Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flowers in Bloom at the Denver Art Museum

Just recently a different exhibition opened at the Denver Art Museum, In BloomOver 60 floral still life paintings are on display from the Impressionist period with works of Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and other artists.  Many have interesting, personal stories behind each painting.
What a beautiful painting, The Gardener by Simon Saint Jean - 1837.  This painting takes on a new life in how the artist portrays the arrangements.  Saint Jean was a designer of floral fabrics and had many patrons in Paris and in England and Russia.
I particularly like the wreath of flowers against the intricate wood paneling.  Concordia by Pierre-Adrien Chabal-Dussurgery - 1878.
An interesting balance to African Woman with Peonies, with the vase set off center.  Frederic Bazille painted this at the age of 29, right before he died during the Franco-Prussian War.
Flowers (1868) by Fredric Bazille has a lot going on;  the arrangement, flowers on the table, the floral wallpaper to the floral needlepoint little bench.  A perfect example of the how the grand bourgeoise lived.
Bouquet of Lilies and Roses in a Basket on a Chiffonier by Antoine Berjon - 1814.  Such a crisp composition with everything in place.  He was the true founder of the Lyon school of flower painting in France.  Lyon was known for its production of silk and other specialty fabrics since the 1500's and he was also a fabric designer at a local silk factory.
Fruits and Flowers in a Wicker Basket by Antoine Berjon - 1810.  I like the fine detail of the basketry and its reflection on the marble table top.
Still Life of Wildflowers (1875) by Alfred Sisley is the only known still life painting by the artist.  He mainly focused on landscapes.  A very loose arrangement set against a landscape in the back.
Roses and Peonies in a Vase (1876) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir is so inviting with its loose brushstrokes and bright colors. Interesting that early in his career, Renoir was a porcelain decorator.
A little glimpse into the personal world of Paul Gauguin in this painting, Still Life with Peonies - 1884.   The loosely arranged peonies sets on a clothed table with two pieces of art in the background.  One is a pastel of a ballerina by Degas which was a gift in exchange for one of Gauguin's still lifes and an unidentified Impressionist landscape.  In the upper left had corner is an inscription by Gauguin dedicating this painting to his brother-in-law, Theodore Gad.   Often still lives served the same purpose as a bouquet of flowers.
Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies (1887) by Vincent Van Gogh is in complete contrast of his subdued palette when he painted in Holland.  Upon moving to Paris in 1885, it was his introduction to Impressionism that tremendously influenced his style in using bold and vibrant colors.  Flowers became an inexpensive subject but also the perfect tool to his study of color theory.
Vase with Carnations by Vincent van Gogh - summer of 1886.  Great bold brush strokes with a refined palette of closely related colors.
I am very intrigued by Vase of Flowers by Vincent van Gogh (summer of 1890).  I like how he defined some of the flowers and the vase by outlining them in black.  During the final months of his life, he painted this still life while under the care of Dr. paul-Ferdinand Gachet.  It is believed that he had inspiration from one of the doctor's paintings, Cezanne's Small Delft Vase with Flowers.
Vase of Flowers by Odilon Redon (1905) has such an airy, soft feel to it.  I particularly like the warmth of the colors.
Wildflowers, Queen Anne's Lace and Poppies by Pierre Bonnard (1912).  An interesting choice of flowers since these types of flowers do not last long once picked.  I like the clarity of the reflection of the pitcher on the surface of the highly polished table.
Still Life:Bouquet and Compotier by Henri Matisse (1924).  A fairly large still life, 29" x 36", one can see influences of Cezanne's works in his shapes and his use of space.  A big fan of Matisse, I would have liked to included more of his works in this post, but most of his paintings that are in this exhibition could not be photographed.

It is a very interesting show and the satellite gift shop is not to be missed either.  

Denver Art Museum
In Bloom runs through October 11. 2015.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A few special sculptures at the Denver Botanic Gardens

When departing the parking structure into an open atrium at the Denver Botanic Gardens, you come upon the flourishing sculpture made of dichroic glass and steel by Osmar Akan titled ALBEDO.  I love the interaction of the sculpture's colors with the blue sky and clouds along with the shadows it casts on the garage's walls. 
"Albedo" is the measure of how strongly an object reflects light.  It is an important concept in climatology, astronomy and computer graphics - a relevant combination of disciplines for the Gardens and for Akan, whose art specializes in the physics of light."
Akan was born in 1970 and studied graphic design at the Bilkent University in Turkey.  He trained as a media artist working especially with optic fibers using materials that are durable and sustainable, always creating with the use of natural and synthetic lighting.
Many in the Denver area, including the Gardens and my own garden, were hit hard by a huge hail storm last week.  Denver received one inch of rain in half an hour!  So it was nice to see this bunch of hot pink flowers with their sage color leaves in full bloom at the Gardens.
What a stunning pathway flanked by grasses, the long pool of water with the deep blue pots planted with Agave along side the orange wall, leading you into the entrance of the new Science Pyramid.
The newest permanent addition to the Gardens is this spectacular glass and steel sculpture titled Colorado by Dale Chihuly.   Last year the Gardens hosted a phenomenal exhibition of Chihuly sculptures.  To read more on that exhibition, see my posts dated July 16, 2014 and December 4, 2014.
Denver is such a great place to live!