Saturday, June 19, 2010

Look Who's Come to Visit

le fifre (détail), originally uploaded by nicolas★patte.

When I was a child my family moved from New York City to Los Angeles; at about the same time, the Dodgers made the same move. I was thrilled they had followed me.

Now that we've come back to the Bay Area, I'm thrilled to find that the Musée d'Orsay has also arrived here, although this time I'm not under the impression it has anything to do with me.

The DeYoung Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is exhibiting nearly 100 works from the currently under renovation Musée d'Orsay under the rubric "The Birth of Impressionism". An excellent show, it tracks the move from classical Salon painting to Courbet, Manet and on to Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Degas and others. A second exhibition of some of the Orsay's post-Impressionist masterpieces will open after this one closes.

It was a bit disconcerting to view out of their usual context paintings we had seen many times, but at the same time it allowed us to see new things about the paintings themselves and their juxtapositions with others. And it was great to be able to see some of my favorite Manets up close and personal. Definitely worth seeing.

There's a companion exhibition at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, called 'Impressionist Paris, the City of Light', which we intend to see soon. The Legion of Honor building sits on a headland overlooking the Pacific and was copied from the Palais de la Légion dHonneur in Paris, which currently houses an enormous collection of medals and military honors from all over the world. We know because we ducked in to get out of the rain a few months ago when the line to get into the Orsay, just across the street, was too long.

I love eavesdropping on other viewers. My favorite line at the exhibition was a young man saying to his female companion in front of Bouguereau's 'Birth of Venus', "Oh we have that! No, we don't. This is by a Frenchman. The Botticelli has a tree...this is different."

Well, I'm not sure it's the tree...

1 comment:

Danice and Paul said...

Hi Shelli & Gene,
We are off July 8, for 2 weeks in Paris, so I was checking out your great blog. Sounds like you've been having a great time. We also loved the Impressionist shows at the DeYoung and Legion of Honor, but I'm sad to think the Impressionists aren't waiting for us at the Musee D'Orsay. I see they still have a lot of other great art on lower floors.
Anything we just shouldn't miss? We're home exchanging in the upper 11th e. Then we head to cooler St. Malo for 2 weeks.
Take care, Danice (McGrew) Fagin