Wonderful visit to San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art this past Saturday. When I got there, not only were Gertrude and Leon Stein waiting for me, but also some of their friends, Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne... For me, as is always true, being in the same space, face to face, with paintings I have only seen in books, or via slide images, is amazingly exciting! There is so much you miss when it is only an image of a painting, but not the actual work. Unlike the Detroit Institute of Art, there were no pieces of tape on the floor that you mustn't step beyond. I was able to get so close to the surface of the paintings to see paint application, brush strokes, drawn lines, that I felt I could just inhale technique by being there. Matisse's handling of color was delicious, and Picasso's early paintings were so beautifully expressive and charming.
The one that took me by surprise was one of a boy leading a horse (above) that I've only previously seen in books. I never realized it was such a large painting, towering over me, overwhelming me by its presence. Beautiful and such pure imagery. Although I love Matisse's work, there were no paintings among those we saw that took my breath away, as the Boy Leading a Horse did.
One of the exciting elements of the exhibit, also, was that on the museum walls in many rooms where paintings were displayed, there were hugely enlarged photos of the rooms where the paintings had hung in the Stein's homes, floor to ceiling, or so it seemed, giving the observer the sense of actually attending the salon's they held at home, attended by the intelligensia of that period in Paris, writers, artists, intellectuals, all trying to understand what these paintings were about that these FAUVE artists were challenging academia with.
I'm so glad I got to attend this exhibit. I'll tell you more about it in the future, since it resounds within me since I was there. It is, among other things, an inspiration for one to want to express through paint.