Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Visiting the Art Institute in Chicago

I certainly enjoyed our visit to the Art Institute yesterday... not nearly long enough, of course. Here are some pics of some of the gems I got to see up close.

Un dimanche apres-midi a l'Ile de la Grande Jatte (1884-86) by Georges Seurat... I'm standing at the left, to give you an idea of the enormous scope of this painting. Here's a closeup so you can see the dots that make up this amazing work of pointillism:

Red Fish enjoyed this Van Gogh painting of his bedroom:

I love Gauguin's work:

But I think he was kind-of crummy for abandoning his wife & kids, leaving them behind in Hell France while he dashed off to Tahiti. The least he could've done was take them with him. It might've bothered me somewhat that my husband was cavorting with nekkid Polynesian babes, but hey -- it's TAHITI, for Pete's sake. If it really bothered me that much, I'd walk to the other side of the island.

Anyway, back to the Institute... there were art students all over the place, making sketches. Here's one studying Picasso:

And of course, because we're Iowans, here's the one Grant Wood's most famous for:

Neither Red Fish nor I care that much for American Gothic, however... we both like his Iowa landscape paintings much more. What's really weird is that, although his paintings seem almost cartoonish sometimes, the Iowa landscape really does have green, undulating hills with rows upon rows of corn and snug white farmhouses, and Wood's portrayals are quite realistic actually.

Here's Wasily Kandinsky:

And Diego Rivera:

And Rene Magritte:

And as Red Fish and I were heading back down the stairs, we enjoyed an enormous Georgia O'Keeffe gem:

When we were finally able to tear ourselves away, outside we were serenaded by a saxophonist:

It was a very happy trip and I can't wait to go back so I can spend some time studying those paintings more closely. There is a great deal to a painting that you can only see by looking at the original; having a book with colorplates is nice, but it just doesn't compare to seeing the real thing. Red Fish and I were standing in front of one particular Renoir and she noted, "I've seen this painting dozens of times in books, but no picture I've ever seen has been able to capture the intensity of this blue." She was right... it made you look twice, three times.

This afternoon I'm getting right to work on another project. I'll share pics with you, but not until next week sometime.

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