Organised in partnership with the Guangdong Museum of Art, this new exhibition has once again been entrusted to Jean-Louis Froment, the curator of the two previous Culture Chanel exhibitions. This event will take place at the Guangzhou Opera House, designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, from January 16th to March 3rd, 2013.

Based on the longstanding links between Chanel and the arts, this exhibition centres on Pablo Picasso’s stage backdrop, designed and created by him for the 1924 ballet, Le Train Bleu (The Blue Train). This major work, conserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, has been exceptionally lent by the museum for this occasion. Le Train Bleu, a ballet produced by Serge Diaghilev, owes its name to the train that once linked Paris with the Côte d’Azur. He commissioned Darius Milhaud as composer, Jean Cocteau as librettist, Henri Laurens as set designer, Pablo Picasso for the programme and backdrop, and Mademoiselle Chanel as costume designer.

Gabrielle Chanel’s creative and intimate world is traced out like filigree when seen through the different artists who contributed to Le Train Bleu’s creation. She maintained a lifelong dialogue with them and their friendship gave impetus to her extraordinary creative output. This freedom of thought, combined with the desire to liberate the body through movement expressed at the turn of the 20th century (whether in sport or dance), are two fundamental aspects of the Chanel style.
Starting from a perceptive reading and a deconstruction of the different elements in the backdrop, the exhibition develops around five themes derived from the standpoints: Breathe, Move, Love, Dream and Invent.

These themes, that underpin the creative universe and values of Chanel, are evoked through 400 works, including photographs, drawings, paintings, manuscripts, books, films and creations from fashion (from Mademoiselle Chanel to Karl Lagerfeld), as well as from watchmaking, fine jewellery and fragrances.
Among the pieces exhibited visitors will discover for the first time around thirty previously unseen drawings by Pablo Picasso from a private collection, along with drawings by Amedeo Modigliani that are portraits of the major protagonists involved in Le Train Bleu’s creation.
Conceived to be an “exhibition in 5 acts with 1 painting”, these five themes ultimately lead visitors towards the exhibition’s masterpiece - the backdrop by Picasso.

Photo Jean Moral © Brigitte Moral