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A Jewish Childhood –Day 7 and 8- A Walk in the Park and Musee D’Orsay
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 20:54

For years my friend Sherry in Santa Fe and I have been talking about the possibility of being in Paris at the same time. Last year my friend Jenny and her boyfriend joined me for dinner in Paris. Jenny was in Britain teaching weaving, her area of expertise, double weaving.

So Sherry and I found we were meeting at my favorite, Luxembourg Gardens. We walked there from my apartment via the sushi restaurant, Yaki on rue Gay Lussac.

After a wonderful meal, we meandered around the park, found two art exhibits at the Orangerie not far from the Musee Luxembourg where I saw the Chagall exhibition last week. We stopped from time to time on our walk to just sit and stare at the beautiful chestnut trees, and various sculptures for which the Garden is so noted. We took turns talking between English and French, maybe frenglish. We saw the rose garden and the children playing in sand boxes before heading over to Amerino so I could share my wonderful find, gelato with intense flavors. Of course, it’s an Italian company. Beside it, our local gelato store in Santa Fe pales.

Sherry performed a miracle, a trip to the Musee D’Orsay without waiting in line. Through a co-worker of her daughters, we were given passes to get in to what turned out to be a spectacular show entitled A PASSION FOR FRANCE: THE MARLENE AND SPENCER HAYS COLLECTION. Artists include Bonnard, Vuillard, Redon, Modigliani, and Matisse.

Going through this collection, Sherry and I kept remarking that this was hanging in the Hays’ homes. They built their own “hotel particular” in Nashville, Tennessee, in homage to Hotel de Noirmoutier in the rue de Grenelle, here in Paris. They also own an apartment in New York. So our question was, what do they hang on the walls while this majestic collection hangs here at Musee D’Orsay?

Most of the works are 19th and 20th century art. Much of this art is from the Belle Epoque, the period where one of the characters in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, wants to stay.

I have a long page describing this collection with parts underlined but can’t take my thoughts off the fact that this is a couple’s personal collection which is simply enormous. Of course the Musee D’Orsay is hoping they will donate this collection to the museum.

Periods covered in this exhibit cover Vanitas still life images, and graphic artists from Pont-Aven Schoolof Contemporary Art and the Nabis. ‘Les Nabis’ was coined by poet Henri Cazalis. “These artists aimed to revitalize art the way the ancient prophets rejuvenated Israel”.“Most of them,” he continued, “wore beards, some were Jews and all were desperately earnest.”

It is said that the Nabis were influenced also by Japanese woodcuts, post-impressionist artists such as Paul Gauguin, Aristide Maillol, and Denis, as well as Vuillard. I focus on this because this name of art is new to me. It is from the Hebrew word, navi, meaning “prophet” or “seer.” Click here: Les Nabis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The collection contains some Degas drawings that are included in a section called Intimacy and also contains paintings from the Fauve period, with its intense, full of life colors of early 20th century French art.

In total, if you are anywhere near Paris between now and August 18, 2013, it’s worth the wait to get in and view this spectacular exhibition, and I, along with Musee D’Orsay, hope that they do donate this collection because I will continue to visit it each June. Of course there is so much to see in this wonderful museum that you must truly dedicate a full day to the visit. They have a few places within to eat, from prepared sandwiches, desserts, and beverages, to a mid-priced restaurant to elegant dining. Now brace yourself before you head over to the next Exhibit.This part is not for the faint of heart.

Okay, if Sherry were looking over my shoulder, she would say, “what about the other one, THE ANGEL OF THE ODD, DARK ROMANTICISM FROM GOYA TO MAX ERNST. Well first off, this stuff is certifiably scary. I was a brave soul and agreed to go through this. This period was brought about by the symptoms “of a desire for escape and the thrill of fear. And of course, I go to the TWILIGHT SERIES and back earlier to the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein. Well as far as I am concerned, this exhibit is not that far off the mark. It’s about losing control over everything including human nature.

The art deals with Cannibalism, Satanism, torture incest, infanticide and nightmares where the real subjects of work exploit “every shade of darkness.”

So knowing that this is a different kind of experience, you can decide if you want to add it to your dance card. To give an idea of the popularity of this show, it has been extended from June 9th. So if your trip is specifically to see the exhibit, better check the Orsay web site.

Thank you for reading my Jewish Childhood Blog and I am so pleased that we are able to stay connected.