I was in Philadelphia recently...
and had the chance to visit the truly wonderful Barnes Foundation collection while there. For many years, it was kept in semi-seclusion in a distant Philadelphia suburb that took some planning to go visit.
|Just a few of Renoir's paintings...|
So in last week's trip to the new Barnes Collection location in downtown Philadelphia, I was able to revisit some old friends that I hadn't seen for a while.
And, as so often happens, as I was strolling through the assembled paintings, lots of questions sprung to mind. Here are three that I propose as Challenges for this week.
1. Dr. Barnes, who assembled the collection, was good friends with the American painter William James Glackens. One of Glackens more famous works is called the Pony Ballet. When I saw the picture I was struck by the term "pony ballet." Gentle Search-Researcher--what IS a "pony ballet" in the context of Glackens' time?
2. One of the most striking features of the Barnes collection is the huge number of paintings by Renoir that are hanging there. Image the strip of paintings above... in every room of the museum. There were so many there that it was hard to believe that they were all done by just one artist. To make things worse, I'd also recently visited Paris where I saw many more Renoirs. How busy was this man? The Challenge is simple: How many completed paintings did Renoir create in his lifetime?
3. If you look at the strip of Renoir paintings shown above, the one on the far right is of a young woman drinking hot chocolate. Hot chocolate? Really? THAT made me wonder--How many of all of Renoir's works feature a cup of hot chocolate?
4. As you can see from this strip of paintings, the post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau was famous for his many paintings of jungle scenes. Some painters of the time (I'm thinking of you, Paul Gauguin) led interesting lives. What about Rousseau? His paintings are so elaborate and primeval, usually featuring extensive tropical landscapes. To get that level of detail, he must have led an interesting life. So, how long did he live in a jungle landscape?