Anyone who has been to Paris in the last 20 years is likely to be familiar with the arches of glass bubbles at the entrance to the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre metro station. The cupolas, which have become a popular rendezvous marker for Parisiens and tourists alike, are the work of French sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel, who created them in 2000 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Paris subway. Othoniel’s spindling glass sculptures, made alongside the best Murano and Basel glassmakers, have enchanted the art world for the last three decades. He has held exhibitions at the Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and his work is a part of the Louvre’s permanent collection.
Othoniel will also be the first artist to be invited by the Musée du Petit Palais to take over the entire museum, including its garden. His Le Théorème de Narcisse exhibition opened late last month and runs until January 2, 2022, and features more than 70 new works.
To honour his contribution to French art, Othoniel was inducted into the prestigious Académie des Beaux-arts’ sculpture department in 2018, as one of only six permanent members of the committee. He will officially take his seat on October 6 after the induction ceremony.