Chihuly II and the Women Impressionists

A catch-up post from June 21.

We’d had a delightful conversation with a guard at the Chilhuly show, who generously got us some tickets on his break for seeing the show again and also seeing the opening day of the Women Impressionists, over at the Legion of Honor. We’d planned to leave the day before, but in FindingOurWay style, we happily changed our plans.

There were fewer ferries on Saturday and a free concert at Pier 33 had drawn hundreds of extra passengers, but we managed to get the 9:40, which would get us to our 11:00 ticket slot at the De Young.

We’d already seen the movie, so now we had an enhanced appreciation of the show, and noticed so many things we’d missed the first time. We also got to re-do some photos that hadn’t been so successful.

I got a chance to see the Ruth Asawa wire sculptures, which had fascinated me two years ago, as we waited for the elevator to the tower. Bruce was eager to use his new lens to shoot the 360º view of San Francisco provided by the large glass observation deck at the top.

Afterward, we took the MUNI bus over to the Legion of Honor, just in time for our 2:00 tickets to the Women Impressionists.

The four women featured were: Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, and Marie Bracquemond. What an impressive gathering of paintings, and works on paper! There are so many details missed in art books: details that can only really be seen in the actual painting on the wall: the small dabs of paint that the viewer’s eye magically sees as a button, a flower, or a scrap of lace. We learned so much about seeing from these four amazing women. Two did not live anywhere near as long as they should have, and one didn’t paint for the last thirty years of her life because her husband disapproved of impressionism. So much more could have come to this world, otherwise. (Unfortunately, no photography of the show was allowed, but outside there was an other large Chihuly in the Courtyard being contemplated by “The Thinker”.

It made me think of all the great art, discovery, thought, and invention that goes unrealized because of oppression and injustice. Humanity limits and deprives itself of such treasure and goodness when it limits any peoples, anywhere. The show delighted us, and also made us sad and thoughtful. These women were at least recognized by their peers in their time, but are not as widely known or appreciated as masters of painting, breaking new ground in the history of art.

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