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Tina Barney
© Tina Barney

10 Paris art exhibitions we can’t wait to see in 2024

From the Impressionist masters to the work of Frida Kahlo, Paris’s culture calendar is jam-packed this year

Zoé Terouinard
Liv Kelly
Written by
Zoé Terouinard
Translated by
Liv Kelly

With the Olympics set to be the biggest event on the French capital’s calendar this year, you might have thought galleries would down tools to make way for the athletes. No siree. Fantastic art and culture exhibitions take pride of place on Paris’ annual events programme, and we’re in for a real treat in 2024. 

It’s surrealism galore, with a cracking retrospective about Frida Kahlo, as well as an immersive journey to Egypt in the era of the pharaohs. Once again, Paris is thinking big. To help you get organised, we’ve summarised the most exciting exhibitions in the French capital this year. On your marks, get set, go!

The Egypt of the Pharaohs, from Khufu to Amesses II – Atelier des Lumières

The Atelier des Lumières is journeying back to Ancient Egypt to kick off the year. After Tutankhamun and Ramses at La Villette, this gallery in the 12th arrondissement is offering a cracking exhibition, dressed in enough gold to satisfy any Egyptomaniac. From gods to architecture to politics and commerce, all aspects of the ancient civilization will be explored in a stunning video-mapping spectacle. That's not all: alongside this exhibition, the Atelier des Lumières has also created a shorter show centered around the Orientalists. 

From February 9, 2024 to January 5, 2025

Egypte Pharaons Atelier des Lumières
© Culturespaces / C. de la Motte Rouge

Paris 1874, inventing impressionism – Musée d'Orsay

Picture the scene. It’s April 15, 1874, in a cosy living room of the great Nadar, and the leaders of one of Europe’s most influential movements have met. Monet, Degas, Pissaro, Renoir, Cézanne and Morisot. This ‘clan of rebels’ who no longer feel they belong in the academicism of contemporary salons decide to join forces and create a new way of painting. In 130 works, the d’Orsay exhibition puts Impressionist paintings, which were greatly detached from the realism of the era, into perspective, restoring the visual shock of the revolutionary movement. 

From March 26, 2024 to July 14, 2024

Inventer l'Impressionnisme
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Brancusi – Centre Pompidou

Before the Centre Pompidou shuts for renovations in 2025, the Beaubourg will pay Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi a final tribute with this extensive exhibition. Bringing together nearly 200 sculptures, photos, drawings, films and archive documents, this will be the largest French retrospective ever devoted to this giant of European sculpture, whose curves and clean lines helped lay the foundations of minimalism. 

From March 27 to July 1, 2024 

© Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Adam Rzepka/Dist. RMN-GP

Metal – Philharmonie de Paris 

After exhibitions on hip-hop and electronic music, the Philharmonie de Paris is looking into metal in 2024. Far from the stereotypes of guys with long hair screaming into a microphone, the exhibition focuses on the genesis of an ultra-referenced genre through multiple mediums. In an immersive scenography, the Philha draws, for the first time in France, a rich portrait of this movement which was born almost fifty years ago, at the crossroads between music, pop culture, anthropology and even contemporary art. 

From April 4 to September 29, 2024

Festival Metal Culture(s), Guéret, mai 2017 © Corentin Charbonnier
Festival Metal Culture(s), Guéret, mai 2017 © Corentin Charbonnier

The Birth of Department Stores – MAD x Cité de l’Architecture

The MAD and the Cité de l'Architecture are joining forces for a monumental double exhibition revisiting the history of department stores, the ultimate temples of shopping. From Galeries Lafayette to Bon Marché via Samaritaine and Printemps Haussmann, these cornerstones of Parisian life are dissected in two stages. The first is at MAD, which looks at the social aspect of these places of high consumption, dealing with both their commercial strategies and their communication. The City of Architecture will then take over by focusing on the contours of these vintage shopping centres, whose architecture is as beautiful and distinctive as it is functional. 

From April 10 to October 13, 2024 at MAD then from October 16, 2024 to March 16, 2025 at the Cité de l'Architecture

Grands Magasins - MAD
© Les Arts Décoratifs / Jean Tholance

Eva Jospin, The Silk Room – Palace of Versailles 

Summer 2024 marks the return of major contemporary exhibitions at Versailles. Known for having hosted some of the most subversive exhibitions of the past decade (including the likes of Anish Kapoor and Joana Vasconcelos), the residence of the Sun King, Louis XIV, is welcoming Eva Jospin, who’s monumental 350 square metre embroidery will take over the castle’s orangery. Entitled The Silk Room, the work which was produced in collaboration with the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai, is inspired by the groves of the neighbouring French gardens, as well as Virginia Woolf's feminist manifesto. 

From June 18 to September 29, 2024

Eva Jospin
© Camille Lemonnier

Surrealism: The Centenary Exhibition – Center Pompidou

This year, the Surrealist movement is celebrating its hundredth anniversary. Who else to celebrate this anniversary than the Center Pompidou, which is putting on a blockbuster exhibition dedicated to the influential movement. Initiated and theorized by the poet André Breton, surrealism explores dreamlikeness, the unconscious, and unreason. In short, he messes up the very rational history of art. The Center Pompidou promises to go beyond the usual Magritte-Man Ray-Dalí boys club and put women center stage. There’ll be the opportunity to discover the poetry of Toyen, Leonora Carrington and Dora Maar, who will also send us to the land of dreams. 

From September 4, 2024 to January 6, 2025

Frida Kahlo, ¡Viva La Vida! – Grand Palais Immersif

She’s undoubtedly the most famous Mexican artist in the world, but how well do we really know Frida Kahlo? This exhibition at Paris’ Grand Palais Immersive promises to answer all our questions by literally immersing us in the inner world of this inspiring creator. The Parisian stop of this touring exhibition (which has won 14 awards) retraces Kahlo’s rich and tumultuous life through 360-degree projections, artworks, photos and documents, all informed by her diary. 

From September 18, 2024 to March 2, 2025 

© Frida Kahlo
© Frida Kahlo

Tina Barney – Jeu de Paume 

Finally, some photography. The medium seems to have taken a back seat next season to make way for painting, but fortunately we can always count on the Jeu de Paume to highlight some emblematic figures of the discipline. And in 2024, it is Tina Barney's turn to dazzle us with her unique portraits of the East Coast of America’s wealthy classes from way back in the ‘70s. From golden youth to bourgeois families, this exhibition offers gentle accents of love, glory and beauty and with deliciously retro pastel tones.

From September 24, 2024 to January 19, 2025

Tina Barney
© Tina Barney

Arte Povera – Bourse de Commerce 

We’re set to end the year in style at the Bourse de Commerce, which will trace the birth of a revolutionary movement: Arte Povera. Appearing in Italy in the mid-1960s, Arte Povera positioned itself as a detractor of the consumer society and quickly became the anti-pop art movement, preferring natural or recycled materials to American ostentation. The exhibition is curated by the great theoretician of the movement, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and relies on the vital funds of the Pinault Collection, but also on large Italian loans. It presents attendees with the works of the architects of the movement, from Jannis Kounellis to Giuseppe Penone via Giovanni Anselmo. 

From October 9, 2024 to March 24, 2025

Arte Povera Pinault
Pinault Collection © Giuseppe Penone

Why not have a look at all the very best museums and art galleries in Paris? And if you can’t wait for this year, these are the very best exhibitions to see in Paris right now

Did you see that you can now book a luxury train from Paris to Portofino?

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