Sunday, 24 March 2013


It's closed now, but there was a really interesting exhibit at the Pinacotheque. I had stopped by the museum with intentions to go a few times, but I was totally discouraged at the size of the line. It's a small museum (I saw a Soutine exhibit there last spring) and the single cashier at the ticket booth is rather unhurried, so the line can stretch well down the block. The sheltering effects of the lobby only accommodates a couple people, so you better be dressed for a long outdoor wait. Oh, and don't even try to convince me to buy tickets in advance on line. I've tried so many times in France- from movies to museums- and I've had things go wrong each time, and getting refunds when things go wrong here is not a cakewalk.

So the reason why this exhibit was so crowded was because it was a joint Van Gogh and Hiroshige exhibit. Hiroshige, despite his influence, has never been part of a major exhibit in France- you will know him best from his "Great Wave" and views of Mount Fuji. He is Van Gogh's main influence and they had a lot of interesting parales between the two of them.

Apparently, Van Gogh wasn't just inspired by being in the South of France in Arles, but he actually thought of himself to be in Japan.

So, the Van Gogh portion had some beautiful works, but the Hiroshige was a bit of a crowded mess. His works were small, delicate affairs, and they were all set well back in glass display cases, leaving people to crowd in front of each one with their foreheads pressed against the glass in a grand smudge-fest that made it hard to see anything.

But still. What could be seen: They were amazing.

Hiroshige's main theme was travel. His delicate Ukiyo-e woodblock prints were astoundingly realistic and creative. His scenes of travelers embarking from Edo to Kyoto were touching, surprisingly modern depictions.



All images are from either WikiCommons or  Photos are a big no-no in La Pinacotheque.

Fantastic, right?

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