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An afternoon with Monet, Picasso, Degas and Renoir

May 8, 2010

Speaking of France

I absolutely love French Impressionists. Give me a room full of paintings by Renoir and I’ll happily spend the rest of the day completely engrossed. Wandering through The Chester Dale Collection at the National Gallery of Art definitely kept me entertained. :mrgreen:

When Chester Dale died, he left a massive number of paintings and other artwork to the National Gallery–83 are on display at this exhibit, with many part of the permanent collection. The collection is mostly by French and American artists, including some really famous pieces like Renoir’s A Girl with a Watering Can

Mary Cassatt’s Boating Party

and Degas’ Four Dancers.

The National Gallery is incredible. Just think: it’s free. What an amazing gift that is for a city!

I think in a lot of places, it’s unfortunate that art can really only be enjoyed by the wealthy or middle-class because museums can be expensive. In Washington, most of our museums are free so everyone can enjoy them and learn something, whether it’s art, history, science, culture or even aviation.

Plus, I like not having to make a time commitment. When you pay $20 to visit a museum, you want to get “your money’s worth” and see 100%. When it’s free, you can wander in, stay for a few minutes or a few hours, and then come back again another time.

While living in London, the British Museum was just a few blocks from my university. I used to take my homework there and study in the atrium or one of the galleries. Nothing better when learning about, say, the Roman invasion of England than reading about the Roman invasion of England while sitting in a room with artifacts from that event.

Next door was an exhibit of Allen Ginsberg photographs. He had all these fantastic pictures of writers like Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs just hanging out and lounging around. Underneath each picture, Ginsberg wrote long descriptions of what was happening at that moment. What great foresight for all the people who are now seeing the photos.

What’s your favorite painting? As cliché as it sounds, I absolutely love Seurat’s Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte (“Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”).

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2010 7:34 pm

    Thanks for sharingyour amazing experience, nothing like spendingthe day at a museum.

  2. May 8, 2010 8:28 pm

    I have never been to the National Gallery but I would love to go- I think it’s so great that it is free and everyone has the opportunity to go 🙂 My favorite paintings are by Monet- I love the water lillies!

  3. May 8, 2010 10:36 pm

    I have always loved The Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc. I dont know why.

  4. May 8, 2010 11:09 pm

    Oh, thanks for sharing! I’m a baaaad art minor…each time I go to a painting gallery I end up feeling very, very sleepy. Once I even just got knocked out for a couple hours on the bench at the middle of the gallery.

    But when I DO have the energy to appreciate them…I love georgia o’keefe!

    • May 9, 2010 1:08 pm

      At least a museum is a nice, quiet place to sleep. 😉

  5. May 9, 2010 3:55 pm

    I am quite partial to Impressionists too. When I visited Chicago, the TOP thing on my list was going to their museum to see some of my favorites!

  6. May 9, 2010 10:25 pm

    I don’t have a favorite painting. I took my aunt to our National Gallery a few years ago when she visited from California. She being an art teacher was so happy with me treating her. I had fun with her there as I kept saying this painting is nice…..they were almost always nudes 🙂 Yeah I haven’t fully grown up yet.

  7. May 10, 2010 10:49 am

    “While living in London, the British Museum was just a few blocks from my university. I used to take my homework there and study in the atrium or one of the galleries”

    How cool is that? Wow.

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