Saturday, December 26, 2015

Albright-Knox -- what's on view

As I already related, I was so disappointed that they didn't have the Max Beckmann on display at the Albright-Knox.  I saw it in on tour in Milwaukee, but should have seen this painting at least twice (had we made it back in July 2014 but were derailed by a combination of an excessive line-up at the border and truly terrible Google directions).  Personally, I think they should have reinstalled it after it was returned.  Perhaps it will be reinstalled in the front of the museum and perhaps not.  I probably will not return unless I am sure it is back on view or there is some other incredibly compelling reason for me to go.

Within the Monet exhibit proper, the curators were mostly showing off their own collection but skewed towards the Impressionists and the early phase of post-Impressionism (roughly Gauguin to Kandinsky).  This particular painting struck me as only middling in quality (not so dissimilar from the art warehouses that sell paintings tossed off by the hundreds).

Jean-Francois Raffaelli, La Porte St. Denis, ca. 1909

However, I did like the bottom right corner of the painting, which had a bit of an Impressionistic flair.

I'm sure this is just pure fancy on my part, as the odds that he would have seen and or been inspired by this seem infinitesimal, but the simplified forms and color scheme of the Raffaelli reminds me just a bit of early Stuart Davis, particularly this painting.

Stuart Davis, Place des Vosges, No. 2, 1928

This painting is not in the Albright-Knox -- and I have a second beef with them for not reinstalling the Stuart Davis that they do own either!  It happens to be in the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.  I probably visited the museum on our trip through the Ivies back in the mid-80s, but I certainly can't recall if I saw this at the time.  I've pretty much decided to travel to the Stuart Davis exhibit at the Whitney this summer and/or at the National Gallery in early 2017.  I'd say the odds are quite good this will be lent to the exhibit, but if not, I suppose a road trip to Ithaca is not out of the question, but there would have to be some other reason to visit Cornell than just to see one painting!

Perhaps my favorite painting that they had reinstalled was this one by Giorgio de Chirico.

Giorgio de Chirico, The Anguish of Departure, 1913-14

While it is very hard to make out, it appears that the box car is hitched up to (and perhaps is being pulled by) some kind of animal hidden in the shadows.  The train proper (practically a de Chirico trademark) is incredibly small, but it can be seen in the distance.

In terms of completely new (to me) paintings, I thought these two were interesting, combining hints of cubism with figurative painting.

Roger de La Fresnaye, Marie Ressort, ca. 1912-13

Albert Gleizes, L'homme au hamac (Man in a Hammock), 1913

Of the two, I liked the hammock painting a bit better.  I wouldn't call it a wasted visit, but it didn't really live up to my expectations.  On the other hand, the main purpose of the trip (to get to Cleveland) met and somewhat exceeded my expectations, so I suppose it all evened out.  (Now had I been stuck in Cleveland an extra day due to my own foolishness, I might be thinking about the trip in a very different light.)  I'll discuss the Cleveland Museum of Art in the next post.

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