Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cincinnati art 6 -- the good old boys

Still lots of art to tell you about that I saw at the Cincinnati Art Musum last month.  Fifteen or twenty years ago my favorite artists were the impressionists, and although I will always have a special place in my heart for Monet, my tastes have changed.  If Claude will forgive me, I must fess up that these days I like Cezanne and Matisse just as much among the old guys, and in general I prefer my art considerably newer.

But you can't help but pause and relax into a transcendent state when you hit that barely-pre-modern era in the museum.  Here are several that I would be happy to take home with me.  Starting from the oldest:

Gustave Courbet, Sunset, Vevey, Switzerland, 1874

Alfred Sisley, Bougival, 1876

Claude Monet, Rocks at Belle-Ile, Port-Domois, 1886

Couldn't you just eat this one with a spoon?  I want to sit down on a bench and hyperventilate for a while over the light on the horizon.

Vincent Van Gogh, Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890

Now we're into the Post-Impressionists (I always have a hard time keeping track of when one period ends and the next one starts).  The wall signs helpfully explain that the Impressionists "sought to accurately record the colors and atmospheric conditions of the world around them" while the Post-Impressionists focused on "the symbolic and expressive aspects of color." 

Andre Derain, The Bridge at LePecq, 1904-5

Derain was one of the early Fauves, the bunch of mostly French painters whose exuberant use of non-realistic color gave the fusty art establishment the vapors.  Fauve means wild animal, and that's about how they were regarded by the conservatives. 

Maurice Utrillo, The Red Wall, Boulevard De La Chapelle, ~1910

Theo Doesburg, Composition Variation, 1918

Nicholas de Stael, White Bowl, 1954

I know this was painted within my lifetime, which should make it at the very tail end of "modern" and starting to be "contemporary art," but it has a much older feel and I am not embarrassed to put it in the same post as the other much earlier artists.


  1. Hi Kathy, I don't know if my original comment made it through cyberspace. I wanted you to know I'm enjoying your comments. It's like walking through the museum with you.

  2. Yes, I love the visits and I am always grateful to the museums that let us take photographs.