La Boverie - Liège's new Fine Arts Museum

La Boverie in Liège, Belgium | Photo: Marc Verpoorten

Last week I had the privilege to attend the grand opening of La Boverie, Liège's new museum of modern and contemporary art. The museum celebrated its opening with its inaugural exhibition "En Plein Air" and new eye-catching architecture.

Beautifully situated on an island formed by the Meuse and its Derivation canal, La Boverie museum is part of a complex comprising a historic palace, built in 1905 for the World Fair (Exposition universelle et internationale de Liège), and a modern wing. Renowned French architect Rudy Ricciotti and local architecture firm p.HD (Paul Hautecler & Pascal Dumont) were commissioned by the city of Liège to renovate the building. To give it a modern twist and to renew the landscape of Park the la Boverie, a concrete and glass extension was installed on the west façade of the building, occupying an additional 4,000 square metres.

La Boverie received a new modern wing, designed by Rudy Ricciotti, where sunlight plays an important role | Photo: Nino de Snoo

Rudy Ricciotti
Rudy Ricciotti, winner of the National Grand Prix of architecture in 2006, became famous thanks to the design of several museum projects such as the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) in Marseille. MuCEM was constructed as part of «Marseille, European Capital of Culture» and has become one of the main assets of the Mediterranean city. Ricciotti also designed the département des Arts de l'Islam (department of islamic Art) at the Louvre.

"En Plein Air" is La Boverie's first temporary expo | Photo: Nino de Snoo

On the ground-floor level of the museum one can find the temporary collections. The museum kicked off with "En Plein Air"(meaning: in the open air), a large-scale Impressionism exhibition, organised in partnership with the Louvre in Paris. The theme of the opening exhibition was chosen to illustrate the strong link between the museum and its surrounding park.

The exhibition outlines the emergence and gradual development of painting in the open air, from the 18th century to today, a practice that exactly coincided with the rise and the staging of new delights typical of the modern world: walking, leisure and vacation. The exhibition presents around a hundred works by famous artists such as Corot, Boudin, Monet, Chagall, Evenepoel, Pissaro, Cezanne, Picasso, Bonnard and Renoir. The works come from the collections of La Boverie, the Louvre, but also from Belgian and foreign prestigious art institutions.

Marc Chagall, Bella et Ida à Peyra-Cava, 1931 | Huile sur toile, Collection Particulière | Photo: Nino de Snoo

Claude Monet , Le Pont-Neuf, 1871 | Huile sur toile, Dallas Museum of Art | Photo: Nino de Snoo

The permanent collections can be found on the lower level. It hosts the very best from the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts of Liège (BAL), featuring works by Lambert Lombard, Gerard deLairesse, Ingres, Gauguin, Picasso, Evenepoel, Delvaux, Magritte and others. The museum also added a special gallery on the lower level: the 'black gallery'. A setting for works on paper, which are particularly sensitive to light, humidity and dust.

"En Plein Air" runs until 15 August 2016. In 2017, the "Journey to Italy" will be the theme of the second exhibition. Tickets range from 8 to 12 €.

La Boverie is easy to reach by the Guillemins Boverie Footbridge (also known as 'La Belle Liégeoise') and lies only 700m from the Liège-Guillemins Station


Wajer Yachts Announces Its New Flagship Yacht

If you plan to visit the Cannes Yacht Show this summer, you should not miss this state-of-the-art pleasure boat.

Pictured is the Wajer 55, the brand new top-of-the-range model from Dutch family-owned company Wajer Yachts. The motor yacht, which is designed by Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design, is made of innovative lightweight materials and features an automatic foldable roof and swimming platform which can also be used as a swimming ladder or gangway.

'The main emphasis for the design by Sinot is to offer a perfect balance of dynamic sailing and outstanding comfort,' Wajer stated in a press release.

Technical specifications, pricing and availability have not yet been announced.


Picasso Portraits at The National Portrait Gallery

This autumn, London's National Portrait Gallery will stage a major exhibition of portraits by Pablo Picasso (1881 -1973).

The exhibition, named 'Picasso Portraits', will feature over 75 portraits by the Spanish expatriate, ranging from well-known masterpieces to works that have never been shown in Britain before.

The latter include the cubist portrait from 1910 of the German art dealer and early champion of Picasso's work, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, loaned by the Art Institute of Chicago; and from a private collection the exquisite portrait executed in 1938 of Nusch Eluard, acrobat, artist and wife of the Surrealist poet Paul Eluard.

All phases of the artist's career will be represented, from the realist portraits of his boyhood to the more gestural canvases of his old age. It is the first large-scale exhibition devoted to his portraiture since 'Picasso and Portraiture' at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris in 1996.

The exhibition will showcase a group of revealing self-portraits as well as portraits and caricatures of Picasso's lovers, friends, wives and children. Complementing these images of Picasso's intimates are portraits and caricatures inspired by artists of the past – Velázquez and Rembrandt among them – with whom he identified most closely.

"The exhibition gathers together major loans from public and private collections that demonstrate the breadth of Picasso's oeuvre and the extraordinary range of styles he employed across all media and from all periods of his career," said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

'Picasso Portraits', sponsored by Goldman Sachs, and in association with the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, will run from 6 October 2016 - 5 February 2017.

Tickets with donation: Full price £19 / Concessions £17.50
Tickets without donation Full price £17 / Concessions £15.50 (Free for Members and Patrons)
Photo 1: Woman in a Hat, 9 June 1941 by Pablo Picasso, 1941; Musée Picasso, Paris. © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2016 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée Picasso de Paris) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2016 

Photo 2:  Woman in a Hat (Olga) by Pablo Picasso, 1935; Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d’art moderne Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d'art moderne / Centre de création industrielle. Legs de M. Georges Salles en 1967 (n° inv. :AM 4393 P) © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2016 


Poem: The Soul Unto Itself (1863)

The Soul Unto Itself
By: Emily Dickinson (1830- 1886 / USA)

The soul unto itself
Is an imperial friend - 
Or the most agonizing Spy -
An Enemy - could send -

  Secure against its own -          
No treason it can fear -
Itself - its Sovereign - of itself
The Soul should stand in Awe -


Restaurant Le Clarence, Paris

Le Salon Pontac du Restaurant Le Clarence

Monsieur Antoine Pétrus, le Chef Christophe Pelé et le Prince Robert de Luxembourg (Président de Domaine Clarence Dillon) / Restaurant Le Clarence

Housed in a majestic 19th century hôtel particulier (private mansion) and located in the heart of Paris's Golden Triangle you will find Le Clarence.

The French gourmet restaurant was officially opened at the end of last year by Domaine Clarence Dillon, a family company which owns the Château Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintus Bordeaux wine estates, as part of its 80th anniversary celebrations.

'Cultivate tradition, while continuing to innovate': The philosophy of Domaine Clarence Dillon also applies to Le Clarence restaurant, where the cuisine is a blend of contemporary sensibility and the inspiration of the great classics.

The kitchen is run by the talented Michelin-starred chef Christophe Pelé, who previously worked at La Bigarrade, Pierre Gagnaire and the Royal Monceau. Antoine Petrus, winner of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) Award in 2011, who has worked at El Bulli and Hôtel de Crillon, is the manager of the restaurant and in charge of the wine list.

The bar and Grand Salon are situated on the second floor. Reserved exclusively for clients of the restaurant, it is the ideal spot for a cheerful apéritif or a nightcap with a view out over the city, as a fire crackles in the hearth.

Domaine Clarence Dillon also opened an elegant fine wine boutique, named La Cave du Château. The treasure trove includes not only precious vintages from the vineyards of Domaine Clarence Dillon, but also a hand-picked selection of the finest grand crus and spirits produced in France.

Rouget de petite pêche, cœur d’agneau, jus acide

Turbot, pied de cochon, truffe noire, jus meunière

Closed: Sunday & Monday
Reservations: +33 (0)1 82 82 10 10 

31, avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt
75008 Paris



New Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Guard? Yes please!

Unfortunately, I can't afford one. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming about the hardcore Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Guard. The latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class family.

The sedan is the safest car in the world, according to the German automaker. Why? Mainly because the S 600 Guard is the first car to be certified VR10. This is the highest ballistic protection level for civilian vehicles. It means the bodywork and windows of the car are able to withstand hardened steel core bullets fired from an assault rifle.

The luxury limo also has an ERV 2010 rating (Explosive Resistant Vehicles). "The test criteria used to determine this rating are not in the public domain. After inspection by Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, the vehicle was approved without any constraints," Mercedes said in a statement.

The bulletproof windows are coated with polycarbonate on the inside for splinter protection. At the bodyshell stage, protective components of special steel are integrated into the cavities between the body structure and the outer skin.

Most recent specifications:
Price: €470,000 plus VAT ($518,692)
Engine type: V8 Turbo 4.7 Liter, Turbo, Gasoline Direct Injection
Transmission: 7G-TRONIC PLUS 7 Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Wheelbase: 124.6 inches
Length: 206.5 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Curb Weight: 4630 lbs.


Marriage contract signed by France's Napoleon and Josephine up for sale

 (Marriage document signed by Napoleon & Josephine)

(Close up of Napoleon and Josephine’s signatures)

Lion Heart Autographs has announced an extraordinary opportunity to acquire the finest marriage document ever signed by Napoleon and Josephine. This rare Valentine's Day opportunity celebrates history's most romantic and often controversial couple – Napoleon & Josephine. The evocative marriage contract is not only signed by the historic couple, but by other French notables, including six of Napoleon's original eighteen marshals (the highest military rank during the Empire).

he Valentine's Day presentation of such a unique, historical document marks the first time Lion Heart Autographs has offered it for sale; it is one of only a handful known to exist in private hands. Lion Heart Autographs will display the document at The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show at the Palm Beach County Convention Center from February 10-16, 2016, where it will be offered for $20,000.

"I am thrilled to share the evocative nature of this historical document on Valentine's Day. It is assuredly the finest marriage contract signed by Emperor Napoleon and his Empress Josephine available in the world," said David Lowenherz, founder & owner of Lion Heart Autographs in New York, noting, "Napoleon and Josephin's own marriage contract is preserved in National Archives of France."                

Other highlights to be featured by Lion Heart Autographs at The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show include a letter by Albert Einstein on how intellectuals and the working class should work together; doodles by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on White House stationery; a decorative proclamation signed by President Harry Truman declaring the end of WWII; an impressive document signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State about U.S. fishing rights; a very fine art related letter by Henri Matisse; an unpublished handwritten letter by Charles Darwin sending his photograph to a former shipmate aboard the "Beagle;" a charming letter by Mark Twain in which he offers his autograph to a young collector, and much more.

Press Release