Art Buzz June 21, 2012: Exhibition Review: “Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

EXHIBITION NEWS & REVIEWS

Erotic Nudes, Satyrs Frolic in Philadelphia Exhibit

Source: Bloomberg, 6-21-12

The mythic Greek valley Arcadia, a harmonic realm balancing dignity with desire, is an enduring source for artists and the subject of a pleasurable exhibition, “Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

At the entrance to the show, which opened yesterday, is a long, narrow, light-green hallway that functions like an intimate, shaded glen.

Enlarge image Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“Where Do We Come From? What Are We Doing? Where Are We Going?” (1897-98) by Paul Gauguin. To create this mural-sized piece of paradise, Gauguin fled his family and France, going all the way to Polynesia.

Enlarge image Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“The Dream” (1910) by Henri Rousseau. The large dreamscape, a peaceable kingdom in which lions share space with a reclining nude, is among a room full of masterworks in “Visions of Arcadia.”

Enlarge image Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“The Large Bathers” (1900-06) by Paul Cezanne. The monumental masterpiece, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s permanent collection, is among approximately 60 works by 25 artists in a show that explores the dream of Arcadia, a mythic Greek valley of beauty and repose, dignity and desire.

Enlarge image Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“Bathers by a River” (1910-17) by Henri Matisse. Matisse’s large oil painting is part of a once-in-a-lifetime grouping of masterpieces by Poussin, Gauguin, Cezanne, Rousseau, Derain and Picasso. Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

Enlarge image Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“The City of Paris” (1910-12) by Robert Delaunay. In this mural-sized painting, Delaunay, inventing Modernist abstraction, looked to the past, fusing his contemporary view of Paris with his vision of Arcadia.

An erotic reverie of poetry and flesh, the passageway is rich with illustrated verse by Stephane Mallarme and Virgil as well as a bounty of small works — frolicking nudes, gods, goddesses, bathers, nymphs and satyrs.

Here, lovers entwine and tussle, fauns eat grapes and prance, and a Matisse woman’s dangling hair spreads like tentacles. Narcissus listens to the laments of Echo in a 19th- century bronze copy of an ancient Roman original….READ MORE

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Art Buzz February 2, 2012: Vincent van Gogh: In the Eye of His Storms “Van Gogh Up Close” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

EXHIBITION NEWS & REVIEWS

ART REVIEW

In the Eye of His Storms

Source: NYT, 2-2-12

Cincinnati Art Museum

“Undergrowth With Two Figures,” from 1890, part of the 45 paintings by van Gogh in a show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. More Photos »

Vincent van Gogh was shaken but also calmed by nature. The natural landscape inspired some of his most implacably innovative paintings, roiled of surface, ablaze with color and steeped in feeling. They are blunt, irresistible instruments for seeing. Yet nature — and its tiniest details in particular — also sharpened his visual acuity and soothed and comforted his often unstable personality.

In the catalog to “Van Gogh Up Close,” a succinct, revelatory exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the art historian Anabelle Kienle notes van Gogh’s repeated references in his letters to “a blade of grass,” “a single blade of grass,” “a dusty blade of grass.” He not only thought that something this small and modest was a worthy subject for art — as demonstrated by the spare works of the Japanese artists he so admired — he also invoked it as a kind of centering technique for regaining concentration. Writing to his sister-in-law, he recommended focusing on a blade of grass as a way to calm down after the tumult of reading Shakespeare.

“Van Gogh Up Close” has been organized by Joseph J. Rishel and Jennifer A. Thompson, curators in Philadelphia, working with Ms. Kienle, a curator at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and Cornelia Homburg, an independent scholar. It examines van Gogh’s relationship to nature at its most intimate, cutting a narrow path through his achievement, with 45 often small, sometimes seemingly tossed-off paintings. In doing so it manages to lead us to the fullness of his achievement along a fresh and eye-opening route….READ MORE

Van Gogh Up Close 

WHEN AND WHERE Through May 6. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

MORE INFORMATION (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org.