Friday, August 9, 2013

By the sea...

Dan and I went on a cultural road trip last week to see two big art exhibits in Maine. The first show was by an artist who painted by the sea, the second show was in a building physically located by the sea.

First we drove up to Bowdoin College to see the Maurice Prendergast exhibit, which blew my socks off! I was always a fan of MBP's work, but after seeing his watercolor and oils in person I am absolutely smitten. (Click here for more information, and here for a story written by my favorite art critic, Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe). The colorful canvases and sketch books were wildly painted and almost manic in style, but they were also calming in their continuity, and ultimately were somewhat mesmerizing. It was a big show, with room after room filled with joyful and enchanting works. My heart raced with excitement the entire time I was in the museum, and for about the next 24 hours afterwards. Yup, Prendergast stole my heart.

Next, we drove down to Portland, Maine, to see the Paley Collection at the Portland Museum of Art. The museum is located near enough to the Atlantic coastline that outside we could hear the seagulls squawking overhead, even amid the urban pulse of the city. The Paley Collection was colorful and beautifully varied. Cezanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Bonnard, Picasso — all were represented in the show. Read a review of the exhibit by Sebastian Smee here. And the rest of the museum has some spectacular artwork, including some gorgeous Wyeth and Homer paintings. And speaking of Homer...

If we could have acquired tickets to the Winslow Homer Studio exhibit on Prout's Neck in Maine, it would have been quite a day—the Triple Crown of museum hopping. Alas, the tickets are hard to come by.

Still ... what a day! If you live anywhere in New England, I urge you to pack a cooler and go on a road trip to these museums. You won't regret the chance to see these paintings.

Paul Gauguin's mystical The Seed of the Areoi

Winslow Homer's moody Weatherbeaten

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