Paris – Czechoslovakian art and British Colonial Empire food

Exhibitions | A day in Paris
Paris – Czechoslovakian art and British Colonial Empire food

Paris – Czechoslovakian art and British Colonial Empire food

An exceptional retrospective of works by Toyen at the Musée d’Art Moderne. Marie Cerminova, a little-known, yet highly important artist, was born in Prague in 1902. She chose the name Toyen (the last 2 syllables of the French word citoyen - citizen) after spending time with anarchists and communists. Her choice illustrates how strongly she advocated freedom in all forms and always refused to be defined by an identity she had not chosen herself.

Her encounter with young painter Styrsky in 1922 marked the beginning of a lifelong collaboration, first of all with the Czech avant-garde Devetsil group, exploring purism and constructivism. Then they travelled around Europe and stayed in Paris, where they decided to name their mutual poetic vision “artificialism”.

In the 1930s, Toyen was one of the founding figures of the Czech surrealist group and focused her work on a series of obviously erotically inspired drawings and a series of drawings on the foreboding catastrophe to come, particularly portrayed in the Spectres of the Desert (1936) series and later in the enigmatic Shoot and Hide series of paintings she produced with tragic virtuosity in 1940.

Paris – Czechoslovakian art and British Colonial Empire food

André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, hosted an exhibition of her works in 1947 at the Denise René gallery and Toyen decided to exile herself to the French capital to escape totalitarism and soon took part in all the surrealist exhibitions, the 1959 Eros in particular.

Towards the end of her career, she experimented with collage in a most original fashion. The exhibition is an overall tribute to her highly singular, magnetic and visionary works.


Paris – Czechoslovakian art and British Colonial Empire food

Where to dine afterwards? There are several restaurants inside the MAM and at the Palais de Tokyo: Monsieur Bleu, Bambini and Forest, suggested in previous blogs, as well as the Sir Winston Churchill near the Arc de Triomphe. Completely overhauled by architect Laura Gonzalez, the legendary restaurant now has a strong colonial vibe recalling London and Bombay. We recommend the winter garden with terrace in the sunshine and the secret bar in the basement recalling a Speakeasy’s leather and wood décor.

The dishes on offer are also of British and Oriental influence, such as scotch eggs, tandoori octopus and delicious naan bread. The cocktails are another excellent feature, cleverly mixed to perfection (not too sweet) - the Route de la soie (gin, fresh lemon and rose petals) or the Chakotara (gin, chai tea and jasmine syrup) are pure delights!


"Toyen, An absolute divergence"
Until July 24, 2022

Musée d'Art Moderne

You like our content ? Follow Esprit de France on Instagram.


  • Hotel Champs Elysées Paris - Hotel du Rond Point des Champs Elysees

    From 160€

    Avenue des Champs Elysées

    More information

    Avenue des Champs Elysées

    Ideally situated just a stone’s throw from the Champs Elysées, this town house has been completely renovated following a Dimore Studio concept
    Book now