Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Impressionistic Women

Just this last weekend, my good friend K., the screenwriter and novelist, came up to Northern California to catch the show of Women Impressionists at the Legion of the Palace of Honor in San Francisco. Being the good friend that I am, I told her that I'd go with her when her other friend that was going to go with her bailed out.
  • So off we went to The City by the Bay early enough so that we could have a lunch of crab and sourdough and of course a glass of wine at Alioto's on Fisherman's Wharf! It was great and then off to the museum for the show. We had to buy tickets in advance for a certain time.
Now, when museums do this, don't they try to space things out so that there isn't a huge crush of people? That's what the person with ordinary intelligence would think. And if it's in such a small corner of the museum, wouldn't they take this into consideration? Well, apparently there are not Rhodes Scholars setting up their exhibit programs/schedules. The place was way toooooo crowded.
  • Now this wouldn't bother some people, except that both K. and I are claustrophobic to strange extremes. I won't get into an elevator when it's full, I'll just wait thank you very much. Same is true of any kind of public transportation. Maybe I was a sardine in another lifetime.
Now the corker on why I'm such a good friend to go through all this - I don't like Impressionist painters whether they are male, female, transvestites or some other gendered person that I don't know about. I have great respect and admiration for the women of that period who were painters - it was tough and out of their "normal" sphere. But I had a revelation while there - it's the color palette that I don't like!
  • Looking at all the pale blues and pinks (especially for Mary Cassatt in this exhibit) just make my teeth ache like eating too much sugar. And then there's the subject matter - babies and children. I suppose if you don't get out of the house much you can only paint what's around. Nobody had thought of abstract art yet, so realism was the only style that they knew. It took the Fauvists to break away from Impressionism and begin the trek to the modern art we know today. I just goggled it and there were no women Fauvists. Had I been a painter in that day, I would have been a Fauvist!
But my friend K. has written both a screenplay and a novel about the woman who first broke from the academy in Paris to legitimate the Impressionists - Berthe Morisot. She's been writing about this woman for years now, so you my gentle reader understand why she had to see this show. She's got agents trying to market both for her right now and keep your fingers crossed that she sees some action later this fall - she deserves it.
  • And that my friends is our art history lesson for today!
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