Friday, July 27, 2012
BMA Free and Clear
Anemones, 1937 -
A late Matisse oil on canvas
from the Cone Collection
Baltimore Museum of Art
Just the fact alone that I could park on the street right across from the museum entrance warmed my heart, and I hadn't even gone into the museum yet. Anything that makes a museum visit easier helps, especially because I want to pay attention to the art and not be annoyed by the ambience. Top it off with no admission fee, and I'm in like Flynn.
Then there is the Cone Collection, ravishing Matisse paintings, and much more. Above is one of those disarmingly nonchalant ladies that Henri Matisse loved to paint in his apartments along the French Riviera. Matisse makes the painting look like an improvisation, but really it is the result of a lot of practice, and you can see in the collection some works that are not nearly as effortless ( or
seemingly so ). Matisse's subject is conventional - a clothed portrait, a vase of flowers and a patterned wallpaper, but he makes it look so easy and it never becomes trite.
Another wonderful portrait was found elsewhere in the museum, and that was of a woman playing a game called "Knucklebones", in a painting by Chardin. The painting shows evidence of having been framed as an oval, and that mars the surface of an otherwise magical mastery of light playing off the face of a woman in a blue apron.
The Baltimore Museum is undergoing some renovations and the contemporary art wing will re-open in November. In the meantime a temporary exhibition honored the Sondheim prize winners so if you were curious you could see what is happening on the local art scene here in Baltimore.. I was more interested in looking into the period rooms in an otherwise uninhabited area of the BMA. The collections also have some early 20th Century works by artists like Leger which I found of interest.
Perhaps on the way out you might get stopped by a sculpted man being swallowed by a big fish from the Pacific island of New Ireland.