Hamilton in France students visited the exhibition Being Modern: Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the first exhibition in Paris of the New York-based Museum of Modern Art’s collection, at the Louis Vuitton Fondation on Friday, Dec. 1. This outing followed previous outings to Paris’ catacombs and a boat trip on the Seine. The Hamilton in France program is committed to engaging students with cultural opportunities in Paris and discovering different aspects of the city.
The group started their visit on the 3rd and 4th terraces to enjoy a view of Paris. Professor of French Roberta Krueger, resident director of Hamilton in France for the academic year, described the Fondation saying, “the building feels like a giant ship afloat above its urban context.” She continued, “The view from the third- and fourth-floor outdoor terraces is a fascinating study in contrasts: to the northwest, there is the imposing contemporary business complex of La Défense, with its glass and steel towers; to the south, the peaceful woods of the Bois de Boulogne, with residential suburbs in the distance.”
Hamilton in France is a Paris-based program that allows students to study for one or two semester(s) of their junior year. It was founded by the College more than 50 years ago.
The exhibition is showcased throughout three levels of the Fondation. Among the iconic artworks on loan are Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, and Edward Hopper’s House by the Railroad. The exhibition also chronicles MoMA's history since its establishment in 1929.
For the students taking the Hamilton Consortium class, History of French Painting, it was a great opportunity to see paintings by late-19th century French painters, such as Paul Cézanne’s Bather and Paul Signac’s Portrait of Félix Fénéon.
A wing of the building is dedicated to exhibiting the steps taken and types of materials used in the creation of the Fondation, which is known for its unusual architecture. Krueger noted that American-Canadian architect, Frank Gehry, was the structure’s designer.
During the Hamilton in France orientation in Biarritz in September, the group made an excursion to the city of Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim Museum, also designed by Gehry. That trip was one of two that Hamilton in France students made to northern Spain—the second being to Hondarribia.
“Spending an afternoon in the open spaces of the Fondation Louis Vuitton allows the viewer a refreshing perspective on Paris and makes for a delightful escape from the confines of the city,” said Krueger. After the visit, Krueger and the students enjoyed goûter, or tea-time, at the Fondation’s café, Le Frank.