Marlene Dumas: Le Spleen de Paris and Conversations
Musée d'Orsay, Paris. 12 October 2021–30 January 2022
A solo exhibition of work by Marlene Dumas is now open at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Marlene Dumas: Le Spleen de Paris presents a series of paintings inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s series of prose poetry by the same title, published posthumously in 1869.
Celebrating the bicentenary of Baudelaire's birth in 1821, the project was born from Dumas’ collaboration with the author and translator Hafid Bouazza with whom she had previously produced an edition of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis. Following this project, Dumas and Bouazza initiated a new project around Le Spleen de Paris, which gave birth to fifteen paintings, all inspired by Baudelaire: portraits, such as the ones of Charles Baudelaire and Jeanne Duval, but also depictions of motifs from the poems - the rat, the bottle - and works painted directly related to a poem - such as "The Poor Boy's Toy", "The Old Woman's Despair".
The exhibition illustrates the creative inspiration that Baudelaire represents for Dumas, whose oeuvre is nurtured by her fragmentary readings of poetry and literature. As a counterpoint to Le Spleen de Paris, the Musée d'Orsay also presents Marlene Dumas: Conversations, a dialogue of three key works by the artist with works from the collections.