Friday, June 26, 2009

A Grand Tour; Part II

Franz West at Beyler Foundation outside Basel.
by Charlie Scheips

I arrived by night train from Venice to Munich and took a taxi to Arthur Duncan and Uli Tredup’s place as a layover before we all went to Basel the next day. Somehow Arthur managed to shop, cook and serve a fabulous dinner of asparagus, local meats, and fresh strawberries for 10 that night. Guests included US consul general Eric Nelson, Jeremy and Petra McAlpine, Fillippo Tattoni Marcosi, Marc von Schmarsow, Norbert Michalke, and Nicole Schwager.

I took the train the next day to Basel arriving in the afternoon. There was just enough time to check in at the Dorint Hotel and then get changed for Eric de Rothschild’s “collectors dinner,” which was held at the beautiful Hirzen garden pavilion just outside of Basel. Art dealer Thaddeus Ropac co-hosted the lovely cocktails and dinner that featured to of the Baron’s Lafite wines: Bordeaux Blanc Legende R, 2007 and ChâteauDuHart-Milon, 2000, Pauillac—delicious! I sat next to Victoire De Pourtalès who works with Thaddeus at the Paris gallery. I was invited thanks to my friends Niels Kummer and Marivi von Oppersdorff who asked that I be asked. It was a very festive and lively evening.
JJ Shih and wife, Victoria Lu, and Yu-Chieh Lin with Arthur Duncan in Basel.
Guests at Eric de Rothschild's dinner in Basel.
Marivi von Oppersdorf and Petra Bachstein and Eric de Rothschild's dinner.
Charlie Scheips and Petra Bachstein arriving at Eric de Rothschild dinner. Knight Landsman at Eric de Rothschild dinner.
Place setting at Eric de Rothschild dinner.
Eric de Rothschild.
After the intensity of Venice I decided to start the day at the Basel’s Kunstmuseum where Vincent van Gogh’s Between Earth and Heaven: The Landscapes is currently on view. Van Gogh never disappoints—and the museum has gathered works by his contemporaries from the permanent collection as a companion to the show.

Vincent van Gogh at Kunstmuseum, Basel.
After beginning to take in the main hall of Art/Basel at the Messe, I met writer Karen Wright for a quick bite at L’Escale before heading over to the Theater Basel for the week’s hottest ticket in town: Il Postino: A Group Show featuring 19 works for the theater by some of today’s most important contemporary artists including Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Tacita Dean, Douglas Gordon, Doug Aiken and Domnique Gonzalez Foerster.

Jonathan Bepler and Matthew Barney staged a “happening” performance in the lobby during the intermission.

Ran into NY dealers Joan Washburn with her son Brian as well as John Baldesarri, Beth De Woody, Sir Norman Rosenthal, Art/Basel co-director Marc Spiegler, Sara Fitzmaurice and many others.

Afterwards we headed over to the Kunsthalle garden where everyone meets—I spotted my great pal Niels Kummer dining solo so we joined him and got to know our next door neighbors including artist Pasquale di Donato whose calling card is a cigarette that when unpeeled reveals a thin copper sheet with his name and phone number.
Blake Byrne and Steve Henry at L'escale in Basel.
Joan Washburn, Brian Washburn, and Karen Wright before Il Postino performance, Basel.
Il Postino at Basel Theater.
Crowd at Il Postino during Matthew Barney perfomance.
Sir Norman Rosenthal at Il Postino.
Sara Fitzmaurice, artist Franz von Stauffenberg, art critic Holger Liebs, and Maike Cruse at Il Postino.
John Baldessari at Il Postino. Pasquale di Donato in garden of Kunsthalle.
Christian Hermann, Norbert Michalke, Arthur Duncan, Charlie Scheips and Steve Henry in garden of the Kunsthalle.
The next morning I took the tram out to the Beyeler Foundation running into John Baldesarri along the way allowing for a nice catch-up session during the 15 minutes it takes to arrive there. The Beyeler always has unbelievable exhibitions particularly during Art/Basel. This year they had four remarkable shows! A major exhibition of the work of Alberto Giacometti; Africa, Oceana and Modern Art; Mark Quinn’s Selfs 1991-2006; and Franz West. These shows alone would make me want to go to Basel with or without Art/Basel on view. Obviously, Foundation Director Sam Keller has segued into a productive role after making such a big name for himself when he directed Art/Basel.

For more information on the exhibitions, click here.
Alberto Giacometti exhibition at Beyeler Foundation. Ellsworth Kelly in garden of Beyler Foundation.
By chance, I took the tram back with Sir Norman Rosenthal and we decided to take in the Design show component of Art/Basel as well as lunch. Back over to the fair for a few more hours and then we met up with collector Blake Byrne of Los Angeles and Paris for a drink.

Then the official Volkswagen VIP cars that are sponsors for Art/Basel took us out to the countryside of Basel where Peter Handschin and Martin Hatebur have their annual dinner at their country house. It’s always a social highlight with many friends gathering from around the world.
The crowd before Martin Hatebur and Peter Handschin's dinner outside Basel.
Norbert Michalke and Marc von Schmarsow in Munich at Arthur Duncan's. Charlie Scheips and Philipp Wolff.
The next morning I took an early train to Paris staying again with Jimmy Douglas at the rue du Bac. My Boston friend Meg Gordon was in Paris for two weeks with her husband Jim and their daughters. Meg escaped to have dinner with us at one of Paris’s hot new restaurants—La Société run by the Costes group, right across the street from the church in Saint Germain. We had dinner with art expert Yu-Chee Chong (living between London and Paris) and architect Guilluame Kuhlmann. The food was delicious. We had King Crab and escargot and then crispy duck and lamb chops accompanied by a tasty Crozes Hermitage.
Yu-Chee Chong, Jimmy Douglas, and Meg Gordon (inset: Charlie and architect Guilluame Kuhlmann) at La Société restaurant in Saint-Germain, Paris.
Local soccer team called the "Canaries" celebrating victory in Fleurance, France.
Thomas Gunther, Nina de Voogd, Susan Train and Marie-Jose Lipicard at cafe in Fleurance, France.
On Tuesday, I headed down by car with Susan Train to Le Gers region of France for a holiday. It is my fourth year going there and we have become great friends with the family of Denis and Sophie Edange, who own the house Susan takes in a little village just outside of Condom. Sophie’s families, the Marcellin’s, are local to the village and are the makers of fabulous Armagnac, Floc and Foie Gras under the name of Louis Marcellin. Her sister-in-law Catherine runs a vineyard nearby called Les Remparts where she creates delicious rose, white and red wines in the tradition of Gasgogne winemaking.

We’ve taken two field trips since we got down here: one to Rocamador—an amazing medieval pilgrimage town built into an enormous rock formation. The other day we took in the city of Albi, birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the site of the largest brick cathedral in the world, Sainte-Cecilia’s, which terrified heretics for centuries.
Lavender in bloom.
Artichokes and tomatoes and basil salad at home.
Our pool in Le Gers, France.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at his museum in Albi, France
Susan Train, Charlie Scheips, Marie-Jose Lipicard, and Thomas Gunther at Musee Toulouse-Lautrec.
Sainte-Cecilia at Albi, France. La Vie!
Last night, we were treated to an amazing dinner at the Edange’s house “Le Vigneau” just down the hill from us and surrounded by the vines and the prune trees from which they make their products. La belle France at its best! So now I savor these remaining days of leisure before heading back to New York via Paris and London.
Drive to Denis and Sophie Edange's house "Le Vigneau" at Gazaoupouy, France.
Arthur Edange serves Marie-Jose Lipicard. Denis Edange with Nina de Voogd.
Sophie Edange. Dinner set for 12 at the Edange's.
Dinner is served.
Our house seen from Le Vigneau. Inset: Upsa and Crumble not invited for dinner.
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