Monday, 27 August 2007

Impressionists at the VAG

The Cleveland Museum of Art is closed for renovations, so while they are going on, their collection is on tour. It is not often that original works of some of my favourite artists come to visit my town, so I felt obliged to go.

The first thing to be said is that they are not just my favourites - they are among the most popular (and expensive) art works in the world. Even so I was a little taken aback at the crowds early Monday afternoon. I suppose at the end of the summer on a nice day not everyone is going to be at the PNE. But even so, it did get quite hard to actually see some of the exhibits. That is because of the recorded commentary that most people seemed to need to guide round some of the exhibits. The ones that had the number and symbol for the commentary were the ones where the crowds were thickest - and slowest moving. The good thing about the commentary is that it does make more people spend more time actually looking the pictures. But that is also the bad thing, if it means you cannot get to see them.

The price for the VAG is steep ($19.95) but does include the other exhibits. Not that I spent any time in them. And the tour does lead you straight into a special shop where you can buy your favourite paintings on mugs or postcards, or even a copy of the catalogue. Once again, I felt obliged to pass - it costs $40! Nicely produced of course, and a neat coffee table item to impress your friends.

The patrons of the VAG are mostly female, yet most of the artists are male. But in this exhibit at least there are not just female nudes so it is not as sexist as some have claimed. And it is not just paintings. There are sculptures too. Including some Rodins.

Worth visiting but it might be worth finding out when it is least likely to be crowded.


Mercutio said...

Always happens in London if anything is reviewed in the press, then you have crowds of people "milling" in front of things.

Sadly this is a bit odd with Monet or Turner, unless you really want to study brush technique.

Stephen Rees said...

And there were many where I wanted to stand back and see the whole picture from a distance. This seems to work well with most impressionists - the impact of this huge painting is greatest when you walk into the room where it was displayed opposite the door when I saw it in Chicago.