Thursday, August 23, 2012


Golly, it's wonderful to see art --ART that makes me want to drink in the colors, the mood of this painting -- "Large Bather's By The Sea." It was painted by Cezanne in, 1906.

The show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is called "Visions of Arcadia Over the Years." Arcadia -- in music, painting, and theater -- has come to mean a mystical place of harmony and contentment, a paradise.

The Museum in Philly brought together three great painters who lived around the same time -- Cezanne, Matisse and Gauguin.

This is Matisse's vision -- "Bathers by the River," painted by him around 1909.

This is a Gauguin.

When he painted this in 1898, Gauguin called it, "Where Do We Come From. What Are We? Where Are We Going?"

These three painters, at the beginning of the nineteen-hundreds, (the beginning of the 20th Century), were blessing life, breathing it in, seeing, enjoying, reflecting on the world we live in.

This inspires me to say, loud and clear, I don't want to see artist Damien Hirst's spots, his animals in formaldehyde, his diamond skull. and be told it is "great art," and how many millions Hirst's art is making.

I can't bow to current art critics, or the heads of various museums, and take their words as truth about what is good. If what I'm looking at evokes no feeling or reaction except "gee, what is this? why is this here?" I stop looking.

I'm not selling this to you. I'm just telling the truth about how I feel about art and artists right now. For me, the mystical world of harmony and contentment doesn't exist anymore. Bathers? In seas polluted by residue from the killer earthquake in Japan? Beaches ruined by the last horrifying oil leak? The few untouched beaches are horrifically crowded with too many people yearning for a happy time in the sun, despite what we know about sun rays and cancer?

Hey, we are living in a world where every day there are revelations of bad stuff -- poverty, wrong-doings, innocents murdered, political doings chock full of hate -- hate in the air, which is polluted we're told.

Okay, I like Picasso --he never ceases to amaze me. I don't love Andy Warhol's works, but I sense his search and like that he "talked" in his art works about the world he landed in. Yes, I'm confused and bored by Rothko, but I'm glad that I've got these painters to view. And I'm glad, oh my, I am glad -- so very glad we've got Cezanne, Matisse and Gauguin at the Philly museum, along with Henri Rousseau.

Rousseau's' last painting is also on display there. He painted 350 paintings. This last one is "Dream," first exhibited in 1910, a few months before he died.

Ah, the dream of that dream touches me.


Anonymous said...

I like Roussea painting you showed, it is dreamlike and I like the colors. Didn't care for bathers by the sea. I enjoy going to art exhibits and there is one in KC. Thanks for sharing the Philly art-enjoyed the walk through and discussion. kam

Carola said...

I love Cezanne and Rousseau. I enjoy Matisse, but don't care for Gaugin that much. Yes, I love older art. My husband and I share a special interest in the famous Dutch painters (Vermeer, Rembrandt, et al) and in 19th century American landscape art (F.E. Church, Thomas Moran, Bierstadt). But almost any art, even the most crazy contemporary art if it is curated and presented well and there isn't too much of it can intrigue me. My love of American landscape art started with a very small and extremely well curated exhibit at the Smithsonian. A docent talk about ONE painting at LACMA in LA turned me on to the Ashcan school.

Unknown said...

My mother used to visit that museum in Philly. I’ve never been there, but I have seen many of these great works in Paris and in several of the wonderful art museums in NYC. Some I have seen many times.

Matisse is my favorite and always will be. Matisse’s works are happy and his colors and composition…well…I own many of his prints that line my walls.

I believe that you are right in saying that art reflects the times that they were done in. I could go on and on about what I considered the total superficiality of artists like Andy Warhol for example.

From what I can see of most of the “hot” artists of today, they seem to be expressing the turmoil that we are living in. Like you, I do not want anything like that around me. Art should be a joyful (even if only momentary) experience. As I walk my hall and other rooms, I am lifted by what I see on my walls. A few are originals or signed and numbered lithographs.

My Matisse collection consists of only very good quality prints, but they are there and I always feel a sense of joy from them.

Gus said...

If only someone paid em for their work they'd probably still be alive. Poor painters they all become rich once dead. :)

Anonymous said...

You're talking about paintings that are a hundred years old, Em.
Im a big Frederic Remington fan, but he was in about the same time period.
When I was painting, there was Warhol who was very famous, but I can't think of another world class artist recognized in this century.
In the 1990s, the art world collapsed and many painters had a hard time making a living.
Now, the art markets still aren't very good.
A few visual artists have been able to succeed in mass marketing, but the rest must have a day job.
The very wealthy buy a pile of (literally) garbage that's been placed and titled in an art gallery.
So art these days leaves something to be desired.
But if you look very carefully, there are many exquisite images to be found.
Hope for us all.
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Maureen Jacobs said...

You wrote about the Art Museum in Philly. I am doing the happy dance. After a night out othe town, we always drove by there around 2 am. Believe it or not, I have been inside to see the rich collection of art than drapes the walls.

Art for me is very private. What I get from a piece is sacred. It is as if the artist and I have had a "moment" that was only meant for us. The artist is incredibly talented, but I do not have a favourite. My selection of art is based on the individual piece. Artists are all talented in their own way. I just am lucky enough to be able to view it in my own way.