Monday, September 12, 2011

Outside the Journal: The Cleveland Museum of Art

This past gray, rainy, Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending the day at the Cleveland Museum of Art with my Keith, our son, Mike, and his girlfriend (our wonderful, new daughter!), Nadia, who were here visiting from CA.  I always enjoy my visits to the museum, and it's been more than just a few years since my last visit. We were there for 6 hours - until our sedentary lifestyles rendered us helpless to take another step!

"Gray and Gold" John Rogers Cox

The museum has been undergoing extensive renovation for several years now, and the refurbished section that has reopened is beautiful.  We spent a great deal of time examining the artifacts in the Medieval, Egyptian, and African galleries, as well as the Near Eastern, South Italian and Roman galleries.  Eventually, we succumbed to hunger and enjoyed a late brunch in the museum's cafe.  Afterwards, we toured one of the special exhibits, "The Indian Kalighat Paintings", one of the museum's rarely shown collections. These drawings were originally created as souvenirs for early 19th century tourists, and contained images of Vishnu and Ganesh as recurrent themes.

After a brief tour of several American galleries and the Armor Court, we finally migrated to my favorite galleries - Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art, where all of my favorite artists live.  Here are some of the photos I took. (Yes - photos permitted without flash - a happy surprise for me!)

It doesn't matter from what direction I enter this room - this Renoir painting always calls to me first.  His use of light and color has been a definite influence in my own work.

Modigliani's portraits always captured my imagination as a young artist, and it was his style the most influenced my portrait style in the early days.

Not my favorite Matisse, but how can I not give a nod to yet another artist whose work was an early influence to me?

My work was heavily influenced by Picasso during my early teens, and I am still thrilled by his vision.

This Picasso, "La Vie", is much larger than I had imagined it.  I'm guessing it's about 8' x 4'.   I don't ever recall seeing it displayed at the museum before.  According to the gallery notes, Picasso was only 20 when he painted this, and it is part of his "blue period" that came about as the result of his friend committing suicide.


We finished our museum tour in the Modern and Contemporary galleries.  It was a good resting place as I sat and contemplated art on a philosophical level and tried to ignore that little voice inside my head that kept saying, "I just don't get it".  There were, of course, some paintings that garnered my attention and made me smile, as well as some old favorites like Pollack and Warhol.

When I saw this large work, I immediately thought that it was an early Pollack - Wrong!  It's actually a painting by his wife, Lee Krasner.

How could this wonderfully drippy painting of Homer Simpson not make me smile?  I wasn't able to get close enough to see the artist's name as there was a mother and her children sitting on the floor next to the plaque making art (apparently they couldn't find the classrooms?).  I searched the web looking for the artist's name.  I didn't find it, but I did find another blog that will give you another view of the museum!

Last but far from least, I return you to the Impressionist galleries where my favorite painting in the museum lives.  The last time I visited the museum I was heartbroken because it wasn't on display.  This small, unassuming Van Gogh painting, "The Poplars at Saint-Remy", is the only painting I have ever viewed that made me feel as if I was looking through the artist's eyes.  The first time I saw it, I wept.

As I studied each stroke, I felt as if I could feel what he was feeling at the time he was painting. I could feel the fervor.  I could feel the moment.  I could feel frustration, joy, emotions from every direction.  I felt the insanity of this obsessive thing we call being an "artist", and I felt the kinship of one who has gone before me.  I felt connected and I have never felt more moved by a work of art.

So that's a glimpse into the Cleveland Museum of Art.  We're fortunate to have such a wonderful collection of artworks so nearby, and it continues to impress me that admittance to the museum is always FREE.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit Cleveland, the art museum is a MUST.  You'll be pleased that you went and you'll find it to be an inspiration as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


  1. Darn, I lost my comment! It was a long one too! Okay, here goes again.
    Renoir ~ love this artist, it brings me to another place and I want to be transported into the paintings and view the surroundings.
    Picasso "Blue Period" piece, I have never seen this piece, somewhat unusual of his normal style.
    Modern art - I so do not get much modern art, you have to wonder what the heck is going on in their head!
    Van Gogh ~ I certainly can see why you love this painting. I too could stare at it for a long time and be filled with emotion.
    Ahhh... I wish I lived close by so that we could walk through these paintings together. I love sitting and staring at paintings!
    Thanks for taking me on the tour! Hugs and many blessings

  2. i love your blog! have you ever read the Letters of Vincent van Gogh? it's one of the best books ive ever read.

    1. Hi, Anonymous! Thanks for the kind comment. I remember reading something along those lines, although I think it was "Letters to Theo"? I recall that what I read was emotional and tender. I actually did a painting inspired by one of his letters. It was titled "Pilgrim's Progress".


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! It's a pleasure sharing the creative world of art journaling with you. I love hearing from you, so comments and questions are always welcome.

Related Posts with Thumbnails