What to see this Fall: 19th and 20th centuries

The Grand Palais is holding the big retrospective that the Swiss painter Felix Vallotton deserves -- his very modern and realist style makes us forget, for a moment, he worked primarily in the  late 1800s and early 1900s, as part of the group Les Nabis. His focus on character, narrative and daily life was unique for his period and foreshadowed later work by, among others, Edward Hopper. We cannot wait to see it! (October 2 - January 20).

Musée d’Orsay digs deep into its own and others’ collections to present oft-underrepresented male nudes in a major exposition. Masculin/Masculin, looks at the art of the male created between 1800 and today. At Musee d’Orsay (September 24>January 2), with warnings that the exhibits might prove shocking to some, especially kids. It’ll be curious to reflect on why we’re so familiar with female nudes, and so startled by the males.

For modern art lovers, Surrealism and the Object is the title of an exhibition at Centre Pompidou (Octobre 30>March 3), organized in conjunction with the Hirschorn Museum in Washington, DC. It explores the artist’s relationship to the subject of the work, including the foregrounding of common objects (think Salvador Dali), right on through to the artist as the subject (think Cindy Sherman). The 100 paintings and 40 photographs range from the 1920s to the present.  

And, at Grand Palais, the first retrospective on Braque in over 40 years. During their lifetime, Matisse, Picasso and Braque were considered the three best modern painters. Gradually, Braque was overshadowed by his friend Picasso, who called himself "his climbing partner" with whom he developed Cubism. A perfect opportunity to rediscover his work.