In this exhibition in June, you can see the work of artist Virginie Broquet, who has captured more than thirty French embassies all over the world. She has brought back from her travels delicate and exotic designs. With the exhibition at the Maison de France in Monaco, the globe-trotter embarks us on her adventure. It all started in 2003, when Broquet flew to Brasilia with her notebook and pens. Alongside other illustrators, she offered her vision of the city designed by Oscar Niemeyer and she took the opportunity to discover the embassy of France. As soon as she returned to France, she left for Beijing and then Lithuania, as part of a series of book fairs. Each of these trips was the occasion to knock on the door of the embassies of France. She fell under the charm of these places full of history. “That’s how I got the idea to propose a travel diary dedicated to these French embassies in the world.”
The Big and Little Story
From Bangkok to Dakar, via the Quai d’Orsay or the castle of Celle Saint-Cloud, the ritual is the same. Virginie Broquet settles in a small corner, being discreet. “I was nicknamed the little mouse of the Quai d’Orsay”, she mused. She opens her notebook, takes out her ballpoint pens. In the space of an hour, she draws with success these sumptuous salons. But she does not stop at the divine decorations.
She also captures the atmosphere and delivers snapshots of life in these timeless places. During her wanderings, she attended events that punctuate the daily life of these embassies: receptions of 14thJuly, inauguration of the bookstore Albertine in New York.
From her discussions with the ambassadors or the stewards, she learned details to complete the picture. “In these embassies there were real moments of history. In Prague, it was in this room of the Buquoy Palace that breakfast took place between François Mitterrand and Vaclav Havel on 9 December 1988. And Mozart and Ravel played in the Music Salon, she explains while showing her drawings exhibited in the renovated premises of the House of France of Monaco. She annotates each drawing by hand. And adds stamps or postcards to her travel diary. When she leaves the embassies, it is to climb to the terrace of a hotel, take in the Red Square or the river Cho Phraya in Bangkok.
Virginie Broquet still has two residences to check out before she’s done: Havana and Athens. Then, her approximately 300 illustrations will give rise to a book, “Embassy Travel Notebook” to be published by Hachette Le Chêne at the end of the year. Bon Voyage!
Find out more: Exhibition at the Maison de France, 42 rue Grimaldi. Open and free admission, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm.
Don’t miss out! Until 14 June, you have the chance to see this new exhibition of Virginie Broquet works.