08 Oct 2014
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a favorite of ours. Its scale, and the extent of its collection, has to be seen to be believed: it’s the largest Art Museum in the United States.
“Let’s go to the Met!” suggested David as we learned that the Guggenheim is partially closed in preparation for a new exhibit opening on Friday.
Like the Chicago Institute of Art, it’s impossible to see everything at the Met in a day, so over a coffee in the Sculpture Gallery cafe we hooked into the free wifi and developed our strategy. Meanwhile I looked up from my map and app, and noticed the striking shadow patterns blanketed over the sculpture gallery.
Starting with the 19th & early 20th century European galleries, the first challenge was navigating through this huge labyrinth. Being distracted on route was the biggest issue, but that is half the fun pointing out interesting pieces to each other.
In the Impressionist Gallery I was interested to find related paintings to the galleries we’ve visited in the past month. To piece together how an artist makes multiple versions and studies in the pursuit of experimenting and developing their style. It’s a real privilege.
Monet painted multiples of hay stacks in different seasons and time of day; Matisse painted different versions of a woman lounging amongst North African patterned fabrics over a number of years. In his last years in the asylum, Van Gogh painted a group of four still life’s, two of roses and two of irises as a ‘decorative ensemble’ according to the notes. Two are here, one we saw at the National Gallery, and the fourth ‘Irises’ painting is in Amsterdam. Sadly the Van Gogh Museum isn’t on our itinerary.
“Is it ridiculous to go to Amsterdam, so we can see the fourth of the group?” I pondered out loud.
“Well, not if you really want to…” David said thinking it over.
We continued through to the Modern and Contemporary Art galleries. I love the feeling when you round a corner and suddenly come across a piece that really speaks to you. It can be hit and miss with contemporary art. It’s not about good or bad art for me, it’s about appreciating the pieces that I respond to. Often it’s something in the fluidity of how paint is applied to the canvas, or it’s the colour combinations or the composition. I would like the courage, the abandon, and the restraint to paint like this. And upon our return to Sydney, this is what I plan to do. To play. To experiment. Exciting times.
Naturally we stopped for lunch in the afternoon and chose to explore a little of the Upper Eastside neighbourhood and find a cosy diner somewhere. We found the perfect place and were escorted to a booth in the window, ideal for watching the world go by. David went with a traditional Old New York selection: Matzoh ball soup and a Ruben ‘open sandwich’, which turned out a little larger than expected! I abandoned my turkey club sandwich to help him eat that Ruben, being the good wife that I am.
Later we picked up where we’d left off in the contemporary gallery, before walking back through Central Park to the hotel. By the time we reached home we were inspired and happy but our feet ached with a day of walking and wandering. Tomorrow, we need to stretch. What a satisfying day!