Category: Painting

  • “To Shoot or Not to Shoot” or “How I Learned to Stop Judging and Love the Camera”

    “To Shoot or Not to Shoot” or “How I Learned to Stop Judging and Love the Camera”

    Yesterday I returned to the Musée d’Orsay.  The first thing I did was to take the five floors up to the Post-Impressionist collection to Douanier Rousseau’s painting War.  Last year I regretted not having taken a picture of it to use in the classes I teach at the Lab School because there is no reproduction…

  • Don’t just stand there! Eat it!

    Don’t just stand there! Eat it!

    So, call it a midlife crisis:  I recently got out my old guitar, its case covered with political slogans and names of punk bands, and tried my hand at a couple songs by Georges Brassens and Nick Drake. The crooning is okay, but the strumming is halting and clumsy, after years of not playing.  It…

  • A great day at the Musée d’Orsay!

    n Tomorrow I’m going to the Louvre, so please indulge me the cheap rhyme in the title of this post:  April is, after all, National Poetry Month and rest assured, nothing rhymes with “Louvre” in English (it’s now 2:42 a.m. and I’ve been lying in bed trying to think of something). n Today was the…

  • “I’m sending you my dirty laundry…”

    n I’m sending you my dirty laundry writes Courbet to his parents in 1839. Courbet is only twenty years old, a student at Besançon, and looks like the self-assured young man in this self-portrait (not the larger-than-life painter who once bragged that he drank two bottles of Burgundy, three bottles of Bordeaux, one bottle of…

  • Can’t touch this!

    n A few months ago, I interviewed a person who touched this painting. That’s right. He put his finger right on it in order to point something out to me. More about this transgressive act later. n Today I watched as the painting handlers (those hardy young men who drill holes in museum walls, pick…

  • Here’s looking at you

    There’s no question about it – I’m a “people person”. How else could I spend my days in a museum approaching total strangers and engaging them in conversation? So, when I walk through a gallery I’m most often struck by paintings that look back at me, that is to say, by portraits. n What makes…

  • White

    n Two days ago at a press conference in Millennium Park, Mayor Daley warned residents about this week’s dangerously cold temperatures while at the same time announcing a new campaign to attract tourists from around the world to Chicago in the winter. In his cavalier way, Mayor Daley mocked the media for sounding the alarm…

  • The best day ever

    n Okay, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and would like your indulgence: I’m going to journal. I won’t burden you with what I’m eating or knitting or wearing, but I will tell you all about my day at the ‘stute because it was uplifting, stimulating, and just plain ol’ fun. n…

  • Emotion, or lack thereof

    n …”arguably the least love-struck woman in all Western painting.” – Michael Fried n In his book Pictures and Tears James Elkins explores the act of crying in front of painting, an act that if one is to believe him (and I do) strikes most academics to be as shameful as farting during an inopportune…

  • Gabrielle, part two

    n Drats! Blasted 19th century infant mortality! Yesterday, I went back to the Ryerson library to finish reading Roger Bonniot’s Gustave Courbet en Saintonge in the hopes of finding some clues about Gabrielle’s descendants. The news was sobering. Let’s start out with her mother, Laure. She had five children: Louise Corinne, Louise Laure, Gabrielle (not…