Thursday, October 25, 2007

Philadelphia ----- Museum of Art, Part I

You didn't think I had finished Philadelphia did you? Although our visit there seems such a long time ago.

On our third and last day we decided to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. While it was established in 1876, the current enormous Greek revival style building was constructed in 1919 on a ten acre site. As you can see it faces a large park and is approached by a monumental staircase. The facade of the central main entrance is in restauro, as the Italians say, or undergoing restoration.

This world-class art museum is one of the largest in the United States and contains over 200 galleries with 225,000 objets d'art. It also includes the Rodin Museum which we had visited and I wrote about earlier. Obviously we had to be selective here and decided that the galleries showcasing European Art between 1850 and 19oo would be our first stop since their collection of French Impressionists is rather extensive and it is rather a favourite period of mine. Naturally one cannot use flash in the museum so I have many unusable photos because I was unable to hold the camera steady enough. So whatever images you see here are not necessarily my favourites, but for the reason that I had a half decent photo which with a little editing was acceptable although not brilliant.

Yes, they do have one of the series of still lifes of sunflowers in simple earthenware jugs painted by Vincent van Gogh when he resided in France.

Similarly Claude Monet did a series of paintings of the tall thin poplar trees which lined the River Epte near his home at Giverny, France. He worked from a small boat, painting several canvases at one time.

At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, which I am sure I didn't need to tell you, so distinctive are his paintings and his subjects.

Mary Cassatt was a local Pennsylvania girl, studying art at first in Philadelphia but she spent much of her adult life in Europe where she was a close friend of Degas and exhibited with the Impressionists. She is well known for her beautiful studies of women and children.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a wonderful collection of art and it is obvious that it will require more than one post to show you what we saw there, which I can tell you was such a small part of it, although we spent over six hours there.

Now some of you may associate this museum with the making of the Rocky films, with the monumental staircase actually known as the Rocky steps. The bronze statue seen below has had many positions around the museum, even appearing in some of the films and other films like Philadelphia. It now resides at the foot of the steps.

Similar to the van Gogh and Monet series, but in no way as brilliant, a series of posts on this wonderful museum will be produced here, so call again to see their splendid armour collection or their Japanese teahouse, amongst other fine works of art.

UPDATE: I apologize for enabling the word verification for comments but I have become the victim of a spammer, an online drug company has been spamming older posts but is moving into the more current ones. I hope they will move on and I will be able to remove it in a few days.


Ellee said...

These are fabulous pictures and recollections. I am always at your memory and fine detail. Do you keep a diary you can refer back to?

Carver said...

I think you got some good photographs for not being able to use flash and an interesting post. I'm glad to know now to say in restauro. Sounds so much better than the way I said the front of my state's museum was dug up when I described the outdoor art walk. Take care, Carver

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Not so much a fan of the impressionists- I like the pre-raphalites, myself.

How did all this art get to Philadelphia?

Janice Thomson said...

I would have loved to visit there. In fact I would have camped out on the door step for two weeks studying all those collections. I love the impressionists and would have oohed and aahed until hoarse. Your photos and words give a delicious taste of what those great walls contain.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Interesting post,as always, jmb. Love the photos. I never heard of Mary Cassat before but her painting looks lovely. Sorry you are getting spam through.

leslie said...

Hi jmb, thanks for this post. Now I know where to go and see my favourites (impressionists) without having to travel all the way to Europe. I used to teach a unit on Claude Monet to my grade 4s and they thought it was cool when I'd show them the photo of me on the bridge at Giverny.

jmb said...

Hi Ellee, this is my diary, in a way. Because I have notes and brochures from the places then I write it up here.

Hi Carver,
I have a mass of photos that are unusable because you need a tripod to hold the camera steady. I like the expression too, so meaningful but short.

Hi Crushed,
Well of course I like the renaissance artists myself but I have seen so much of that in Italy and better quality although Philadelphia did have some nice pieces of the era but not so well known.
As to how it ends up in Philadelphia? Money, of course. The rich Americans buy the treasures and donate them or loan them.

Hi Janice,
They did have a good collection of Impressionists although Musée d'Orsay in Paris is the one for that.

Hi Welshcakes,
Mary Cassatt is a wonderful painter of women and children. Someone wrote a book with stories about her paintings, like Girl with a Pearl Earring. Ugh, spam is ugly. Ten this morning before breakfast!

Hi Leslie,
As I said above, the Musée d'Orsay is better probably but Philadelphia is closer. How lovely for your students to get that personal touch.

Thanks to all for visiting and commenting.

jams o donnell said...

I didn't realise that the Rocky steps scene was filmed there. Definitely a place to visit should I make it to Philadelphia

Chrysalis Angel said...

I love those paintings. I don't know what it is, but my favorites are the Monet's. I just love those.

jmb said...

Hi James,
It was news to me too, but it explainded the Rocky Balboa statue at the bottom of them.

Hi CA,
You need to go to France to see the great Monets, nothing too interesting here. The Musee de l'Orangerie has the Water Lilies series which has finally opened again after 6 years of in restauro work and the Musee d'Orsay is unbelievable.

Love Bears All Things said...

I once visited the museum at night before dinner. We were being treated by one of J's customers. I think they were having an exhibit or Ladies hats.
Mama Bear