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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


After a week of kid stuff, I was ready for a different kind of eye candy, so, on the way home, I decided to stop off in New Haven. Primary destination: Louis Kahn's wonderful Yale Center for British Art.
Right now there's an unusually good show there called A New World: England's First View of America. These are drawings and watercolors by John White, an artist who first visited the shores of present-day North Carolina in 1585 and recorded what he saw there, with a view toward encouraging settlement. I had read about this in the NY Sun when it opened, but hadn't seriously thought I'd ever manage to see it. It will be there through June 1 and is worth a special trip.
And - sheer serendipity - it was the last day for two very interesting exhibits about "Orientalism" in British painting. One, organized by the Tate Gallery, focused on the nineteenth century and the other, comprised entirely of Yale holdings, dealt with the seventeenth and eighteenth. I was glad that there were detailed illustrated handouts to study later, as none of this work was familiar to me.
I also enjoyed a very small show of portraits of women curated by current undergraduates. And as much as I could handle of the permanent collection, especially the birds-eye "estate" portraits. I took my time poking around in the tempting gallery shop, after which I decided to take a quick look at the main Yale Art Gallery (also by Kahn) right across the street.
More serendipity! I had expected it to be closing momentarily, but it was open for an extra hour on Sunday. And - it was the final week of a wonderful multi-media (paintings, photos, letters, films) show called "Making it New", all about the lives of Sara and Gerald Murphy who were at the center of the group of artists and writers in Paris in the 1920's that included Picasso, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stravinsky, Dos Passos, Leger, Le Corbusier, Cole Porter, and others. A friend had seen and raved about this when it was in Williamstown last summer - I had no idea that it was there or that I'd ever see it. And to think I nearly didn't!
My one-hour stop somehow turned into five hours, and included a delicious Thai dinner for the road. A great day - utterly unplanned.


Blogger sukipoet said...

I quickly read through this post and want to return and take more time with it but two comments. One, I love the way you do things serendipitiously. One hour turns into five and then you take yourself to dinner. Marvelous.

The second is I grew up in Connecticut. Dad went to Yale. He often took us in to New Haven to the Peabody Museum and the Art Museum. I love that place. Where i saw my first and only Van Gogh. Course I'm sure it has greatly changed. Upscale now. Be well, Suki

8:49 AM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

OK I've had time to click on the links. That does sound like a fascinating show, the White. Wonderful it survived. Painters then were like photographers in a way, recording "what is."

I have read a lot about that era in Paris but somehow don't recall the Murphy's. Interesting too.

8:24 AM  

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