Art favorites: The Grand Canal, Venice

The colors, the blue sky and multi-colored water. The outlines of the poles in the water. Very Monet-ish. Very calming. The Venice of a bygone era that is fast slipping away.

This painting is one of six versions of the Grand Canal with the Salute church in the background. The lighting, the colors, the color saturation, and sometimes even the perspective vary from version to version.

The Grand Canal, Venice
Claude-Oscar Monet
French, 1740-1926
1908
Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

For the other versions, see Le Grand Canal in Wikipedia.

Art favorites: Magnolia (Luminous Wind)

I was drawn to this work in a special exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The screen was filled with magnolia blossoms. Birds graced the branches of the tree and butterflies alit on the blossoms. The beauty was stunning.

The screens evoked feelings of…anticipation of what is to come and painful longing of what was. The anticipation of what is to come because the blossoms are on the verge of opening. Any day now the blossoms would burst forth and this tree would be covered with open magnolia flowers. The painful longing of what was because flowers are so ephemeral. They open, grace us with their beauty, and then are gone.

Magnolia (Luminous Wind)
Nakano Daisuke
Japanese
2018
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Art favorites: Desert Scene

I stumbled across Hartley a couple years ago. So it was with great delight that I unexpectedly encountered him again in a museum on western art. Hartley spent just a very short time in the American West before leaving and never returning.

Desert Scene
Marsden Hartley
American (1877-1943)
1921
Eiteljorg Museum

Art favorites: Obsession

Obsession grew on me.

The painting is an optical illusion that even when you know it is an illusion, you swear it isn’t. When I initially approached the painting, I felt a bit queasy. Then I realized it was almost three-dimensional.

Wait, was it a three-dimensional painting? No, it wasn’t. I looked at the painting from the side to confirm. No, it isn’t three-dimensional. Then I looked at the painting straight on. Parts of the painting jumped out at me, as if it was not on a single plane. I looked again at the painting from the side. Then straight on. Then from the side.

I was hooked by this piece of art. And bothered by its real flatness and unreal dimensional quality.

Obsession
Julian Stanczak (American, born Polish, 1928-2017)
American (1928-2017)
1965
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Art favorites: Mushrooms on a Blue Background

Mushrooms on a Blue Background is stunning for its boldness of color and shapes. It seems deceptively simple, as though anyone could have painted it. But this just isn’t the case. Rather the painting shows that talent can make something look so simple that isn’t.

I love the shades of blue and brown, the shadows that the mushrooms throw, the lines around them delineating their boundaries—and how all of these make the entire painting pop.

Mushrooms on a Blue Background
Marsden Hartley
American, 1877-1943
1929
Indianapolis Museum of Art