Baltimore Museum of Art
Yesterday I took the train to Baltimore to see the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Wow! but no photos allowed, so I’ll talk a bit about it at the end of the post. But…the Cone Collection! I had totally forgotten it was there too. The Gauguin cellist, above, stopped me in my tracks.
The Cone sisters amassed an amazing collection of early 20th century art. Plenty of Matisse, like the figures and dancer above.
I loved this tiny Renoir landscape.
And I had never seen this Van Gogh landscape either. The brush strokes are almost like stitching.
The museum also has many other rooms of modern art, and the painted wood relief sculptures above, by Gertrude Greene and Burgoyne Diller, reminded me of something Nina would do.
I’m keeping in mind this portrait by Max Beckmann for my self-portrait series.
There are also smaller collections of European and African and Asian art. I thought this mask from Angola complemented Raphael’s luminous and also enigmatic painting.
But my very favorite item outside the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit was this cabinet decorated with reverse painted glass by Richard Lee.
I was introduced to Richard Diebenkorn by Nina in 1976 when he had a retrospective at the Whitney (she was working there at the time). You can see a selection of the work on view now in Baltimore on the website, here, but as is true with any artist that works large scale, a reproduction can’t even begin to give the experience of the actual work. Matisse was an inspiration to Diebenkorn throughout his painting life, and the juxtapositions of the works makes that clear. Both artists: just wow.
There are plenty of figural drawings, too, and one common element was the reworking of the page in a way that layered all the different lines of the different attempts. An example of Matisse’s work is below, a reminder that even great artists do not achieve satisfaction or perfection even after many lines have been drawn. They just keep working to get there.