Le Pont Japonais a Giverny by Claude Monet
When was the last time you attended a class? Not for work, not for credit, just because…
Last night! Yes, I went to LACMA for one of their Art 101 Lectures. It is a perk of membership: lacma.org for those of you who want to join.
The topic for last night’s presentation was Portrait: Monet. It was terrific. I admit I love Art History; it is the way that history in general, came alive for me when I was in school. And who does not love the Impressionists? I fell for the Impressionists almost as hard as I loved ponies and horses. Although, I don’t know if I ever attempted to paint like the Impressionist. I did draw lots and lots of horses.
The material our lecturer shared was fantastic, and I learned many new facts about Monet, his contemporaries, and history of that time period. Did you know of that the invention of portable, metal paint tubes was an important technological advancement? Why? Because it allowed the Impressionists and others to paint out of the studio. Similarly important inventions were the portable easel and pre-stretched canvases. The Impressionists were painting in the midst of the Industrial Revolution and benefited from the advent of manufacturing. There were women too who benefited from the ability to paint anywhere.
Having recently read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, the story of the Impressionists’ rejection by the ‘Big Pond’ of the Salon was fresh in my mind. Especially, the part about their determination not to be deterred by the Salon and to put on their own show. Malcolm Gladwell uses this story to illustrate his point that sometimes the best course of action is to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond. In the case of the Impressionist, it was a pond of their own making.
It is fascinating to me when I consider the Impressionists being disruptive. All those lovely paintings with their wonderful use of color, the glimpses of life at that time, the vibrant light and brush strokes. The paintings and the artists were slammed by the critics.
This leads me to thinking about our digital revolution and disruptive technologies. I feel numb to it at times yet I have come to expect it. I love history for the perspective it allows us. How do we live in times that seem like they are moving so fast? When do we get a chance to gain some perspective? For starters let’s support artists as I believe they are in the moment and attempting to distill our current state of being. Nick Bonamy is a young artist whose work I like right now. Check it out.