Losee takes place in the Davis Gallery at 12:15 p.m. A special DIY art activity for families will take place most of the afternoon in the Central Courtyard, beginning at 12:30 p.m. The kids may find inspiration by watching painter Hope Reis work. She’ll be in the courtyard painting en plein air. A scavenger hunt available via mobile phone is available to play all day.

Admission to Bastille Day is free, as is admission every day. Food and drink, including crepes and baguette sandwiches, will be available for purchase from noon to 4:30 p.m. The Norton is at 1451 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-5196, or visit www.norton.org. ¦

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