Let me assure you that the title of this post does not refer to any of the three of us who visited Musee d’Orsay on our third day in Paris, although it might have described any of us at certain points in time. Instead, this is the English translation of the title “Ames Sauveges” which featured the work of artists from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, a special exhibition.
My first visit to Musee d’Orsay was back in 2012 and at that time I posted some favorite works on Facebook. If you are one of my “friends” and you care to revisit it, you will find it in my photo albums of that year. If you are not on Facebook, or you otherwise don’t want to bother, you can see a very nice representation of the holdings of this incredible museum here:
Instead we’ll begin with this iconic view from the museum. This is from the inside looking out over to Louvre to Sacra Coeur in the background:
This is the central gallery of Musee d’Orsay. Off to either side are multiple smaller galleries featuring some of the greatest artists who ever lived:
Musee’ d’Orsay is a former train station, completed in time for the World Exposition in 1900. As trains got longer, the building proved inadequate and was going to be torn down till somebody came up with the idea of turning it into a museum. The rest is history.
Although I said I wasn’t going to re-hash the permanent collection, I’ll throw in a few pieces that had special significance:
This is Van Gogh’s painting of his room in Arles, France. Since we would be going to Arles I had hoped we might see the place. Turns out bombers of World War 2 had other plans and blew it off the face of the Earth.
Having just been here, I liked seeing how it looked in 1901. The artist is Maximillian Luce:
This is the artist Berthe Morisot, a model and sister-in-law of Edouard Manet, the artist who painted her. The significance of this piece is that a few years ago it was featured with several other Manet’s in an exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art. Good to see her again!
I have to confess that if I’m looking for great art, my first instinct is not to jump on a plane headed for the Balkans. What I have learned is that if I did jump on that plane, I would not be disappointed.
The intent of this exhibit is not only to feature Balkan artists, but also to explore their use of symbolism. Unfortunately, there is not much there to explain the symbolism or what it means. Apparently, some of it has to do with folk lore and tradition. I’ll leave that to you to discover if you are so inclined. Instead, I’ll focus on the artists we met for the first time. In the exhibit their works are scattered throughout the hall, but I will group them so you get a sense of their style.
For me, the one who stood out above all the others was
La Vent D’Automne
Nec Mergitur (Unsinkable)
Portrait of a Norwegian Girl
Paysage De Foret
I should add, that, looking over other works by these artists when I got home, Konrad Magi’s body of work is the most striking. Here is a look, if you are interested:
Princess with a Monkey
Tomb of Povilo Visinkio
Dancing with the Stars
So, this is just a small number of the paintings in the total exhibit, one of the best I’ve seen in years. I’m so glad we had a chance to experience it.
Well, in our usual fashion we didn’t arrive at Musee d’Orsay till after noon. We had a nice lunch there as well. By the time we had seen all the exhibits none of us were in the mood to take on any more museums. So, we headed back to the apartment. Not long after arriving there we found ourselves back at the Le Pub de la Butte for refreshment and dinner. In addition to the fine mixed board:
we decided to kick it up a notch and order some skewers. You had your choice of beef, chicken, duck and mutton. We went with the sampler.
After stuffing ourselves, we decided to venture out and stroll the hood. We had just made it outside when the young bar tender who had taken such a shine to us, ran out of the bar toward us. “Wait!” he yelled breathlessly, “I have a free digestif for you!”
Now, my brother and I have known one or two bartenders in our time and we like to think we are familiar with their ways. For one of them to run out of a bar to offer us something free was unique in both of our considerable experiences. But, the word “free” translates well in any language and in no time we were back inside toasting our good fortune with limoncellos. The radar was now up, however, and while we were as complimentary and cordial as we could be, we later spent some time trying to figure out what was going on. We never did come to a satisfactory conclusion.