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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Frick and the Guggenheim

A wonderful, wonderful day spent taking in two cracking museums of art, the Frick and the Guggenheim.

I went to the Frick in the morning, very Edith Wharton, and got some extra energy by falling asleep watching the film about Mr Frick the collector. The highlights of his collection for me were the Whistlers, especially the grey-green sea picture, can't remember what it was called now.

But the Guggenheim - I couldn't pick a particular artwork here. There was a great special exhibition - chaos and classicism - and the building is beautiful. Really strange, but comforting and excellent for viewing pieces. I loved the Picassos of course, and there was a great selection of Kandinsky. Surprise hits were the Mussolini sculptures and it was interesting to see Lena Reifenstahl's promotional film for the olympic games, the way she animated the Parthenon and the classical statues.

I really loved the work of Franz Marc. He was someone I hadn't seen much of before. Going to take special note of his work now. I liked the combination of broken form, representation and selected symbolic pieces to make an evocative landscape, a mixture of approaches that's often used in illustration but it's not often I see a painting that uses this composite aesthetic. I also loved the Balthus painting. He's not someone I have previously taken much note of but I did today. Apparently he got his strange dreamlike effects by studying the work of Piero Della Francesca. The notes called it 'displaced ...' well I can't remember but it seemed to make sense at the time. Basically it seems to be about drawing people with regard more for how you want to present their perspective, and in a way that doesn't make a consistent visual illusion, but rather causes you to think 'how odd' while at the same time noting how carefully and well the figures are painted in terms of technique and expression.

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