Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Worlds We Can Only Dream Of

On my only day off last week, and one of Taylor's last days in town, we decided to have an activity day.  We spent about an hour the night before discussing possible cultural pursuits, and settled upon two options: going to a matinee showing of The Imitation Game or heading down to Forrest Park to peruse more of The Art Museum.  We woke up early the next morning and convened at Kaldis to start the day.  It was there that we decided we were not in the mood to go sit in a theater for two+ hours right in the middle of the day, so The Art Museum it was!  (We ended up going to see American Sniper the next night; review post definitely forthcoming.)

Having wandered through the European sections last time, we made our way upstairs to the American art, starting with collections from the Native Americans.  There were some beautiful beaded textiles and other functional, day-to-day items.  The hide painting below is thought to be a first-person account of The Battle of Little Bighorn of 1876.

The following few rooms were filled with some beautiful landscapes.  This first one, titled The Hudson at Piermont, by Jasper F. Cropsey, 1852, had many layers of content, starting with the two towering trees.  If you look closer, you see a serene grouping of cows and a couple sitting on the bank.  And further beyond that, you see a steamboat docked at the pier and a train heading into the town.

The next painting, In the Roman Campagne by George Inness, 1873, also features some pastoral elements, but there is one thing that stands out as not really belonging; the turbine-like structure on the upper left side.  Taylor and I decided that this is the planet Hoth from Star Wars after many years of global warming, the questionable structure being the shield generator.

And then we came upon the pièce de résistance, the day's winner: Road Down the Palisades by Ernest Lawson, c.1911.  Look at the bright patches of colors and contrasting directions of brushstrokes!  And the little bit of water the road leads to with the matching sky is the perfect contrast to the heavier landmass.

There were a few other highlights, including some very art nouveau fireplace tiles, an excellence use of light in a snowy naval landscape, a few architecturally interesting interior elements of the art museum itself, and the massive contemporary art paintings by Gerhard Richter.

After that, our adventure day led us to lunch at a sports bar in Clayton called Lester's, which was quite good, and a quick stop at Schnucks on the way home to pick up a dairy-free brownie mix, which was also quite good.  All in all, I'd say a successful and fun day it was.

(photos by e.hunt, and collected from googleimages)

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