I dropped everything I was doing that felt so terribly urgent yesterday morning, braved the freezing weather, and headed off to the MusÃ©e de Lâ€™orangerie in Paris to see the ChaÃ¯m Soutine exhibit.
It feels SO glorious to just let go of the endless “to do’s” and go see a fabulous art exhibit mid-week instead. Iâ€™m following the Artistâ€™s Way, along with 60 other women online across the globe, and now I call these visitsÂ« Artistâ€™s dates Â». That means time for me and my inner artist to go flll the well and get inspired. Before calling these excursions artistâ€™s dates and adding to their number when I realized just how very nourishing they are , I just called them, TAKING ADVANTAGE of being in Paris and anywhere else I happen to be where great art is to be found !
I get such tremendous pleasure from these impromptu museum visits, I wanted to share the experience here with you.
I arrived rosy cheeked from the brisk walk (did I mention how cold it is ?) across the Tuilleries gardens to get to the museum just as it opened, and delighted in the fact that there were almost no people. I managed to take these two shots before getting in trouble and being asked to put my phone away…
I wasn’t that familiar with Soutine’s work, but I certainly adored the title of this show : “Order in Chaos”. I was only mildly surprised to find out I love this artist.
The first paintings I came across were so visually arresting in their color and emotional intensity, it took my breath away. They seemed to pop right off the canvases painted in the 20’s and power their way through to us here in 2013, and on they will go through time, strong and present.
I can never quite articulate what makes Great art, I don’t really feel the need to be able to, but I know it when I see it. All I can say is, it makes my heart sing to witness that visual power and grace.
None of these scanned images do much justice to the stunningly bright colors of the real thing, but here they are, a few of the show stoppers that captivated my attention.
This one was painted in 1929, and is called Madeleine Castaing, one of his biggest collectors. It’s a big favorite and is on the cover of the catalogue book I bought. There’s an interview done in the 40’s of Madame Castaing talking about her friend Soutine. It’s fascinating to see how he’s captured her face and strong personality in this painting
This one “Le View Moulin” , my favorite of his landscapes, was painted around 1922, when he lived in the village of CÃ©reste in the South of France. I love the wild brush strokes, fine lines and distorted image. Makes me imagine the galling winds cascading savagely down through the village.
Imagine bright greens and splashes of deep red when looking at this one called L’Arbre. Again, can’t you just feel that wild wind whipping through the branches of this massive tree, and shrinking the tiny houses down below ?
I spend a lot of time in the wind, living in the South of France. These paintings make me want to start trying to express the wind in my paintings instead of complaining about how crazy it makes me.
I love all of his portraits, but this painting titled “DÃ©chÃ©ance” (loose translation “Decline”) pulled me in. There is something so bizarrely familiar about this desperate image, and something so poignantly human.
On my way out of this spectacular show, I stopped, as I always do, to watch the movie about Soutine’s (short) life (1893 – 1943) and work. I never tire of hearing how these artists lived, worked, and thought.
Here I am, back out in the Tuilleries garden, my heart and eyes filled with majestic images.
As I made my way through the freezing gardens, I asked myself a question I often ponder over : What will I remember when I get to the very end of my life ? What will have been so significant, it’ll be there with me at the end ? Aside from remembering the people I’ve loved, I know, for sure, I will remember the great art I was privileged enough to see.
Would love to hear what this visit has inspired in you ?