April 1st- July 6th 2015

Keys to passion


Keys to passion

Fondation Louis Vuitton presents the exhibition Keys to a Passion from 1st April to 6th July 2015

The exhibition “Keys to a Passion”, to be hosted at Fondation Louis Vuitton from 1st April to 6th July 2015, marks the third phase of the institution’s inaugural programme and reaffirms the founding principles of its engagement with the arts.

The exhibition presents a selection of major works from the first half of the 20th century which paved the way for modernity. The works on display all share the particularity of “breaking the rules” and then becoming important art historical reference points. Many of them have acquired iconic status and are recognised as such by artists, professionals, art lovers, and the wider public.

The exhibition brings together exceptional loans from prestigious institutions and private collections. They include the State Hermitage Museum and the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, the Munchmuseet in Oslo, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the MoMA and the Guggenheim in New York, the MoCA in Chicago and Los Angeles, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Geementemuseum in The Hague and the Kröller Müller in Otterlo, the National Gallery of Art and the Tate in London, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Musée National d’Art Moderne — Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée National Picasso in Paris, the Fondation Maeght at Saint-Paul de Vence, the Národní Galerie in Prague, the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart, and the Kunsthaus in Zurich, as well as many others.

Deliberately limited in number and hitherto seldom presented next to one another, these works offer the visitor the potential for a genuine intellectual, sensory, and emotional encounter. The aim is to make the public sense what the unique essence of the piece of art is and to appreciate its specific aura. In an age of ever accelerating channels of communication, this requires visitors to take their time and concentrate in an empathic dialogue with the works.

The exhibition is arranged around four sequences, which echo the four “lines” that underpin the Foundation’s contemporary collection: subjective expressionism, contemplative, popist and music, that aim to give the collection its own unique identity through deliberate passionate “parti-pris” or choices and to remind also that art is inscribed in history.

In each sequence the works shown have been specifically chosen to highlight their significance, even emblematic quality. The emphasis is placed on works in series. Next to iconic works, others outside the “canon” bring their own innovative and singular character.

The first sequence of the exhibition, subjective expressionism, addresses issues that concern each of us, such as life and death, angst and loneliness: thus the faceless man in Kazimir Malevich’s Complex Presentiment responds to Edvard Munch’s universal Scream, also echoing the caged man in the Study for Portrait by Francis Bacon; while Walking Man by Alberto Giacometti, flanked by his Portrait of Jean Genet and [Dark Portrait], imparts the image of existential loneliness. Helene Schjerfbeck, in her self-portraits, analyses the effects of passing time. Otto Dix’s Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber, flamboyant yet provocative and verging on the suicidal, darkly conveys a certain picture of the Germany of her time.

The second sequence reflects the importance of the contemplative line of the Foundation’s collection. It opens first with a series of paintings focussing on meditation before nature: Claude Monet’s Waterlilies, Piet Mondrian’s Dunes, four versions of Lake Keitele by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (displayed together for the first time), lake and mountain views by Ferdinand Hodler, and other paintings of the North Sea by Emil Nolde.

The sequence continues with the extreme radical innovation of abstraction and such legendary works as the series of Black Square, Circle, and Cross by Kazimir Malevich and with Piet Mondrian’s Composition 10 in Black and White, Composition with Lines to his Compositions in Lozenge. There then follows a cult work by Constantin Brancusi: the first version of the Endless Column. Then come the immersive plains of Mark Rothko’s No. 46 [Black, Ochre, Red over Red] that plunge viewers into the radiation of their ‘inner light.’

Another path leads to a more hedonistic and embodied vision of “contemplation” in Pierre Bonnard’s Summer, as well as three portraits and a sculpture by Pablo Picasso from the 1930s from the Marie-Thérèse series.

The third sequence, entitled Popist, captures a resolute commitment to the vitality, dynamism and advances of modern life in a constantly changing society through its most contemporary expressions, such as the city and the media, sport and advertising: Robert Delaunay’s Cardiff Team, the Grand Déjeuner, the Acrobat and his Partner and the Constructors with Aloe by Fernand Léger and five paintings from the 1940s based on collage and appropriation by Francis Picabia.

The fourth sequence concerns music and the relationship that some artists entertain with it. Music played a crucial role — sometimes obvious, sometimes more implicit — in art at the beginning of the 20th century. Two exemplary works by Henri Matisse — the Dance, painted when he was in the throes of his youth, and another from his melancholic final period, The Sorrows of the King — appear here together for the first time. Meanwhile, Gino Severini conjures up the ecstatic vitality of the dance hall in Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin. For František Kupka and Wassily Kandinsky music constituted a determining reference for the development of their abstract work. Amorpha, Fugue in Two Colours and Localisation of Graphic Mobiles II by the former thus appear in conjunction with all four of Kandinsky’s panels commissioned by the American industrialist Edwin R. Campbell in 1914.

The exhibition is curated by Suzanne Pagé and Béatrice Parent, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, scientific advisor.

An international symposium will be held on the 12th and 13th June in the auditorium of the Foundation. Three round tables will host specialists, historians, and key art world figures to debate issues raised by the exhibition and by the constitution of the Contemporary Collection:
1. What are the challenges facing public and private museum collections today?
2. Who really makes art history now?
3. What is the impact of the growing role played by the art market in this field?

In parallel with the exhibition ‘Keys to a Passion’, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is showcasing a selection of works from the Collection, centring on some fifteen artists. The display will concentrate on two of the four lines in the Collection: the expressionist and the contemplative.
This display runs until 18th May.

From 2ⁿd June, a new presentation of works from the Collection will focus on the two other axes, works infused with the spirit of Pop Art, and works closely associated with music or sound.

Practical informations


At fondationlouisvuitton.fr

Opening hours:

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 to 8 p.m., late night Friday to 11 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Closed Tuesday.
Opening hours from 18 April to 4 May, 2015 (school holidays), 6 April, 8, 14, 15 and 25 May
 Every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., late night Friday to 11 p.m.

Getting there:

8, avenue du Mahatma Gandhi 
Bois de Boulogne,
75116 Paris

Line 1, station Les Sablons, follow the ‘Fondation Louis Vuitton’ exit.

Foundation shuttle bus:
leaves every 15 minutes from the Place Charles-de-Gaulle– Étoile, at the top of Avenue de Friedland.

Vélib (bike hire) station:Fondation Louis Vuitton.

On weekends bus 244 stops in front of the Foundation.


Full price: 14 euros
Reductions: 10 and 5 euros
Family ticket: 32 euros (2 adults + from 1 to 4 children under 18)
Free for the disabled and for one person accompanying them.

Tickets include access to all the spaces in the Foundation and to the Jardin d’Acclimatation.

Visitor information
+33 (0)1 40 69 96 00

For more information, please download the kit release.