Do you ever see an exhibition advertised, decide to go, and then not get around to it until just before it closes? No? Just me then. I finally went to the “Gauguin, Bonnard and Denis” exhibition at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam today, if you want to go be quick – it closes on Sunday.
Wealthy Russians collected art from a group of French artists, sometimes on a huge scale as in the music room commissioned by Morozov, a wealthy Muscovite businessman, and painted by Denis. It consists of thirteen panels showing the story of Psyche. The pictures are light-filled, painted in a flat and clear manner, peopled with healthily rounded humans and angels. They’re displayed in a scale version of the music room, with period music playing, it’s cleverly done by the curator.
There are clear connections here to the Impressionists, Redon presages Chagall, and the use of light connects to Van Gogh (who worked with Gauguin) but the flat aspect also seems to hint at the forms used in the Soviet art of 30 years later.
My wow moment was in front of the “Zebra at a Waterhole” by Georges Manzana Pissaro, I didn’t know the artist, and the work is full of colour and pattern (and my photo does not do it justice at all). The girl looks lost in thought as she eats an orange, the zebra’s stripes are in gold and shimmer with life, the effect is dazzling. Its subject matter and colour set it apart from the surrounding neat, tame domestic scenes of other artists.
The exhibition is on until Sunday; cost is 15 euro (or free with the Museumkaart)