Good friends are like teachers. They help enrich our lives by opening our eyes to new things. I visited Paris in 1986 and probably visited this museum but I had no recollection on that visit. My interest in Impressionistic art began when my friend shared her interest with me back in 1997. She had a collection of books and calendar prints and I was enthralled. Perhaps it was also because I started learning folk art painting then and my interest in other forms of art also grew.
(Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise) – Wikipedia)
When I learned about the exhibitions from MUSEE D’OSAY, I called her in KL to arrange to go together as she’ll be in town. To my surprise, her enthusiasm has waned but she agreed to come along.
We were lucky as we arrived just in time for a guided tour. Our guide made the visit worthwhile. (We missed her introduction and so I did not get her name.)
This exhibition (now until Feb 2012 @ the National Museum of Singapore) features over 140 works and showcases seminal pieces from important artists including Claude Monet, Paul Cezzane and Vincent van Gogh.
The guide introduced several key pieces by telling us the story behind each piece and the interesting details and the signature touches from each artists and how they evolved over time. History played an important part in art and the colours used during the periods of wars are often dark and gloomy. Others uses different strokes, stipples, etc.
This is a portrait of Madam Gaudibert 1868 by Claude Monet. The family who commissioned it was not happy as the face is turned. But check out the details of the fabrics. Monet wanted to show off her elegance.
One signature piece is this one by Vincent van Gogh. This is one of two ‘Starry Night’ he painted. The oil was applied with a paint knife rather than a brush. Even now, it’s said that the ‘strokes’ are still soft to the touch.
The other ‘Starry Night’ was painted while he was in an asylum when he became insane. Instead of glittering stars, it had yellow swirls instead. The guide said this piece is more well-known. Check it out for yourself.
Mike, being an avid photographer, was interested in the prints and photographs from early last century.
Kids are not left out in this exhibition. At the exit, there are kids’ book on impression arts and the artists, as well as colour pencils and crayons for the kids to do their own art. I couldn’t resist and here is my interpretation of Regatta at Argentuil by Monet in colour pencil.
This is a an opportunity to start your appreciation of art and one should not miss it. Credit must go to my guide that day for making my museum visit so enriching and interesting.