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  • “Lumières” exhibition by Christian Lacroix at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris.

  • “Lumières” exhibition by Christian Lacroix at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris. Artwork by Christian Lacroix.

  • “Lumières” exhibition by Christian Lacroix at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris.

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“Lumières” exhibition by Christian Lacroix at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris

The Musée Cognacq-Jay in Paris recently reopened its doors after undergoing a complete renovation and in order to celebrate the occasion it offered Christian Lacroix a creative carte blanche. The museum, which houses an impressive collection of iconic 18th century artworks, was established in 1928 by Ernest Cognacq, the founder of the La Samaritaine department store, and his wife Marie-Louis Jay. In 1990, the museum was transferred to the 16th century Hôtel Donon in the Marais district, where it remains until today. The celebrated French designer accepted the challenge to reinterpret the “guiding narrative” of the museum’s exhibition spaces, inviting more than 40 contemporary artists to reflect upon key themes of the Ernest Cognacq’s collection.

Lacroix juxtaposed paintings by François Boucher, Canaletto and Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin with contemporary works by Wolfgang Tillmans, Tim Walker and Grégoire Alexandre, as well as creations by Vivienne Westwood and Walter Van Beirendonck, establishing an interesting dialogue between tradition and innovation. The designer also presented a selection of the costumes that he created in the past for Paris National Opera’s “Le Palais de Cristal” and Frankfurt Opera’s “Adrienne Lecouvreur”, as well as an array of his drawings and sketches that demonstrate his fascination with the arts.

“Christian Lacroix played a key role in presenting the collections in a way that was both physical and conceptual. The carte blanche that we gave him marks a highlight in the history of the Musée Cognacq-Jay. The temporary exhibition that he has curated combines contemporary works with historical exhibits and is an opportunity to reconsider our perspective of the Age of Enlightenment, its promises and disappointments, by inviting visitors to explore and reflect upon its legacy,” said Rose-Marie Mousseaux, director of the Musée Cognacq-Jay and co-curator of the exhibition. “Lumières: carte blanche à Christian Lacroix” will be on view at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris, until April 19, 2015.