Sunday, March 17, 2013


While driving to an Eagle project yesterday, Chimo started asking questions about what differentiated humans from other mammals, and I said among other things it was most important that humans produced art---of many kinds---that could inspire and awe. This afternoon I decided to drop in at the Columbia Museum of Art to catch its "Impressionism from Monet to Matisse," a wonderful collection of paintings by such household names as Renoir, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Chagall, Seurat, as well as probably lesser-known artists such as Braque, Sisley, Forain, and Lepine. What an amazing show featuring great artists that many locally would not normally get a chance to enjoy. Oddly enough the two paintings I liked the best might be borderline (and not even) classified as impressionist. Edmond Georges Grandjean's "Changing Horses" is beautiful; I can't remember any horse painters that were better. Two giant white horses dominate the large canvas. I also liked Jean-François Raffaëlli, whose work seemed like a transition from realist to impressionist. On the other end of the spectrum falls Cezanne's "Trees and Rocks," which is darn near modernist. Probably my favorite piece, especially when viewed around ten feet away was Albert Marquet's "Blue Boat at Porquerolles." The water practically shimmered. Monet's "The Seine at Giverny" is a pastel, foggy delight, depicting a grouping of trees on the bank of a river. There were several ballet paintings and drawings from Degas (of course), Toulouse-Latrec, and others. Dance seemed a perfect theme for the impressionist quick style. Seurat's "The Picnic" seemed to reveal his path toward painting with the dots.  There were more than fifty works displayed, and Columbia is lucky to have them for a short while.

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