Monday, July 8, 2013

Paintings at The Dallas Museum Of Art

I visit the Dallas Museum of Art a few times a year. I go to study the paintings. Every visit is different as I progress as an artist. I study different styles and techniques. This time I took pictures! Here are some of my favorite paintings from my latest visit. They are on the 2nd level of the museum and you have to take the Blue elevators to get to them.

Paul Gauguin’s Under the Pandanus, also known by its Maori title I Raro Te Oviri.

I was particularly interested in seeing this Gauguin after learning more about his troubled life. I knew about his time with Van Gogh and that he had lived in Tahiti for a time when he painted the beautiful paintings of Tahitian women but I did not know about his many other travels and his troubles with illness. I thought perhaps he had a blissful life there but apparently he did not and it makes the paintings all the more meaningful to me knowing how much beauty he brought to the canvas while in life there was disorder. This painting is very peaceful to me. I am drawn to the trees and the colors and I love how his figures are primitively drawn instead of academically which adds to native and tropical mood.

Amedeo Modigliani’s Boy in Short Pants or Boy in Shorts c. 1918
I love Modigliani's paintings and how all the figures have an emotional quality. I see a sadness is many of them which is possibly a reflection of Modigliani's own life. And I'm always struck by how large they are for the style in which they are painted. The painting is grand and beautiful and begs the question of who this boy is, where has he been and where is he going. 
 And this time I was focused on the face and how there was a cubism quality to his construction of it.

Emile Bernard’s Pont à Pont-Aven 1891
I love the soft palette and the husky geometric qualities of this piece.

Mary Cassatt's The Reading Lesson, c. 1901
I am fascinated by Mary Cassatt as one of the female Impressionists and as an American. This particular painting has all the softness and beauty of Degas, Renoir and Monet that you might not distinguish hers from theirs, until you see her signature. 

Rene Magritte's The light of coincidence 1933
Rene Magritte is one of my very favorite artists. His work is so unique and intriguing. 
His use of light and dark on this piece are very powerful.

Rene Magritte's Our Daily Bread (Le Pain Quotidien) 1942
Another powerful painting by Magritte. I'm always struck by the perfection of every spot on the canvas of his paintings. He was so precise. Not to mention the incredible symbolism and narratives in his works. Its the deeply meaningful paintings like this that made me fall in love with art and want to become an artist. I love how it arouses questions. Is this the love of his life? Is this his way of putting her on a pedestal and showing us that's how much she means to him? Is he putting all women on a pedestal as the "daily bread" of life? 
It looks to me like he has tunnel vision for a beautiful woman.
 Such beauty and meaning. I adore this one.

Pablo Picasso's The Guitarist 1965
Pablo Picasso. Such a rascal and a genius. I love his work. And as a painter and guitarist I especially love his guitarists. This is a very large life size painting. Some areas of the canvas are very quickly and seemingly haphazardly painted, almost impressionistic. It does not interfere with the magic and distinction of the painting. When you stand back and look at it, you don't see that at all. It was painted later in life, 1965, when he was already the art star of the century. He can paint it how he wants. He knows how to put what where, and he puts it where it counts. 
I've been to museums with people who dislike Picasso. They don't understand it or see the beauty in it. When I look at his work, I don't see necessarily see the "pieces", or the "cubes". I see the whole. Like a puzzle that has been put together. And in that I see the balance and the beauty. I see what he has done is incredible innovation. Look at it up close, then stand back and look and it becomes something magical.

Claude Monet's The Seine at Lavacourt 1880
Everyone loves Monet. I love Monet. The soft peacefulness in his paintings. Looking at one is like hearing a symphony. From the distance this one is almost photographic. The colors look so real to life. Or are they? That is Monet's magic. The closer I get the harder it is for me to comprehend how exactly he knew where to apply each stroke of paint. It is sometimes difficult to paint up close what must be seen from a distance.
On this one I was particularly interested in the soft shade of green he used on the tree in the foreground. I find this painting so peaceful I almost want to grab a parasol and head out in a rowboat into the water...

 Georges Braque Still Life with Bottles and Glasses 1912
Georges Braque's cubism still life. When I look at his work I think of how his and Picasso's work must have been earth shattering to see in 1912. People were just coming to grips with Impressionism. I imagine that to own a piece like this would be to see something new in it everyday. And that is what makes a great masterpiece.

Berthe Morisot Winter (Woman with a Muff) 1880
Morisot, one of the great female Impressionists. Her life story and participation in the Impressionist movement is touching and so I always look to see her paintings. I found this painting lovely. Although the woman in the painting is unknown, what is so striking and what makes this painting especially powerful is the woman's posture. Like a photograph you might capture of a woman struggling through the snow on the street on a cold winter day, bundling to stay warm.

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