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LES ECHOS

Worldwide Tour De Force, Why Top Museums Are Partnering Up

The grandest museums increasingly share their most prestigious exhibitions across borders for both aesthetic and economic reasons.

Hanging a Robert Rauschenberg at Tampa Museum of Art
Hanging a Robert Rauschenberg at Tampa Museum of Art
Nicole Vulser

PARIS — A blockbuster exhibit that opened this month at the Grand Palais will draw art lovers to the French capital. But "Gauguin The Alchemist," which explores experimentation in the French artist's creative process, is very much an international affair.

Three entities, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musée d'Orsay and the Orangerie, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais (Rmn-GP), a French Ministry of Culture agency, have organized the Gauguin show. Indeed, it was first unveiled in Chicago, where the concept for the show originated, and ultimately clocked some 220,000 visits. "There is a tacit rule that the exhibition begins in the museum that takes the initiative with the project," says Marion Mangon, head of the exhibitions department at Rmn-GP.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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