Friday, April 8, 2011

Review: Gauguin and Canaletto Exhibit's at our National Museum and the Chester Dale Collection

Preparations for an art program are keeping me busy this week along with a side trip to the National Museum to see the Gauguin and Canaletto Exhibit's.  But my most favorite exhibit of the day was the Chester Dale Collection - From Impressionism to Modernism (who gave to the museum some 300 works of art.  Chester who (1883-1962) was a successful businessman who made his fortune on Wall Street, and his artist/critic wife Maud put together one of the finest collections of 19th and early 20th century art.  One that I think rivals the Frick collection in New York.  The Monet's, Degas's and Cezanne were wonderful but the several Mary Cassatt's were my favorites.  While the Picasso exhibit still is on here in Richmond the several pieces they owned of his Blue period were also intriguing.   I wish I could share with you images here on this blog but I wouldn't want to infringe on copyright issues.   This is simply a must see for anyone who visits the museum.  (Many of these works are exhibited only here as was Mr. Dale's request.)  

The purpose of the trip was to see the prior mentioned exhibits.  Although Gauguin was not one of my favorite painter's his life was an interesting tale with an tragic end.  What I did find in this collection of paintings, wood carvings and ceramic sculptures was several almost impressionistic paintings he did, which was so out of his normal style.  Having always loved the skills needed to carve wood but lacking the strength in my own hands, I found his works in wood fascinating.  Also his ceramic sculptures.  Although some of his subject matter was a bit disturbing.  His love of the island people of Tahiti is apparent.

Canaletto's paintings in Venice were of course the detailed works of architecture that I adore but never want to replicate.  During the time of the Venetto  artists painting this city for tourism sales, Canaletto was surely the master who started it all.  What I found interesting was from the selection of his piers Canaletto seemed to paint the pristine and the "department of tourism approved" view of Venice.  Several of his piers portrayed the city a bit more realistic and time worn.  But all displayed an extremely technical command of their brushes.  (Amazing when you think of the quality of brushes they had to work with.)

Now when people say my colored pencil is time consuming I'll think to my self "Whoa if they could only see those Canaletto's."

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