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17 January 2011 @ 10:03 pm
Post-Impressionists at the De Young  
Van Gogh's Starry Night is a beautiful painting.


(The Starry Night pictured above, not the more famous painting by the same title.  That painting, too, is stunning, but I like the more subdued theme of this piece.  It's full title is The Starry Night Over the Rhone, I think, but I've always heard it referred to as Starry Night.)  It is the centerpiece of the DeYoung's Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay show, which closes tomorrow evening. 

I've never cared for either Gauguin or Cezanne, but Van Gogh paintings are always a treat to see in person because of the vigor of his brushstrokes.  He brings a colorful vitality to his art that I think really is refreshing.  He doesn't have the coldness of Seurat's scientific pointillism and when he's at his best, he captures the relationship between mood and what we see perfectly.  He's one of the few artists from the time period that I really admire; I could take or leave about 90% of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

It's a good collection of paintings from the time period.  Van Gogh's famous Bedroom at Arles is there.  Gaugain's narcisstic self-portraits are present, as are his Tahitian women.  There was a large canvas by Rousseau that interested me.  He reminds me of a childrens' book illustrator, Rousseau does; if he'd been born one hundred years later I have a feeling that's what he would do for a living.  It seemed like the pointillism gallery went on for days.  I was disapponted by the lack of Edgar Degas' work; I think there may have been one sketch by him and that was all.  Renoir and Monet, naturally, had a few canvas each.

Mom really wanted to see this exhibition, so I took her today.  She and I have very different interests in art, so she's a difficult person for me to visit museums with.  In the galleries where I would linger, she speeds through. In the galleries that bore me, she'll stop and examine every piece.  But she wants us to look at the paintings together so she complains if I leave her behind in a room.  It's really uncomfortable, but the pouting and fussing I have to listen to if we don't go is worse.  If she hadn't been so eager, I'm not sure I would have gone.  Overall, I guess I'm glad that we did go...if for no other reason than the Museum gift shop had all the merchandise related to the show at 50% off.  I got a nice big Renoir umbrella and a paint set for half price; that's pretty nice!



Edit to add: Yesterday there was a Van Gogh quote in my day planner: There is no blue without yellow and without orange.  I like that, don't you?