On a recent trip to Los Angeles I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon at The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The main attraction was Vincent Van Gogh’s ” Self Portrait 1989. I have included a photo below. It really did draw a crowd similar vibe to the Gioconda in the Louvre.
Here is a link to the Museum’s info page and a nice podcast about the painting. http://www.nortonsimon.org/van-gogh-s-self-portrait-1889-on-loan-from-the-national-gallery-of-art-washington-2
I was also taken with his “Mulberry Tree”. Both paintings are executed using the complimentary colors of orange and blue. This choice in addition to the vigorous brushwork and thick impasto paint application make for a very lively surface. On the museum audio recorded information the curator described Van Gogh as having nervously executed his strokes. I disagree. A former teacher once offered the theory that Van Gogh, perhaps because of his mental states saw energy fields emanating from his subjects and tried to share with us what he was seeing.Interesting theory.
The Van Gogh paintings, the Rembrandt Portraits and the Degas pastels and sculptures where the highlight for me. All of those works held a strong sense of the artist and a connection to the viewer. They had so much “life”, very memorable. I have also included a detail of the Degas pastel “Woman Drying Her Hair”. Portions of this work are very abstract. His ability to use color and create form is just stunning!
One aspect of being an artist that I am most grateful for is travel and museum going. I never tire of looking at other artists work, imagining how they executed their paintings . The people that they were looking at for portraits and the environments that they lived in. I think I am missing
Art History Class!