Friday, February 24, 2012

Diamonds in the Desert, Pt. 2 -- The DIA

Walking down Woodward Avenue, from the St. Regis to the Detroit Institute of Arts in the slush was no pleasure. But once we got inside, good things began to happen.

First, the sold-out "Rembrandt: Faces of Jesus" exhibit had openings at 3:30 p.m. That was a bonus. (More about that in the next post; it's exceptional.)

But even if we hadn't been able to get in, the DIA is more than worth the $10 admission -- or free for members! After all, when you can stand centimeters away from a Van Gogh self-portrait, that's worth more than the price of admission! I gasped.

You will find beautiful puppets.

I'm a sucker for puppets and I loved these marionettes. I'm told there are puppet shows in the atrium periodically. I'd love to see one of those.

There are astounding paintings by great masters of American Art (Frederick Church below). His mastery of light in the landscape is magnificent.

Portraits tell stories and are loaded with symbolism. (The fish in the bowl and the wallpaper crowns over the little girl's heads represent privilege and protection from the world outside.) This is John Everett Millais' "Leisure Hours" (1864). Love the rich texture of their dresses.

There is furniture...

....and beautiful wood carving.

The night before we left, we watched a movie called "Modligliani" -- I was excited to walk into a gallery and see a "Modi" staring back at me! (This was dated 1917-1920) The story (which may or may not have had its own elements of fiction) brought the work into a more vivid context for me.

Warhol? Sure! (and Picasso, too!)

And what about European painting masters? Rick's favorite is "The Wedding Dance" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1566. One of the things about this particular painting and many others in the museum was that it was purchased by the City of Detroit for the museum. That was then... this is now. These days, the city isn't purchasing much.

Like 'em bright? Matisse did!

Female impressionists? Who can argue with Mary Cassatt? ("In the Garden," 1903-4)

The gentlemen? A number of Renoir, Pissaro, Monet (below).

Religious? Fra Angelico is a favorite.

And I have always loved Della Robia.

Stained glass? This John La Farge triptych (1809) was a favorite of mine. I've always been fond of his windows in Boston's Trinity Church.

My favorite painting is this one called "The Nut Gatherers," done by William Bouguereau in 1882.

I first saw it with my friend Patricia decades ago. It reminded us of us -- long, blondish Patricia, dark, short-haired me. I miss her terribly and seeing this painting within a few months of the tenth anniversary of her death (or is it more?) was a bit of a choke up for me. We used to share that same kind of long talk about everything under the sun.

I've always been fond of art nouveau, so this painting -- a preliminary study for a poster that appeared later advertising a newspaper titled "La Depeche de Toulouse" (1892) appealed to me.

And again, I was attracted to the furniture in this style -- and had to put myself in the picture!

Rick and I tend to agree on most art, and we were both very fond of this portrait of "My Daughter Elisabeth" (1914) by Frank Benson, a lovely study of his daughter.

I also liked these two Winslow Homer's. I'm rather used to seeing his work reflect the sea; these were simply beautiful. This one is titled "Girl and Laurel" (1879).

And this piece is "The Four-Leaf Clover" (1873).

And what would a visit to a museum be without a glass display! Their shelves are much tidier than my china cabinet.

We passed up the "Brunch with Bach" concert, but thanks to the lovely windows overlooking the courtyard, were able to enjoy it anyway!

In the last post I mentioned the Diego Rivera mural. That will be the subject of an upcoming post. He deserves one of his own! As you can see, it's massive -- and there is far more hidden meaning than I can possibly convey!

But that's for another day. Next time, we'll return for a look at the Rembrandt "Faces of Jesus" exhibit and then step away from the art museum for art of a different type!

(If you're a book fan, check out the gorgeous illustrations from my newest Chopsticks and String book post -- this is a treasured children's favorite that isn't to be believed! See it HERE!)


Relyn Lawson said...

Sigh! I DO LOVE museums. And Modigliani especially.

Tracy said...

LOVE when you take us out for some art & culture, Jeanie! So much enjoying this and your previous post! :o) I have a long fondness for the Impressionists as well as Pre-Raphaelites, but I also enjoy many of the artists from the Abstract and Symbolist movements. LOVE all the variety you share here! Happy Weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

OH MY!!! These are too gorgeous to rush through. I will come back and take them in slowly soon.
Thank you for stopping by the 2 FOR 1 blog party. Hope you can link something about friendship, you may use art or books too.
Have a lovely weekend, Jeanie. You too, Gypsy.

shoreacres said...

First, I've caught up with my reading if not commenting, and am so glad to hear that Gypsy has improved. Miss Dixie sends along purrs and nuzzles!

This post is marvelous. Winslow Homer's non-seascapes were a revelation to me, too. And Frank Benson's "My Daughter Elisabeth" is simply beautiful. I love white in all its forms - flowers, clothing and so on - and yet I've been told by artist friends it can be terribly difficult to paint. Benson's figured it out.

I think my favorite piece is the wood-carving of the cat. Nothing mysterious about that choice!

But the best thing about this post, and the previous, is that the picture it portrays of Detroit is so different that what we see in the media. When you used "DIA" in your comment on my post and I figured out it must mean "Detroit Institute of Arts", it was a moment best described by the phrase "cognitive dissonance".

Here you are, writing about Detroit and there's not a single rapper or building that looks like it survived the bombing of Dresden. We need more of this.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

What a beautiful and fun post! I visited the DIA many years ago but had forgotten what a wonderfully rich collection it had. And of course that is more striking now, in light of the economy etc. Thanks!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a wonderful virtual visit to a great museum! Thank you, Jeanie, for sharing your experience!

joyce said...

You know, the only time I've ever been to a museum (I don't even know how to spell it!!) was the Royal Museum in Victoria on Vancouver Island. I love the little girls too, both of the little girl paintings you showed. Were you actually allowed to take pictures or did you find these on the net? I thought you weren't allowed cause of the damage to the paintings over the years. I a beautiful set of 4 coffee mugs with Monet paintigs on them, too bad we can't share a cuppa, maybe do some crafts together!

Joanne Huffman said...

Thank you for bringing us along on your trip to the DIA. I've never been and enjoyed seeing some of its treasures.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, you saw some beautiful art! My favorite are the impressionists! That's why I loved d'Orsay in Paris - and had the impressionist area to myself when i went in the summer of 2008 since I was there right when it opened!

Anyways, back to the subject at hand. What a cool way to spend your weekend. That concert looked neat, too, and it was nice that you were able to observe from afar (but not too far away).

The Artful Diva said...

Modigliani rocks - he's one of my favorite artists!

Marti McClure said...

Jeanne, What an amazing museum adventure! I can't believe all of the fabulous works that you've posted. And your commentary on each was so enjoyable. I love all of the pieces you chose to highlight. I just finished watching the movie "Frida", and find the Diego Rivera piece so interesting - can't wait to see more about it. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog - have you been to Paris before? Can I go with you in April :)? I just loved it so much. Happy Pink Saturday. ~Marti

Leovi said...

Glad to see these wonderful works of art are represented here some of my favorite painters.

Lorraine said...

Oh, what a gorgeous post!! So many impressive works of art! Love the Millais and Bouguereau especially. The Van Gogh and Matisse are striking! What a fabulous museum.
Thanks for sharing. Happy Pink Saturday!! ~Lorraine ♥♥♥

Barb said...

The exhibits look wonderful. I'm surprised that you were allowed to take photos! I remember trying to take some in Houston and being approached immediately by a guard.

Arti said...

What a marvellous collections the DIA carries! Some are my favorite artists and their works. I saw a few Van Gogh at Musée d'Orsay but didn't know until now that his Self Portrait is at the DIA. And Oh, that red ear! Brugel's Wedding Banquet is one of my all time faves too. And all the Impressionists... you don't have to go to Paris for art, how fortunate is that!

Janet said...

Art museums are so inspiring. Thanks for giving us a peek inside this one. Being able to stand right in front of a famous painting and see the actual brushstrokes is great.

I'm looking forward to your post on Diego Rivera.

Tablescapes By Diane said...

Hi lovely lady.
Your photos are Gorgeous !!
I would like to thank you so much for your sweet comments. I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family.
XXOO Diane

Sally Wessely said...

This post was just amazing. I had no idea that kind of art would be within those walls. I bet you were just enthralled with it all.

I don't know which was my favorite, I am also always very captivated by Van Gogh whenever I've had the few, rare treats of seeing his work.

I was also touched deeply by the story behind "The Nut Gatherers."

I am amazed that you were able to take all these photos.

Vagabonde said...

I am pleased that Gypsy is doing better. Your posts on Detroit were like eye candy for me. You showed postcards, old illustrations and photos of art – and what art! I saw Detroit when I first came to the USA and the city was so vibrant – it is so sad that it has deteriorated. But the museum certainly is first class. I can understand how you would be totally spellbound by all these beautiful paintings. It is nice of the museum to let you take pictures – so many places won’t anymore. I really enjoyed these posts.

Friko said...

You could surely spend days here.

Bella Rum said...

My goodness, what a treat. Thank you.

Meeha Meeha said...

Wonderful pics, you had a great time! And Gipsy is a darling! Thank you for commenting on my pink coffee tables and cow-cat :) PS: I've also got an orange cat myself, who doesn't sit still for a second so doesn't get to be much in the pictures :)))

Rosa said...

Such beauty. I need to get "into" museums again. Thanks for the beautiful photos! Wow. (i like this better--xanitt ithermo)

Jenny Woolf said...

What a beautiful museum and some well known artists and pictures. Your posts are really illuminating about Detroit's gems.

un arc-en-ciel dans le lavabo said...

wow ! I have been to the National Gallery in London (long time ago !) ad I still remember how impressed I was to stand in front of famous painters 'art ! It seems you saw quite some collections too !
and hello you ! nice to meet you :)
(since this is my first time on your blog)

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