Saturday, September 25, 2010

C partie duex: chefs-d'oeuvre, Centre Pompidou-Metz

Qu'est-ce qu'un chef-d'oeuvre? Well that's the question upon which the inaugural exhibition of the recently opened Centre Pompidou-Metz is trying to answer.

There's a lot to see: over 700 works of art are on display. I was pleased encounter some of my favorites art objects, discover work I wasn't familiar with from favorite artists as well as see something totally new to me. It is an overwhelming exhibition, a sensory overload. At the end... I think the question remains: What is a masterpiece?

Chefs-d'oeuvre at the Centre Pompidou-Metz

until 25 October 2010

le chef-d'oeuvre noun, masculine

chefs-d'oeuvre plural

There's actually no need to translate this word as it can be found in the dictionary as is.

Seen from a view of posterity, her "boring" job was to provide Julia Child with the discipline, the autonomous organizational skill, the patience to devise, test and perfect the recipes in her encyclopedic chef-d'oeuvre: "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (1961, 1970), on which her immortality can be said to rest.”

—The Wall Street Journal, "Julia Child: The OSS Years"

However, there was one thing at Les Jardies of which he was really proud; and that was his system of bell-ringing, which he considered a _chef-d'oeuvre_.”

Honore de Balzac, His Life and Writings

-Example sentences in English from a compilation at the online dictionary

(CHEF se prononce CHÈ.) n. m. Ouvrage parfait ou très beau en quelque genre que ce puisse être. Ce palais est un chef-d'oeuvre d'architecture, un chef-d'oeuvre de l'art. Un chef-d'oeuvre de la nature. Les chefs- d'oeuvre de Corneille.

Par extension, C'est un chef-d'oeuvre d'habileté, de malice, d'impertinence, etc., Ce qu'un tel a fait, a dit, annonce beaucoup d'habileté, de malice, d'impertinence, etc.

Fig. et par ironie, Il a fait là un beau chef-d'oeuvre, voilà de ses chefs-d'oeuvre, se dit d'un Homme qui a causé quelque désordre, qui a fait quelque chose de mal par inadvertance, par emportement.

Il se disait autrefois de l'Ouvrage difficile que faisaient les ouvriers dans le métier où ils voulaient passer maîtres. Présenter son chef-d'oeuvre.

-Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, huiteme edition (1932-5) thanks to the ARTFL Project: Dictionnaires d'autrefois

La photo: Viewing the clouds of Metz, France from Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec's installation, 32 Clouds, at the Centre Pompidou-Metz. Septembre 2010.

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