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The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the…

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collection: Eighth Edition

by Timothy Potts

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The architecturally astounding Getty Museum compound at the top of a hill in the Los Angeles area is most definitely worthy of a visit – especially since it’s free!!! This book utilizes the standard format common across the largest U.S. museum (Chicago, MET) – thick, heavy gloss papers, about half of the standard 8-1/2 by 11 for page size. The result is a trade-off that is comprehensive, reasonable-ish in weight, but moderate photo size or worst, split across the spline. Be that as it may, I still find the book to be enjoyable and more importantly, approachable.

Calling out just a few notable pieces:
“La Promenade”, 1870 – Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Nobody does romance better than Renoir, and the courting of this couple is charmingly vibrant. This painting is noted for Renoir’s use of different brushstrokes amongst the different elements of the composition.

“Spring” (Jeanne Demarsy), 1881 – Edouard Manet
I often associate Manet’s paintings to encompassing darker or muted tones; “Spring”, in contrast, is one of the most vibrant pieces of Manet’s artistry.

“Irises”, 1889 – Vincent van Gogh
I am being very pedestrian in calling out the “Irises” but well, it is impressively dynamic in person.

“Spring”, 1894 – Lawrence Alma-Tadema
I stopped, stared, and studied when I saw this highly complex piece in the museum. A procession of children in florals and with florals, musicians, elegant women through a Roman setting celebrates May Day.

“Madame Seurat”, the artist’s mother, 1882 – Georges Seurat
I did not spend much time in the Drawings section and missed this expressive and impressive (even in print) Pointillist drawing of his mother. I can’t describe it. SO. MANY. DOTS.

“The Vexed Man”, 1771-83 – Franz Xaver Messerschmidt
It’s extremely rare that I am drawn to ‘negative’ expressions but this one did. The details of lines, that expression, so vexed that I can’t help but smile. Even more impressive is that the artist was suffering from schizophrenia when he made a series of sixty-nine ‘character heads’, which included this one. ( )
  varwenea | Jul 9, 2017 |
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