The Centre Pompidou Exhibition
: Heaven for Artists
Nov. 22. 2008 - Mar. 22. 2009
The Seoul Museum of Art
Curated by Didier Ottinger, chief curator of the Centre Georges Pompidou in close collaboration with GNC Media and SEMA, the exhibition presents 79 precious pieces from the Centre Georges Pompidou which is a major contemporary art museum in Paris. The paintings, sculptures, and installations are by 39 20th-century artists including Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Georges Braque (1882-1963), Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) and Fernand Leger (1881-1955). Living artists like Francois-Xavier Lalanne, 84, and Alain Jacquet, 69, are also featured.

The Masterly Art Collection from the Centre Pompidou in Paris
Travels to Korea for the First Time 

The SeMA and the Centre Pompidou co-host the exhibition,
The Pompidou Collection: Heaven for Artists,
opening on November 22, 2008, through March 22, 2009

The selective art collection from the Centre Pompidou will be presented to shed new light on modern and contemporary art. 
'Arcadia' for 20th-century artists

In this exhibition,
the theme of 'Arcadia' connects modern and contemporary artists 
 Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Braque, Leger, Bonnard, etc.
The exhibition examines the 20th-century artists' perception of the ideal paradise through their individual works

Conceived and curated by the professional leaders
of the international modern art world
The important figures who represent the Centre Pompidou participated in this exhibition project;
Didier Ottinger, the chief curator, and Kartia Rafit, exhibition designer and conservator.

Under the theme of 'Heaven for Artists - Arcadia,'
the exhibition is divided into 10 sub-themes to present a total of 79 pieces of art,
featuring not only paintings but also sculpture, installation, video works, etc
that survey the history of 20th-century art in the most unprecedented way.

Exhibition Content

  • 01. Golden Age

    The Golden Age connotes a period of primordial purity, abundance, justice, and happiness and celebrates cultural enrichment in mankind.

  • 02. Messenger

    In Nicolas Poussin’s paintings, a muse of the messenger is visible as the mediator between Gods and humankind, offering an opportunity for the shepherds to contemplate their heavenly Arcadia in earnest. The works in this section examine utopian wishes and idealogy.

  • 03. Arcadia 

    The term, Arcadia, is derived from the Greek province with mountainous topography. Despite its geological characteristics, Arcadia was often described as a land of blessing and prosperity, and Poussin reinterpreted the land in his paintings. Modern artists regarded the south France province as their own Arcadia and painted peaceful landscapes based on their perceptions for Arcadia. 

  • 04. Retrieved Arcadia
    The term, Retrieved Arcadia, was coined to denote the reconciliation of Arcadia from modern and traditional myths. The paintings from the 1960s often focus on the pursuit of self and seeking the origin of nature, ultimately leading to the reminisce of Arcadia.
  • 05. Abundance 

    Poussin’s The Arcadian Shepherds highlights the abundance of Arcadia. After Paul Cezanne, modern artists continued to study the subject of still life with a variety of fruits and food on plates, implying different aspects of affluence that Arcadia can offer.

  • 06. Vanity

    Poussin’s The Arcadian Shepherds includes the message of Memento Mori that death is inevitable whatsoever, even in Arcadia. Jewelry with skulls or coffins were the popular and conventional motifs that allude to memento mori signifying the impermanence of human life and contemplation.

  • 07. Pleasure

    While Arcadia was the utopian land, it was also escapism for men to express their natural instincts and desires that were suppressed in reality. The subject of female figures played a similar function for modern artists as to revealing their perception of utopia. 

  • 08. Harmony

    Arcadia becomes perfect when everything is aligned in harmony. For modern artists, Arcadia was the ideal and inspiring space where their unrealistic dreams come true.

  • 09. The Night

    We appreciate the light more significantly when you are in a dark place. By embracing the darkness and images of death, artists marched towards utopian land and kept motivated for new inspiration.

  • 10. Luncheon on the Grass

    Eduard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass reinterprets the urban hedonism and the modernity of pastoral scenery and carries the classic ‘eternal immortality’ in a sensuous way.  On the threshold of modern art, Manet’s painting suggests the continuity of the ‘Golden Age,’ ultimately the Arcadian dream.


  • Period
    • Nov. 22. 2008 - Mar. 22. 2009  
  • Venue 
    • The Seoul Museum of Art
  • Main Artists
    • 39 in Total (Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Chagall, Braque, Bonard, Dufy, De Chirico, Kandinsky, and more)
  • Total Artworks
    • 79 pieces 
  • Hosts
    • The Seoul Museum of Arts, The Pompidou Center, KBS 
  • Organizer
    • GNC Media, Ambassador of France in Korea, Ambassador of French Culture in Korea
  • Sponsors
    • Hana Card, Shinyoung Securities, Co., LTD, Korean Air, Hansol Education, IP Deaux, CJ O-Shopping, LIG Insurance, Renault Samsung, SK Enclean, Louis Quatorze, Westin Josun Hotel, TATE 
  • Support
    • Seoul City Hall, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea Tourism Organization