Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I have just been to the Van Gogh Museum and a far more satisfying experience it was too. Starting with the ground floor and those artists that had an influence on Van Gogh, you can see at a glance you are dealing with a very high standard of art. Corbet, Cezanne, Breton, Millet etc., are all very well represented; even the Monet pieces aren't the usual set of flower pictures. At the moment though the museum is also hosting an exhibition of Japanese art (Van Gogh was greatly interested in it, had a big collection and indeed copied a lot of works). I viewed this before getting on the the main Van Gogh pieces, though it had it's fair share of his works too, the ones very much influenced by the East. Fabulous stuff, though I have to confess to having been more struck by his work than the Japanese, at least initially. I'm not big into my Japanese ceramics, but even I had to admit some of the vases on display, Meiji work (from 1868 to 1912), were stunning.

A few new names cropped up that intrigued me, such as Maurice Denis and the Prophets (sounds like a 60's band). Denis's work was simple, but effective; drawing on Japanese drawing and created in the early 1890's, it was very refreshing stuff. Really shocking though was to see the whole beginnings of comic book art unfolding before me. At first one piece being exhibited, "Moulin Rouge - La Goulue" by Toulouse-Lautrec got me thinking, but then I saw a collection of prints from 1833(!) by the Japanese artist, Hiroshige; "Famous Views on the 53 Stations along the Tokaido". To my eyes it was all there, the comic book art of the 30's, Tintin, and even more recent stuff. They even had panels for the descriptive text. I'm probably over-stating the case, but cool stuff.

Then on to Van Gogh. I'm not going to repeat what everyone else has said, though I was surprised a few times by his messed up sense of perspective. Deliberate or not, it sometimes detracted from some of the pictures. However, I loved "The Potato Eaters", even with the mistakes. The later the work the better he got, a collection of Millais copies standing out for me. I have seen a few "Sunflowers" around the world and wondered what the story was. Apparently he painted them for Gaugin and there are five works left, three with a yellow background, two with a blue. One was there, of course, but I preferred the self-portraits, the orchards, the fields etc..

Of course, I went too late and only had 2 hours before they kicked me out.


At 6:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Niall.. my goodness I am so jealous of your travels. It really appears that you are enjoying yourself, and I feel as if I am traveling right along side with you. Such great pictures(especially Sean Connery )as well as your ever so descriptive journal. I look forward to hearing more, thank you for sharing!!!
Pam.. Contiki!!!


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