It’s been brutally cold this week, good weather for indoor activities. Yesterday morning I took a trip over to the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, a perfect way to spend a chilly day (and free for MA residents Saturdays from 10am-12pm)
My first stop was the Rothko exhibit to see the Harvard Murals, a series of huge canvases drenched in color, and the sketches and studies Rothko did working up to these massive works. It is a great exhibit, rich in color and texture, with information on how the artist layered paint on the canvas to create depth and tone.
I browsed the other floors, representing different periods, and looked at how artists rendered the landscape in different ways. Here are a few photos (they do let you take pictures in the galleries, so it was legit to capture these images) from the collections.
These first two paintings, by Monet and Cezanne, were done in the early part of the Impressionist period. They’ve both started to play with light and are depicting one of their favorite subjects (landscapes) but the images are still fairly realistic. Later in the century they will get looser with brushstrokes, and their paintings will be less subject oriented; more about the quality, color and texture of light.
I love Cezanne. I studied in the South of France when I was in college and have been captivated by Cezanne’s depiction of its landscape ever since. (I even took a hike up the famously painted Mt. St. Victoire). This “Study of Trees” at the turn of the century (and near the end of his life) is a great example of his progression to more abstract representation of subjects.
Noted as one of Austria’s leading modern painters the turn of the century, Klimt’s painting, Pear Tree, is fun and dense with color. Each dot of color is a leaf or blossom of the tree. It reminds me of the Pointillist’s paintings earlier in the century, but the scale of the tree canopy gives the painting a distinctly more modern look.
I’ve also spent a good amount of time in Norway, and spent a day at the Munch Museum in Oslo, many years ago, getting to know this painter’s work. The title of this painting tells you a lot about it, this couple stands separated from the viewer, and from each other, acting as onlookers but not participants in this scene. Lonely…. but the the color and emotion are stunning.
The Fogg has been recently renovated and re-opened to the public, and there is a great article in this month’s Design New England magazine about the renovation. It is definitely worth a visit!