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Posts tagged ‘Impressionism’

Slow Art Day 2015: Two Nanny Paintings

One of the most amazing things about museums is that every visit can bring you a new discovery.  I decided to spend Slow Art Day 2015 with the National Gallery of Art.  Even though the NGA and I are old friends, I still found some amazing pieces, examined overlooked details and learned about a new artist.  In the spirit of the Slow Art movement, let me show you just a piece of what I found when I decided to limit myself to looking at 5 paintings in the whole museum.

national gallery of art in Spring

The National Gallery of Art Rotunda decorated for Spring

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Real Gardens that Inspired Art

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing Spring!  Take a look at all the great stories at the bottom of the page.

"The Unicorn in Captivity", Netherlandish, 1495-1505 (Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Unfortunately the unicorn in this lovely garden is pure fantasy.  “The Unicorn in Captivity”, Netherlandish, 1495-1505 (Photo: The Cloisters Collection)

While Washington D.C. has been stubbornly cold this March, I’m just starting to see the first bulbs pop up.  And nothing announces Spring like flowers!  Gardens and their exquisite flora have always been a popular subject in Art, but not all of the places in these paintings are made up locations.  Let’s take a look at a few of the “real” gardens behind some famous paintings.

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MFA to Sell Impressionist Works to Purchase Rare Caillebotte

"Man at His Bath" by Gustave Caillebotte

To help fund the purchase a rare piece by Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is selling eight works.   These paintings by Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and Vasily Vereshchagin are expected to fetch between $16.6 million and $24.3 million.  It is not surprising that the MFA will need to sell art to raise the funds; its donors have recently and generous supported a fantastic new American Art wing and a Contemporary Art wing.  The painting is well worth the sell-off (especially since the paintings in question have not been exhibited since 2003) and I look forward to its permanent place at the MFA.

The new acquisition is “Man at His Bath” which is notable because there are not many works Caillebotte available and is extraordinary because there are very few Impressionist male nudes.  Gustave Caillebotte (1848 – 1894) was fortunate enough to be wealthy during Belle Epoch Paris which allowed him to buy works from his friends Monet, Renoir and others known today as the Impressionist.  While his patronage may have had a longer lasting effect, Caillebotte himself was a very gifted artist.  He and Édouard Manet are my favorite painters from the late 19th century Parisian art scene mainly because they focused on daily activities while often alluding to the darkness of modern urban life.  While “Man at His Bath” is mundane but intimate, his most famous work “Paris Street; Rainy Day” at the Art Institute of Chicago depicts isolated figural groupings moving through dreary streets.  Both paintings are expertly composed with a balance of light and dark and interesting lines.  Caillebotte’s unique nude “Man at His Bath” is an excellent addition at the MFA – definitely worth a landscape or two.

"Paris Street; Rainy Day" by Gustave Caillebotte

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