Museum sketches: Le Petit Palais, Paris

Over the weekend I went to another Meetup with the same group as before. It was a smaller gathering than last time, but again at a museum — this time the stunning Petit Palais (Little Palace), just a short walk from the Seine.

Le Petit Palais, autumn leaves, and a fountain

{as always, mouse over photos to read notes, or click to enlarge}

(And yes, there is a Grand Palais, right across the street. Way more crowded — queues all day long!)

Grand Palais at evening

I really loved Le Petit Palais. Both it and its bigger neighbor were built in 1900 for the Universal Exposition, when they must have looked even more splendid then than they do now.

Entrance to the Petit Palais

Entry hall

Murals on the ceiling

Astoundingly, it is free to visit the museum’s permanent exhibitions, and these are not only very good, but quite extensive: sculptures, paintings, drawings, antiquities, and contemporary pieces. Even more surprising was that it was not at all crowded, even on a Saturday afternoon.

Statues in the permanent exhibitions

Permanent gallery

Statuette of a posing figure

I made a number of quick sketches in the galleries. Dov has been encouraging me to work faster and focus more on getting the sense of things, rather than trying for so much perfect detail. You can tell these sketches are much looser than my usual.

Sketch of angel statue

The note at the top of the below page refers to a portrait painting I loved, Donat Nonnotte’s “Madame de Sevré en Hebé.” Have a look and tell me you didn’t smile back!

Things I liked in the galleries: a carved wood panel, a Gauguin vessel, a plein-air painter's setup.

More things I liked: an Art Nouveau hanging lamp and a big platter with a woman's profile on it, a funny sculpted face on a big kiosk of some sort.

Fantastic spiral staircase and large sculpture, sketched from above

Jean-Paul Aubé's Dante sculpture, sketched from behind

After the museum, a small group of us went to a café across the Seine. I had a decaf espresso, which made me feel very fancy — café here is always espresso, so it’s what you see everyone drinking at all the sidewalk tables. We had an interesting conversation. The others have all been in Paris for anytime from a year to more than a decade, having come here from all over as well: Ireland, Israel, Turkey (yes, Istanbul!). It’s great fun chatting with everyone, and I’m so glad I have been doing these Meetups.

Oh, and the organizer of this one, Edith, took a photo of me sketching in the Petit Palais:

Lisa sketching, photo by Edith of La Vie Parisienne Meetup group

I don’t know if I’ll have the chance before we leave, but I’d love to return to the Petit Palais for some more sketching and a slower tour of the galleries. I didn’t even see half of it while we were there!