Dreams and Reality (II)

The later part of this period (1848-1914) in French painting saw greater innovation in terms of style that departed from the prescribed methods of classically trained and more commercially successful painters from the Académie des Beaux-Arts then. Instead of mythological figures painted in smooth brush strokes, we see more obvious brush strokes, pointed dabs of paint, rural scenery and even folks on holiday. Impressionism was born in the later half of this period and Van Gogh’s vibrant brush strokes and paintings came to full expression.

This piece (The Harvest) by Emile Bernard was so new and simple that it was ridiculed by others during its time. People even threw bread crumbs at it when is was displayed in a restaurant. Despite the roti attack, Paul Gauguin liked it and asked Bernard for it in exchange for a painting of his own. Maybe Gauguin knew that with all the left over breadcrumbs stuck on the canvas, whoever owned this piece would never go hungry again ; ) No wonder it's called "The Harvest".

The style of this next piece reminds me of a self-portrait style done by my friend’s Juinn Yee’s daughter Isa.

Camille Pissarro liked to paint rural scenes and with subjects in their natural settings. Here he is using an experimental style called pointillism using dots of colour to form an image.

By far one of my favourite pieces! I have the simple, airy feel and is so full of light! (Young Woman on Beach by Philip Wilson Steer).

Study of a Figure Outdoors by Claude Monet.

One of the commissoned portraits that Monet painted before he abandoned it for landscapes. He focussed more on the dress than the face (the dress is so rich you can almost touch it). No wonder Madame Gaudibert did not like it. But her husband, who commissioned it, loved it. Hmmm....what does that say about a husband's admiration? For his wife or the dress?

Edgar Degas loved to paint dancers, rendering movement and light to his subjects.

And how can I leave the exhibition not seeing the finale - Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night Over the The Rhone". He painted this when he was 36 years old, a year before he died. There are apparently 36 stars in the sky (geez, I haven't counted). Some people think that the man with red hair in the foreground is Van Gogh, in an situation where he has a companion (he had faced unrequited love a few times).

I just throw this in for good measure. This is the other more famous Starry Night (not "over the Rhone"). It was not available at the exhibition as it is owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, not the Musee d'Orsay. (photo from Wikipedia)

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