Ludwig van

Beethoven’s life and legacy have become phenomenons that reach well beyond the realm of high culture. The Ludwig van exhibition reproduces his fascinating aura of popularity, which rivals that of political icons and rock stars.

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Affiche de l'exposition Ludwig vanDR
Photographie d'Oliviero Toscani représentant un groupe de rock harborant des perruques, référence à BeethovenOliviero Toscani

Following its recent exhibitions dedicated to figures as diverse as David Bowie, Pierre Boulez and Marc Chagall, the Philharmonie de Paris now offers us a new perspective on one of the key figures in the European and international music world: the composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

The Beethoven “myth” crosses all artistic genres, extending beyond cultural and geographical boundaries and, at the same time, it is the sign of a tradition and the symbol of these ever-changing modern times.

But the exhibition is not just confined to the composer’s works, the iconic, time-venerated symphonies, piano sonatas and string quartets and other pieces forming the regular repertoire of the Philharmonie de Paris. The stature of the composer extends far beyond the realms of classical music. Still present in so many and varied artistic forms, Beethoven transports us into a world of popular and intellectual, political and artistic imagination, a mirror in which our humanity is constantly reflected.

The Beethoven “myth” crosses all artistic genres, extending beyond cultural and geographical boundaries and, at the same time, it is the sign of a tradition and the symbol of these ever-changing modern times.

While the focus of the exhibition is maintained on Beethoven’s music and life, we set out to show how, even at the time of his death in 1827, or even before this tragic event, the “Ludwig van” myth never ceases to carve its name into the artistic, political, social and religious landscape.

From Gustav Klimt to Joseph Beuys, André Gide to Michael Haneke, Edward Burne-Jones to Antoine Bourdelle, John Baldessari, Stanley Kubrick and Pierre Henry, the ghost of Beethoven has continued to haunt artists and fulfil its purpose: to electrify the eye, the ear and the mind. We trust that visitors to this exhibition will have that same experience.

Laurent Bayle, Director General of the Cité de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris
Éric de Visscher, Director of the Musée de la musique

Exhibition curators: Marie-Pauline Martin, Colin Lemoine
Scenography: Atelier Maciej Fiszer
Graphic design: Krzysztof Sukiennik

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Photo credits :
Exhibition poster and Tickets page: John Baldessari, Beethoven’s Trumpet (with Ear) Opus # 131, 2007, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Ludwig van Cycle: Juan Gyenes, No XII de la Colección Beethoven : Sinfonía no 9 “Oda a la alegría”, 1969, VEGAP, Madrid 2016
Ludwig van Week-end: Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Beethoven, after the portrait by Joseph Stieler, 1987, screen-print, Bonn, Beethoven-Haus © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ ADAGP 2016