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Art Friday: Trip to MIA

Rather than shopping, my daughters and I spent the morning at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A pleasant way to start the day, we made our way through a small portion of the huge collection, revisiting favorites, making up stories about the paintings, circling sculptures to view all angles, discussing color, composition, texture, center of interest, pattern and just stuff we liked, be it Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass, furniture or home models, tiny Japanese figurines or walking through restored rooms. Laura's favorite was this landscape by Albert Bierstadt, the foremost painter of the American West the latter half of the 19th century. The image below does not nearly do the original justice, obviously. Not by a stretch.

One can never get enough of Manet, especially the dark, starkly lit portraits of old guys with beards. Love the limited palette he used on these. Quite the contrast to the usually vibrant pieces by my wife's favorite painter, John Singer Sargent.

This sculpture of Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter. Apparently the Art Institute of Chicago also has a copy. About 3' tall, the level of detail in this piece is astounding.

We think we saw a Batman sculpture, but it pre-dates Bob Kane's creation by centuries!

Though I prefer the western art of Charles Russell (MIA has several of his pieces on display), this Bronco Buster sculpture by contemporary Frederic Remington really catches the eye with its detail, authenticity, composition and movement. Just gorgeous. I recall being introduced to both these artists on a family vacation out west 34 years ago. Boy, I'd love to visit that museum again (it must have been the one linked to above). Thanks for stopping there, Mom & Dad!

Before we were on our way, I made sure we viewed a couple pieces by N.C. Wyeth, one of my favorite illustrators. My eldest daughter wondered why Cream of Wheat was on 3-4 of the paintings. Yep, they were done as advertisements - this beautiful work is commercial art!

I took extra time (again!) staring at The Avenger by Ernst Barlach. What a striking piece - what lines, what movement! I hadn't heard of this artist before discovering this sculpture at the MIA years ago, and have since sought out online more of the work of this German expressionist and expert of Art Nouveau. I was able to find a couple other photos of this magnificent piece so readers could get a sense of its power.

Of course, was saw the Monet haystack the MIA happens to have on hand, as well as the lively and colorful Olive Trees by Vincent Van Gogh. He painted this one in the last year of his life. This one is always Emily's fave.

I've my parents to thank for this love of art, as we made many trips to the Art Institute in Chicago where I grew up. I miss visits there and look forward to taking our girls there when visiting family and friends sooner than later. Before then, perhaps, we'll make another trip to the MIA.

I leave you with this bust of Renoir, my Mom's favorite painter, who continued painting til his death at 78, despite having twisted arthritic hands and being later wheelchair bound.

The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth, which sweeps you along in his passion.

The pain passes, but the beauty remains.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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