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..



Filed under Arts Sometimes Craftless, friends and family

2 responses to “A few thoughts upon seeing the ‘Birth of Impressionism’ exhibit at the Frist

  1. chez bez

    I was lucky enough to see this exhibit a few weeks ago. I was particularly moved by “The Floor Scrapers,” but even more intrigued by how controversial and shocking it was for its time.

    After dropping off my dad and kids at the circus down the street, I thought I’d make a return visit to the Frist Center on Sunday. That was quite the line of people out the door and down the steps and extending to the parking lot. Good for you for braving the crowd. I wandered off to the library instead.

  2. Okay, so I’m late to the blog–but I love the Musee d’Orsay. I took students–but only the ones I wanted to see it with me. We had already gone through the Louvre and I’d heard one of the young men say, “Mrs. Posey, you know you’ve been here too long when you’re tired of seeing naked women.”

    At the Orsay, however, I was accompanied most of the time there by a rather mature high school junior with a map of the place, leading ME, saying, “We’ve got to see this next….” (Yes, we did see “Origin of the World” together, this seventeen-year-old and I, and no, he did not snicker.

    I came late in my life to an interest in making art, but I’ve always been a great appreciator!

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