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The Musée Marmottan Monet is a bit of a hodge-podge. Marmottan, father and son, collected medieval and Renaissance art, post-Revolutionary art and furniture, and lots of other stuff. The son willed the property to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, under which many donations were accepted, most significantly quite a few works of Claude Monet, donated by his son, Michel. The problem as I see it is that the best work by Monet had already been scooped up by other museums, notably the Musée d’Orsay, leaving lesser or more personal works for this museum; the main reason to visit it is if you’re interested in an exhibition. Eugène and I wanted to see their current exhibition, “Oriental Visions, From Dreams Into Light,” so we headed over on Saturday afternoon. It was worth a look, and I also enjoyed a few items from the permanent collection. First and foremost were two paintings by Ingres.

There were lots of other bathing beauties, which felt derivative and repetitive, but Eugène pointed out the amusing caption on the “fantasy scene” shown below: “No woman, not even a prostitute, would show herself this way in the street, smiling seductively, with her breasts on display.”

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jeune Orientale au narguilé, Undated.

I did quite like these two paintings, both of which show mastery in their portrayal of sun and shade:

Eugène Fromentin, La Rue Bab-el-Gharbi à Laghouat, c. 1859.
Albert Marquet, Le balcon au store rayé, Alger, c. 1945.

Many of the paintings depicted Morocco or Algeria, which aren’t to my way of thinking “oriental,” but Eugène explained that the term is being used to refer to anything exotically foreign.

It said something, however, that my favorite painting in the exhibition was the one below, which bears no resemblance — except in its title –to anything else in the exhibition.

Kandinsky, Oriental, 1909.

The only Monet in the permanent collection that attracted my attention on this visit is this one, which I also added to my Impressionism Far and Near photo set.

Claude Monet, En Promenade Près d’Argenteuil, 1875.

The museum does have a nice room of paintings by Berthe Morisot, who is also the subject of a show that opens this Tuesday at the Musée d’Orsay. This portrait particularly caught my eye:

Berthe Morisot, Portrait de Louise Riesener, 1881.

On the way back to the métro Eugène and I had a refreshing drink at La Gare and a couple of tasty ice creams at a roadside stand.