Monday, January 2, 2017

The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation is a lovely modern building --- designed to conserve a certain claustrophobia from an older building --- housing an enormous collection of Renoir paintings, iron door hinges, and a smattering of other artworks, farm implements, and historical furniture.

Wandering through it is overwhelming. There is such a profusion of art, so closely mounted and tiling the walls, that viewing and appreciating each piece individually would take much longer than is feasible without dying of dehydration. (Or being shuffled out of the museum at closing time, which has happened to me.)

It is just possible to be struck with certain artworks, in the time available. Photos are not permitted, but I can perhaps source and link to some of my favorites. (Yes, of course I took notes.)

The watercolors of Demuth's "Bicycle Acrobats" suggest a kind of airy defiance of gravity. I thought this was very impressive technically, since I associate watercolors with clouds, ponds, indistinct flora --- and this piece has motion, with definite lines and boundaries.
Demuth's Bicycle Acrobats
I reliably found that art I admired from a distance turned out to be by Glackens. His lines, his colors, his ocean scenes; I'm not sure what did it exactly, but I liked a lot of art which (upon reference to the tiny labels or the art-key-pamphlet) turned out to be Glackens'.
Glackens "Woman Walking"
Glackens "Beach at Dieppe"
Glackens "The Bathing Hour, Chester, Nova Scotia"
I think maybe it's his palette of blue oil paints. They're very appealing.

I also quite enjoyed Klee's work, which was less representational but still imbued with a colorful fun.
Klee's "Village Among Rocks (Ort in Felsen)"
And finally, reprising my visual enjoyment of blue, and boats, and water, we have Signac.
Signac's "La Rochelle"
(Signac and Seurat are both excellent. I liked all the pointillism on display as it foreshadows --- in my ongoing mental narrative --- the rise of pixels, while contrasting sharply the number of man-hours required to produce the work.)

I was also quite intrigued by a number of the iron implements (tongs/scissors/andirons/rakes/shovels/hinges/hinges/hinges/hinges) adorning the walls, but no particular one stood out and you really should visit them in person for the full door-hinge experience. No terse cultural correspondent can possibly summarize such an event.

This post's theme word is hendiadys (n), "a figure of speech in which two words joined by a conjunction are used to convey a single idea instead of using a word and its modifier. For example, "pleasant and warm" instead of "pleasantly warm"." The suitable hendiadys for the Barnes Foundation is that it is interesting and full.

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