no better, no worse, no change, no pain

bringing out the big guns

In Art on December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Vincent van Gogh
Starry night [La nuit étoilée] 1888

If you can bear to tear your eyes away from a beautiful painting, have a look at the faces of your fellow audience. The crowd milling around van Gogh’s Starry Night at the NGA on Wednesday had a collective expression of peacefulness; enlightenment almost. It is a moment to cherish – finally being in the presence of a piece of art you have until now only seen in photos, reproduced in books or as prints. The experience of seeing the colours, the brushstrokes and the texture as the artist intended.

Masterpieces from Paris: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond which opened last week, is the largest collection of post-impressionist art to travel outside France. On loan from the Musee d’Orsay, the 114 works have travelled to Canberra while the Parisian gallery undergoes a major renovation. For many Australians, seeing these pieces first-hand will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Key works include van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles, Gauguin’s Tahitian women and Cézanne’s Mount Saint-Victoire, but also include pieces by Vuillard, Bonnard, Denis and Bernard.

Édouard Vuillard
In bed [Au lit] 1891

I was especially taken with Vuillard’s In Bed (above). The muted palette and soft lines lent such a feeling of serenity, I wondered if I could just curl up on the floor and give Room 6 a miss.

I was also fortunate enough to see Sydney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series in its new home. A purpose-built gallery housing 26 paintings produced by Nolan between 1946 and 1947 has just been opened at the building’s entrance. These much-loved works are truly deserving of their prominent position in the graceful curved gallery space.

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