Palais de Tokyo was launched as part of the 1937 world fair held in Palais de Chaillot. Nowadays, the building in Paris houses two art galleries, one with an extensive collection of 20th Century art, artworks related to styles Cubism, Dadaism, Fauvism, Surrealism etc., and another wing devoted to contemporary works of art.
History of Palais de Tokyo in Paris
The avenue that separates the Palais de Tokyo and the Avenue de New York was once known as Avenue de Tokio, which explains why the pavilion’s name rhymes with the capital of Japan. This street was renamed following the end of World War II. During WWII, the pavilion was actually used under Nazi-occupied France to exhibit artworks from contemporary artists. Palais de Tokyo went on to become a museum in 1961, when the modern art collection was moved to its ground floor.
Architecture of Palais de Tokyo
Up to four architects together created a big complex with two separate sections that face toward the Seine River in Paris. A colonnade connects these two sections of Palais de Tokyo; two staircases facing the river connect the row of columns with a plaza beneath, topped off with a fountain having a large basin. The façade of the building also has statues of nymphs created by Antoine Bourdelle and bas-reliefs created by another French sculptor, Alfred Auguste Janniot.
The Museums of Palais de Tokyo
Palais de Tokyo was constructed to house two museums or wings of the pavilion, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris to the east and Site de Création Contemporaine to the west. The east wing of Palais de Tokyo houses modern artwork collection including paintings, photos, sculptures, etc., and the west wing is home to contemporary works of art and hosts temporary exhibitions.
The permanent collections in the east wing launched in 1961 were moved from Petit Palais, which started to run out of space just as the artwork collection of Paris began to grow in the past. It is the direct counterpart of Centre Pompidou museum, the collections of which is nothing short of exemplary either.
The west wing of Palais de Tokyo was launched in 2002 and host exhibits, lectures, and expositions on contemporary and conceptual art. It is one of Europe’s largest galleries, and a must-visit place when on a Paris city tour.