Sunday, February 07, 2021

Secrets de la Beauté exhibit, maison de la Culture de Japon

In October I saw this poster in the metro and ran there same day. I have to stop running. I keep forgetting this is not New York 

The point is in this somewhat off the beaten track museum in the 15eme,  Maison de la Culture du Japon close by the Eiffel tower has consistently extraordinary exhibits. This one was no exception. Yes, more Japanese prints PBers. Bear with me please 

Even the walls of this exhibit are painted to match the woodblock prints in shades of coral and Prussian blue. The focuses is on essential everyday beauty treatments and accessories used by Japanese women of the Edo period.

Exquisite hand mirrors, compacts, powder jars, mixing bowls, makeup brushes.

A small lacquered set of drawers - all treasured works of art. 

How unusual that the finest artists of the day chose to record these daily beauty routines Everyone can relate to in prints.

Interesting that today’s beauty magazines bombard us with images of perfect, unobtainable women. Who can relate?  The work in process aspect is completely lost. 

This video of a contemporary geisha traditionally applying thick white paint to her face.
A woman checking the back view of her ‘do’. Who hasn’t done that? I should do it more often.

Miniature-sized sample wigs for women to choose their hair styles.

A woman standing before her mirror - an abstract, geometric mass of printed patterns. One foot, one arm and her head emerges, combing a long stream of hair. Immediately recognizable yet not very realistic.

No wonder Degas was an avid collector of Japanese prints, based his pastel bathers on these woodblock prints. Women, caught in an intimate moment, doing their daily ablutions. Nothing sexual about these images. A moment of everyday life captured.
Who would think the ‘Gibson Girl’s’ upsweep was based on elaborate hairstyles of Japanese women. But they are according to Japonisme expert Lise Martinot. The exhibit is on till March 6th 🤞 Thank you for buying the new artists 6-pack It’s raining again today 🌂 in Paris. The other day was clear, in the 50’s. Parisians were perched on the banks/berges, contemplating the rising Seine, meditating as usual. I grabbed a shot and ran as usual. This could be a Hokusai landscape ☂️☂️☂ 


  1. Carol, you are you fortunate to have so many art exhibits available to you. These Japanese beauty routines so universal. All women want to look their best. I read about the rising Seine, stay dry.💦🌂

  2. This was so interesting, Carol. Paris is amazing...the endless art exhibits, shows, fairs. Hope we can all return for them soon. In the meantime, thanks for bringing this to us. Stay dry!

  3. Ga, we do have so many wonderful exhibitions in Paris. They are my lifeline. Unfortunately they are all closed for the time being because of Covid. I thought I would go back and show you some I have seen but not posted.

  4. Beautiful. Thank you.

  5. I hope there are lots of great exhibits during our next trip, now scheduled for April/May 2022. I always check the back of my hair before going out (don't want any bald spots showing). Hugs to you both.

  6. Hahaha Oh Suki :)))
    Maybe I should do it too...

  7. your on-the-run photo of the high-water Seine made me yearn to be there--who cares about the weather!
    Here in the Chicago area we're still in deep freeze with yet another day in single digits and snow.

  8. I once was in Chicago in Winter. Ouch Ouch
    You must be made of sturdy stuff there.
    Last week Paris was 50’s. This week - low 30’s :((
    Single digits? Bon courage as they say.

  9. Great PB post! Learned a lot on a couple of levels: Japanese culture, and the intricacy of the skillful drawings. I have your small w/c of a rose (w/the word "Paris," and your signature) posted above my kitchen sink, where I can enjoy it many times a day. Well done!

  10. Once again - thank you for this beautiful edition of PB - went to Japan twice in 2019 and, have always loved their art but it's all part of a beautiful culture.

  11. Meredith. Mullens12:52 PM

    So … is this “maison” museum open now? Looks interesting.

  12. No museums are open at the moment. Only art galleries..

  13. Fabulous exhibit! Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your blog and art. I do enjoy reading and seeing your beautiful artwork. I have a soft spot Bear.

  14. Love Italy2:24 PM

    I've always loved Degas' bather paintings. I have a few small prints of some. I bet this was a great exhibit. I'd have enjoyed that. Always loved these Japanese prints. Glad you got to see it and share it with us.

  15. Bonnie7:29 PM

    Incredibly interesting through your observations. Wow.
    I stopped in my tracks when you showed the Gibson Girls.

  16. Apart from the exhibit, I think your photo at the end (if you cropped off the road) looks very much like the Japanese style in the woodblocks with the stark winter colors.

    The exhibit looks fabulous and I love how they coordinated walls with the paint.

  17. You're right about the Museum.It looks a little bit obscure, hidden and drolement isole.


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