|The Grand Palais taken from the window at the Petit Palais|
The two are located across from each other, and while it is smaller in size, the Petit Palais is just as grand and ornate, particularly the entrance.
|The grand foyer of the Petit Palais|
There are some well-known artists displayed here too, like Pierre Bonnard, Mary Cassatt, Auguste Renoir and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. Claude Monet's Sunset on the Seine at Lavacourt was a highlight, featuring a grey-blue sky illuminated by a brilliant orange sun going down and its reflection is in the river.
The museum also has several sculptures dotted around the place, and one beautiful one was Antoine Bourdelle's Penelope made of bronze, dated 1909. While it's in an ancient Greek pose, the proportion is such that it focuses more on the lower half of her body, in particular the drapery of her dress. The piece looks very modern, on the verge of being Cubist.
|A very ornate Petit Palais, across from the Grand Palais|
Following the theme there was also an elaborate clock by Jean Moisy and on the base were an orchestra of monkeys wearing outfits a la Madame Pompadour and playing instruments. How bizarre!
Nevertheless the pieces of furniture were very beautiful, with inlaid wood and other materials as well as carvings.
Another highlight of the place is the garden at the back and a small cafe where you can enjoy the view as you have lunch. I did just that, having a sandwich and fruit salad.
|A statue of a woman with her pet monkey|
After paying 11 euros (the Louvre was 10 euros, Musee d'Orsay 9 euros), it was disappointing to find it was a small show and featured mostly his earlier works from the 1960s and 1970s. I am more familiar with his work from the 1990s in Vogue magazine.
In any event there were some interesting tidbits about him I didn't know:
He was born Helmut Neustadtler in Berlin in 1938 and escaped the persecution of the Nazis. He somehow made his way to Singapore where he worked for the Singapore Straits Times. Wonder what kind of photography he was doing there!
Then two years later he moved to Australia where he served in the Australian army and in 1946 became a naturalized citizen and changed his name to Helmut Newton.
A few months before his death in 2004, Newton was quoted by Newsweek as saying:
|More simians dressed up a la Madame Pompadour on a clock|
His wife June made a rambling documentary, following him around as he did photo shoots or in a bathrobe in hotel rooms, talking on the phone to editors about taking on assignments.
At one point he says on the phone that his rate is $10,000 and then in another scene says directly to the camera that he's just made $10,000 and is going to buy June some jewellery.
But it was more interesting watching him working on his photo shoots and explaining why he arranged the shot in a certain way.
|Monet's Sunset on the Seine at Lavacourt|
He also liked to nap in the afternoons before a shoot and the image of the photograph would usually come into his head then. He was so specific about the shoot that he'd only take about six shots which drove editors crazy because they were expecting a whole roll of film. But he wanted to make sure he was in total control of the shots.
And his photographs are provocative.
|Penelope by Antoine Bourdelle|
There are large-scale photos showing several models walking together in a studio with clothes on, then without.
"The 'big nudes' began in 1980 and were inspired by police identity photos of German terrorists," said Newton in 2003. "I intentionally made 21 of these images until 1993."
He also took portraits of famous people, such as Yves St Laurent, Princess Caroline, Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie of Monaco, David Lee Roth, Salvador Dali, Catherine Deneuve and Andy Warhol.
In the documentary he is seen shooting Luciano Pavarotti, and after the session is over, the opera star turns the tables on Newton and makes him take his shirt off as he shoots the photographer.
|A poster of Helmut Newton's exhibition|
Each picture tells a story -- some kind of fantasy that involves sexuality and identity.
Newton seems intent on getting some kind of reaction from the viewer, be it disgust, shock or satisfaction.
And even 50 years later his images continue to provoke, so he must be pleased with his accomplishments.