NY diary: Van Cleef, the Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim Museum

After guiding you through bustling Midtown Manhattan and its skyscrapers, it’s time to enjoy a bit of cultural bliss in calmer settings. As Maman Ritournelle is a great appreciator of art and beautiful things, I decided to treat her to three remarkable stops on Museum Mile: the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim. This portion of 5th Avenue bordering Central Park in the posh Upper East Side is a true art lover’s heaven.

What better way to start the day than wandering through room after room filled with the most precious jewelry? The Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit held at the Cooper-Hewitt is a magnificent feast for the eyes and an impressive demonstration of the brand’s know-how. Its history is most interesting as well since the house’s necklaces and diamonds have graced so many famous women.

As my favorite item of the exhibit, this diamond necklace is of course a new addition to my wish list. But that’s it for the sneak peek! Van Cleef is worthy of its very own blog post, which I will share with you very soon.

Our next stop was the Neue Galerie dedicated to early 20th century Austrian and German art and design. Once a private mansion, the museum is owned by Ronald S. Lauder, son of Estée Lauder, father of socialite Aerin Lauder and former ambassador to Austria.

Once inside the Neue Galerie, you are transported to another country and time. The building has an old European refined feel to it and the place seems to be a favorite among New York’s German-speaking community.

What I find most interesting in Expressionism is its depiction of the period’s social revolution. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories were in full bloom; a couch similar to the one he had in his practice is on display, and you are encouraged to lie down on it and pretend you are telling him all your dark secrets! Artists preferred to express emotions, angst and sexuality by tortured shapes and colors rather than physical reality, such as in this Egon Schiele painting. Women gained more social freedom, notably with looser dresses, and were portrayed as goddesses by Klimt.

The Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky was recommended to me by Mariah of Quite Continental. I must try it out soon, if only for the delicious viennoiseries!

Our third stop on Museum Mile brought us to the Guggenheim and its famous architecture. If you have ever visited the museum, you know you have to walk up an 800-meter long spiral to view the modern works of art.

Up until last week, the museum held an exhibition featuring paintings and sculptures from 1910-1918, a particularly fertile period for artists such as Picasso, Chagall and Kandinsky.

Nude by Kupka

Visitors admiring the works of Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gaugin

I had a replica of this painting by Kandinsky hanging in my room before I moved to New York.

A painting by Mondrian, the artist who inspired Yves Saint Laurent with the dresses bearing his name

An annex of the museum displays the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize. Artist Hans-Peter Feldmann received $100,000 as the winner and for his first exhibition at the Guggenheim, he decided to pin this exact amount in $1 bills to the gallery walls. Surprisingly not one seemed to be missing.

We could not spend the day on Museum Mile without a walk around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. The iconic First Lady’s apartment located on the same block as the Neue Galerie overlooked the massive artificial lake and she enjoyed jogging in the area.

After a delicious Italian dinner in excellent company at Sant Ambroeus, it was time to go home and rest before another day of visiting New York. These Murakami characters from the Gagosian Gallery bid you sayonara!

If by you are any chance in New York next week, check out the Museum Mile Festival on Tuesday!

Après vous avoir guidés parmi les gratte-ciels de Midtown Manhattan, un peu de culture ne fait pas de mal, surtout si c’est dans le très posh Upper East Side. Comme ma mère est une grande admiratrice d’art et de beaux objets, je l’ai tout naturellement emmenée sur Museum Mile avec trois remarquables arrêts : le musée Cooper-Hewitt, la Neue Galerie et le Guggenheim. Cette partie de la 5e Avenue longeant Central Park est un véritable paradis pour tout rat de musée.

Y a-t-il un meilleur moyen de commencer la journée que de se promener de pièce en pièce emplies de joyaux plus précieux les uns que les autres ? L’exposition Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels est une magnifique réussite, un festin pour les yeux et une impressionnante démonstration du savoir-faire de la maison. J’ai bien sûr ajouté à ma wish-list ce collier, ma pièce préférée de l’exposition. Mais c’est tout pour le teaser ! Van Cleef est digne d’avoir son billet à lui seul et je vous montrerai le reste très bientôt.

Notre arrêt suivant était la Neue Galerie dédiée à l’art allemand et autrichien du début du 20e siècle. Autrefois un hôtel particulier, le musée est désormais la propriété de Ronald S. Lauder, fils d’Estée et ex-ambassadeur des Etats-Unis en Autriche. Visiter la Neue Galerie, c’est être transporté dans une autre époque et un autre continent par l’esprit raffiné et européen qui y règne. Le lieu semble d’ailleurs être le point de repère de la communauté germanophone de New York. Cela me touche à quel point l’Expressionisme dépeint la révolution sociale et culturelle de l’époque. Les théories de la psychanalyse de Sigmund Freud avaient de quoi bouleverser les mentalités ; un divan identique à celui qui trônait dans son cabinet est exposé et vous êtes encouragés à vous allonger dessus ! Les artistes comme Egon Schiele préféraient exprimer leurs émotions et dépeindre la sexualité par des formes et couleurs torturées plutôt que de rester fidèle à la réalité physique. Les femmes se libéraient socialement et abandonnait le corset pour des formes plus amples. Klimt a représenté ce phénomène en peignant des portraits de femme déesses. Le Café Sabarsky de la Neue Galerie m’a été recommandé par Mariah de Quite Continental. Il faut absolument que je l’essaie un de ces jours ne serait-ce que pour les viennoiseries, délicieuses paraît-il !

Le musée Guggenheim que vous connaissez surement par sa fameuse architecture était notre dernier arrêt. Si vous l’avez déjà visité, vous savez qu’il faut monter une promenade en spirale longue de 800 mètres au cours de laquelle vous pouvez admirer les œuvres d’art moderne. Le musée accueillait jusqu’à la semaine dernière une exposition sur l’art entre 1910 et 1918, une période fertile pour des artistes comme Picasso, Chagall et Kandinsky. Une annexe du musée était réservée au bénéficiaire du prix Hugo Boss 2010. L’artiste Hans-Peter Feldmann avait reçu $100 000 en récompense et pour sa première exposition au Guggenheim il a décidé de tapisser les murs de cette somme en billets de $1. Etonnant qu’il n’y ait pas des trous dans cette œuvre !

Impossible de passer la journée à Museum Mile sans se balader le long du Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir de Central Park. La First Lady avait vue sur ce lac artificiel de son appartement et elle aimait faire son jogging dans les environs.

Après un délicieux dîner en excellente compagnie au Sant Ambroeus, il était temps de rentrer pour récupérer avant une nouvelle journée de visites à New York. Ces personnages de Murakami en vitrine de la Gagosian Gallery vous disent sayonara et à la prochaine !

63 Comments

Filed under Art, New York

63 responses to “NY diary: Van Cleef, the Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim Museum

  1. Ah, j’ai hâte de voir ton futur article sur Van Cleef ! Ma mère adore leurs créations, ça la fait rêver :) Alors forcément, j’ai un rapport particulier à cette maison de joaillerie !
    Et il faut vraiment que je vienne à NY ! Avec tous ces musées, c’est fait pour moi ! :)

    • Ah tu vas voir elle est magnifique cette expo! Je ne pense pas que je pourrai la caser avant de partir en vacances, mais je la mettrai sur le blog, c’est sûr!

      • Joe Labriola

        J’habite de New York, mais mon francais n’est pas tres bon. J’adore les musees ici! Ils sont spectaculaires!

  2. wow the inside levels of this look so cool!

  3. It looks like you had such a nice time with your parents, Anne! How nice that the flight from France to New York is only five hours – you never have to feel that far apart.

    That room covered with $1 bills is incredible and almost breathtaking. I would love to see it in person, and maybe even run my hand along the bills while the guards aren’t looking. :)

    • Well the flight I just booked is more like 7 hours and $1,400 for the round trip ;-) That said my parents did love New York and already plan on coming back next year!

  4. I do not know how you managed to get those pictures inside the Guggenheim I was told off for even having my camera out!! I simply adore that building but I wish the collection was larger, actually.
    I had no idea there was a replica of Freud’s couch in the other museum. This makes me the perfect candidate to visit again and eat pastries with :-) In London I lived very close the the Freud Museum, Freud’s home for the last few years of his life, and I have been several times (of course) so see the couch there.

    Another fabulous article in the NY diaries series :-)

    • Merci Sarah!
      You have to keep the camera in the bag and take it out very quickly when no guard is watching ;-)
      I didn’t know about the Freud Museum in London! I find psychoanalysis and his theories fascinating so that’s one I’d like to visit.
      If you want to go to the Neue Galerie it’s free next Tuesday along with all the museums on Museum Mile for the festival. Let me know! xx

  5. BEAUTIFUL! Yeah, I could handle that necklace, too…

    Congrats on being Friday Freshly Pressed…a whole weekend of fun ahead!

    Mikalee

  6. HL BISE

    I just loved your post–well written and spoke to me, especially. The Neue Galerie is my favorite places in NYC; it’s just a special gem…

  7. This is beautiful…I lived in NY my whole life until almost 3 years ago and never went to those places. You never appreciate your home until you leave. Thank you…these are now a must see when I go visit home.

  8. Edward Canavarro

    Thanks for sharing your adventures! It was a nice tour.

  9. Thanks for the mini tour of NYC! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
    Beautiful photos! Have fun doing more sightseeing.

  10. I have been to the Guggenheim several times over a span of two or three decades and I’ve never been impressed. In fact, on at least one occasion I left feeling rather disgusted and sickened. The Guggenheim shows primarily – if not only – modern art (if much/any of it can be called that).

    Sorry, but a room of dollar bills isn’t art. Neither is a bunch of homo erotica (which is what their primary display was around 2003 when I went there last).

    And I say this as someone with a modicum of artistic ability and had initially gone to college for a degree in art.

    Sometimes art is in the eye of the beholder, but quite often it’s just schlock being promoted as art by snake-oil salesmen (the liberal-ati).

  11. Quite nice photos.

    Beaux fotos.

  12. I think I’m going to add that diamond necklace to my wish-list as well…oh, and the money room. ;)

  13. Eva McCane

    thanks for sharing! that artwork is phenomenal!

  14. What a wonderful tour! Thank you.

  15. The Neue Galerie and The Frick… my absolute favorites! Small, intimate and significant. Thx for the update on The Neue.

  16. Tsk, tsk! The Guggenheim police are going to be tracking you now.

    My best advice to anyone wanting to do the Gugg: Take the elevator up and then browse your way back down. I don’t know what it was about the angle on that thing, but that walk up really kind of hurt me in weird places!

  17. Enjoyed discovering your blog and the bilingual museum tour. You’ve encouraged me to visit the Cooper Hewitt exhibit.

  18. I just left NYC after a 6 year love affair with the city. I miss it so much! Thanks for posting this. I just spent three months in Germany and some time in Austria. I’ve never been to the Neue Gallery so I can’t wait to visit it the next time I’m in NY.

  19. lechoixtrois

    Just love the Guggenheim! Hope to be back in NY really soon.

    Bisous!

    Le Choix Trois

  20. taimoorsalmanzahid

    hi, Your travel blog was very amazing but im sorry in asking, Where is the MET?

  21. eva626

    o0o money , diamond necklaces…this post has everything a girl loves!!!

  22. wow those pics are just amazing. You had a great time.

  23. Great story and photos of your museum visits! I haven’t been to New York City in a few years, and your post made me want to head to the city immediately. I really liked your enthusiasm for the museums, works of art, and restaurants. Thanks for sharing your trip!

  24. Chatter Master

    Thank you so much for sharing. Never had a desire to visit New York….. but I think I would enjoy a little stop to see all of this. Beautiful.

  25. I remember…back in the 70’s gasping to find “Guernica” at the Guggenheim…not there any more. All three sites you took us to made me “gasp” again. Thank you.

  26. Successful pictures.Thanks for sharing.

  27. this was been one of sets at THE INTERNATIONAL by clive owen…. it was so beautiful hope to see it personally…..

  28. Oh my goodness, what a day! I’m sure your mother loved everything. The Guggenheim is one of my favourite museums in NYC. I remember my first time there, it just left me so in awe. I can’t wait to hear more about the Van Cleef exhibit. I saw something on one of my old lady Sunday morning shows on it and you know how I love my jewels!! Eagerly awaiting…..

    • You’re the second one with OIivine from Sur les Pavés de Paris to eagerly request the Van Cleef post! :-) I can’t wait to show you more but since I’d like to do a bit of research on the brand I’m not sure I’ll be able to write about it before I go on holiday. In any case I’ll feature it on my blog for sure this summer!

  29. Guggenheim is always worth a first visit – second and subsequent visits are optional, once the thrill of the space has worn off – though I enjoyed it a few weeks ago.
    However, it was the public art outside that bemused me.

  30. Neue Gallerie is a hidden NYC treasure. The Otto Dix show there last spring was really spectacular. I have never been to Cooper Hewitt so I will have to check that out next. Thanks for this,

  31. All my favorite things. I miss NYC!

  32. Great museum.
    love art & also love design

  33. Love that Art Deco necklace – and your pics are all remarkable. You’ve given me the feeling that I’ve just had a wonderful day in New York. Wonderful!

  34. Thank you so much for the amazing pics from the museum! I used to live on the other side of the Reservoir, and went to the museums on 5th Ave often!

  35. The Guggenheim is an incredibly beautiful building. Your photo’s brought back memories of my first and only visit there: thanks!

  36. Our daughter travels to New York soon. I must tell her about your blog so that she will read and understand that shopping should not be the major objective of her trip.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your insight. I lived in New York for about a year but I think you saw more during your visit than I did during my residency. Kudos!

    • Please do show this to your daughter! :-) If she loves fashion, she should definitely head to the Cooper-Hewitte Museum for the Van Cleef exhibit and to the Met to see Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty.

  37. After reading your blog, I know I am over due for another visit! Thanks for the mini tour!

  38. Pingback: NY diary: Van Cleef, the Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim Museum (via Ritournelle) « Thoughts for the Fabulous

  39. Thanks for this.

    The images are great and it’s just reminded me, I really need to dig out my photos of my trip to New York.

    We took a long weekend trip from Manchester, UK at then end of March a number of years ago and had every season possible in the space of 4 days. From glorious sunshine when we arrived at Newark, overcast for our trip around the island by boat the next day, torrential rain on the day we visited Ground Zero and on our final day, it was bitterly cold with beautifully clear and sunny skies as we wandered around the Central Park area to see the Dakota Buildings, the zoo and of course the Guggenheim.

    Excellent post! Thanks again.

  40. Very interesting! Wonderful pictures!

  41. Hej from Sweden,
    I have a daughter who lives in Manhattan, but I live in Sweden. On my many trip to visit her I had a wonderful time there. She is now doing her post grad studies in Glasgow so my visits take me to another part of the world. I miss many things about Manhattan and your photos bring back many very happy memories. You did a really fine job capturing some of the beauty of a very busy city. I really enjoyed this blog. Thank you for bringing me a little bit of Manhattan’s culture and beauty.

  42. Ha, congrats for being featured on Freshly Pressed, Ritournelle. You deserve it. Dare we – humble as always – say that we discovered your blog a bit earlier, since you were nominated for the transatlantic diablog award 2010?

    See you…

  43. you make me want to visit NYC again! i didn’t even know about the Cooper-Hewitt and the Neue Galerie.

  44. My mom went to the Neue Gallery on our last trip to NYC, but it was while I was at my friend’s wedding shower. I’m so sad I missed it. She said it was incredible. I’ll have to go next time I’m in the city.

  45. I love the design of Guggenheim museum, which is a great design for exhibition. People will not miss a single piece of artwork there.
    The $1 bill exhibit is impressive.

  46. I wish to visit all these museum one day !

  47. Have you been to Fritz Collection? That is my favourite one in NYC! Love your post and photos!

  48. Everyday Cola

    So lovely, wish to visit New York some day, for real… !! Thanks for sharing.

  49. I had no idea that the Neue gallery had all of those wonderful Klimts! He’s one of my favorite artists. I just love the decorative surface details of his work. I will definitely make a stop over there next time I’m in New York. Thanks for the post!

    • I’m sure you’d like this museum then! To be fair, there are not so many Klimts at the Neue Galerie but the whole atmosphere of the place is worth a visit.

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