Thursday, October 7, 2010
swooning over Monet
If you were even vaguely contemplating coming to this show, make your reservations now, mortgage the mobile home, buy some very expensive money with some worthless money,and do it. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful it is. So I won't even try. I will tell you, however, what happened in the course of seeing this show. First, I had a ticket for 1:30. I got there in plenty of time, got in line only to discover some fans in front had tickets for 11:30 and they were still waiting. After an hour and a half I finally squeezed through the door, checked my bag AND my camera, and made it up the stairs and into the first gallery. It was packed, although viewers was inching along. Not much standing in one place and gazing. It was hot, stuffy, crowded and, you can just see it coming, can't you? I began to feel dizzy and weak and before I knew it I was flat on the floor, out cold. The next thing a security guard was hauling me up into his chair and sticking smelling salts under my nose. That stuff will wake the dead. I don't recall anyone yelling, "Stand back! Give her some air!" But maybe they did. After about 10 minutes I had recovered sufficiently and went back to the beginning and started all over again. I did sit down every time I found a bench, put my head down and got some fresh blood into my brain. Well, it made the visit memorable.
I will comment on just a couple of things. It is laid out in a very interesting way, by topic rather than by chronology. All the Normandy paintings are together, the Venice group, a selection of what they call the Mediterranean paintings. There are four Gare St. Lazare paintings; one is pink-toned, one blue, one pink and blue, one grey-white. All the same view with only very minor shifts in perspective. Several "studies" for what became later the final painting. In particular, "Dejunere sur l'herbes". I think Luciano Pavarotti was one of the models. Check it out. The second thing was how the exhibition is lit. Beautiful lighting casting almost no shadows and angled in such a way that you can see the layering of paint, the brush strokes, the daubing of colors. When you look up close, you can't see anything except technique. When you step away is when the magic happens.
I finally dragged myself away at around 5 o'clock, hit the Metro and came back. By the way, the Metro stop is Chales de Gaulle-Étoile. And here's the statue that looms over it. The light was not very good but I tried to get a shot showing the prodigious profile!
I went out to dinner last night, again to the corner cafe for a roti de porc and some brussel sprouts done the English way - cooked all day. But the pork was delicious, the sauce wonderful. I treated myself to a creme brulé for dessert. You know, I'm not a diabetic in France. Isn't that amazing. it was worth it! Then went home and started packing up. I decamped from the apartment this morning and have moved across town to a hotel in the 6th.
The taxi arrived right on time and 20 minutes later I was in the lobby of the Hotel Le Regent. The room wasn't ready so I stashed my bags and hit the pavement, rediscovering a neighborhood where Mr. C and I stayed 10 years ago. Yes, Carton's is still there. The souvenir shops are still selling plastic Eiffel Towers and striped T-shirts. The restaurant-cum-bakery Paul was full of lunchers. I went down a different street and went in to Café Atlas, a place where we had dinner one night during our stay. Big dalade Niçoise and a glass of Sancere Blanc (one degree drier and it would be powder). The French are to be admired for several inventions; the Metro system, the Citroen Deux Chevaux car, the chaise longue, and especially celeri remoulade, a raw celery concoction I could eat by the kilo. There's a charcuterie over in the 14th on Alesia that has the best remoulade in Paris. But this was just fine.
Just noticed computer not recharging. Battery low. Signing off. Don't know when I'll get back on. Must be either the adapter or the converter. Not the power cord. Worked fine this morning on apartment adapter/converter gizmo. More later. Maybe.