Monthly Archives: January 2011

A few thoughts upon seeing the ‘Birth of Impressionism’ exhibit at the Frist

We made it under the wire, on the very last day.  Ironically, my wife and I were visiting the Musee’ D’Orsay when this exhibit opened in Nashville.  Having lived most of my life in the presence of art teachers, I always cherish an exhibit that is both inspirational and informative, and most of all surprising.  Impressionism is not my favorite period, but it did liberate the artist from the shackles of realistic painting..this exhibit does quite well in explaining the evolution of the genre, and gives one a greater understanding of the camaraderie and mutual inspiration of these revolutionaries.


My somewhat organized and loosely connected thoughts…


1) First of all, no textbook or print  can prepare you for seeing the Fifer by Manet or anything by Degas.  Manet’s palette is eye-popping in person, and his care in portraying his subjects is well demonstrated.  The kinetic energy of the ballet paintings by Degas move me especially, no little bit because my dad the art teacher loved Degas.


2) Hugh Hefner was not all that original (by several hundred years).


3) I wish I could have shared this exhibit with my dad. He told his many Art Appreciation students that the most beautiful form in the world was…well, related to item number 2 on my list! That thought, spoken aloud in the halls of David Lipscomb, probably surprised a few people.  I wished so much today that I could have shared the exhibit with him….me, being quiet for a longer period than normal..he, pointing out things that in fifty years, most people would never notice, and helping me understand the soul-shaking magnificence of what I was barely seeing..



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