Courtauld Collection at Foundation Louis Vuitton
After seeing the banners around town and hearing about the show from a friend, I concluded that these two shows were not to be missed. I felt fortunate because I knew Manet’s “Un Bar aux Folies Bergère,” featured on the banners was here from England. My heart goes out to those currently visiting London and not being able to see this at the Courtauld Institute in London. The show featured impressive impressionist and post-impressionist works by all of the big names. Also, it was a pleasure to see a small gallery of delicate watercolors by JMW Turner. I learned from my past experience and purchased a timed reservation online. I ended up in the gallery 20 minutes early, and they scanned the ticket straight from my phone. The gallery was reasonably crowded. Patiently waiting and weaving towards the works made it possible to get a satisfying viewing. I especially enjoyed a number of the smaller works in the collection by Degas, Monet, Gauguin, Manet, Van Gogh, and Seurat. I am including a few samples from the show that I particularly enjoyed seeing.
The Foundation’s take on Contemporary Painting
The second exhibition I viewed was drawn from the foundation’s permanent collection. I did not use the audio guide, and I did not see booklets, but my interpretation of this exhibition boils down to critical and curatorial perceptions about what remains relevant in the practice of painting. To some extent, the show is geared towards expanding the definition of painting beyond what is typically considered painting. The first large gallery is dedicated to Joan Mitchell, and her take on expressionism with very large-scale works, most of which are in diptych format. There is no question about these works as paintings. They feature “the mark.”
As the show continues, one turns a corner and on the wall is Joseph Kosuth’s tautology “A Sentence With Five Colors.” Alternative materials that may or may not include pigment become folded into the concept of painting and that is one major theme of the show.
One of the most engaging parts of the exhibition is the famous installation “Infinity Mirror Room” by Yayoi Kusama from Japan. 4 viewers at a time are given approximately 3 minutes to view the work, which had a reasonably quick moving queue at the door. Once inside with the door closed, one is surrounded by colored dots on phallic forms that in the French mirror tradition, reflects the space into infinity. One also finds their own reflections as well, and the 4 individuals in the room become a multitude. Significantly, this particular work was the catalyst that launched this artist’s career into the international stratosphere, and she is now celebrated as Japan’s most successful artists.
Once again, I spent some time exploring the architecture of Frank Gehry’s building, During this visit, they had the lower level along the waterfall and reflecting pool open.
The weather was great, so I exited out the back of the museum and spent some time sketching in the garden before taking the metro back. I am grateful that I have been here long enough to see a total of 4 exhibitions in this beautiful place.