Monday, December 21, 2009

Visit to L'Orangerie and the Grand Palais

Yesterday turned out to be quite a day for viewing famous art. I met with Pierrette who is also associated with the Couchsurfing organization in the early afternoon. We had some coffee and I chattered on and on about my trip and my Couchsurfing experiences. Then, at her suggestion, we decided to visit Musee de l'Orangerie to see its collection of Monets and other art as it was only a short walk from our meeting spot in the Place de la Concord. It was a wonderful visit and I have some photos to include below but the run-away, drop dead best, art exhibit I've ever seen was Renoir in the 20th Century currently running at the Grand Palais. Incomparable for the great beauty of Renoir's masterpieces of course but also because if its size and scope. Renoir works were brought to Paris for this show from museums all over the world, museums in Venice and Verona, New York, Vienna, and Prague, even from the Musee de l'Orangerie itself on the other side of the square.

Before going on, I must again say that without (CS) I would not have met Pierrette, who not only speaks three languages fluently but is a great lover of the arts, and I would missed one of the greatest artistic exhibits it has ever been my pleasure to see. I've been wandering around Paris for days, enjoying myself certainly, contenting myself with just being present in this exciting city, feeling its energy, sampling the food and wine, and enjoying the wonderful architecture. Apparently, living in Homer for over 24 years has heightened my appreciation for such stuff. Pierette and I had communicated through the CS site before and had made plans to get together to share a cup of coffee and talk about Couchsurfing. But her knowledge of Paris and the current art scene was the key to yesterday's exciting and lucky visit to the Grand Palais.

I was able to take photographs of the paintings in the  l'Orangerie, including some Renoirs that weren't included in the big exhibit at the Grand Palais but alas, no cameras were permitted in that venue so all I can bring home with me are memories. There is a nicely done catalog available that I was tempted to buy but at 49 euro and about 5 lb I couldn't justify it, either in terms of cost or weight. Plus, it is in French. This exhibit will travel to the U.S. next year and will be in Philadelphia (June 12 to September 5, 2010) and Los Angeles (February 14 to May 9, 2010). If you happen to find yourself anywhere near those cities during those times, it would be well worth your while to make the effort to see it.

The few Renoirs I have here are not quite as fine as the others, in my very humble opinion, but I include them to enhance what might be an otherwise dry monologue.



There were several galleries containing works by Andre Derain, a few Picassos scattered here and there, a few Rousseaus, works by Soutine, Cezanne, and of course Monet. The big attraction upstairs in this museum are several beautiful panels by Monet but due to their large size my photos couldn't do them justice so I didn't include them. Below are two by Derain and two by Rousseau that I liked. This first is a portrait of Madame Guillaume, wife of Paris art critic Paul Guillaume. I think the next one is also by Derain but I'm not positive about that.


Next are two by Henri Rousseau. Click on this one to view it full size and check out the "expression" on the dog's face:


After visiting the Renoir show we began the long walk back to the Bastille Square. But we detoured to the Champs-Elysées where I took these photos. The first one is looking east toward the Place de la Concord and the ferris wheel in the Christmas park there. The other view is to the west with the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. Christmas decorations are everywhere apparent on this last weekend before the holiday. And, as always, much traffic both vehicular and pedestrian congest this popular area.

Here are photos of Pirrette and me taken on the Champs-Elysées.

All in all, it was a wonderful day in Paris. (Doug: I logged 25,915 steps yesterday.) I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to write much more from here. Tomorrow I will be flying back to the states to my hometown of Buffalo, New York, via JFK. I hope the snow everybody seems to be enjoying so much stays away until I'm through there and sitting in front of sister Sandy's fireplace in Buffalo. My daughter Carin lives in North Carolina now but she grew up in western New York and she's thrilled that her area got hit by a huge snowstorm. Needless to say, I'd just as soon avoid that if possible.

Merry Christmas to you all.