Don’t Miss in France: “1917” at Centre Pompidou-Metz

Centre Pompidou MetzTraveling to Paris this summer? Don’t miss a spectacular new exhibit at the Centre Pompidou-Metz-- featuring the largest Picasso in the world. Just over an hour by TGV from Paris, the city of Metz is a historic jewel in the Lorraine region (and recently welcomed the Tour de France cyclists upon completion of stage 6). When the Centre Pompidou opened in Metz a few years ago, the first branch of the famous Paris museum, it was an instant hit for architourists, art fans, locals, and interested citizens of neighboring Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. It’s worth the train ride just for the building itself, an architectural icon topped with a roof made of 16 kilometers of timber covered in a fiberglass and Teflon membrane.

Another added incentive: a fabulous new exhibit called “1917,” exploring the theme of artistic creation during wartime. As the centennial of WWI—the Great War—fast approaches, there will be numerous commemorative events across France, and this is the start. In the exhibit, some 1,500 diverse objects tell the story of one horrifying year. You’ll marvel at Matisse paintings, battlefield sketches by documentary war artists, and the artillery shells carved into chalices and sculptures by soldiers in the trenches. There’s even a number of famous readymades, like Duchamp’s “Fountain.” The exhibit concludes with the giant stage curtain painted by Picasso for the “Parade” ballet performed in Paris in 1917. The exhibit runs until September 24, 2012. For more information, visit and

Photo via Centre Pompidou-Metz/Shigeru Ban Architects Europe and Jean de Gastines Architectes/ Photo Roland Halbe

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