So you ask, what's so special about a bunch of 100-year old ads for the Moulin Rouge painted by a perverted, vertically-challenged and undoubtedly phsychologically impaired French guy? Well, nothing, I guess...lol.
In all seriousness... I was excited to go see this exhibit. Whenever I get a chance to go over to Europe, I always make sure to visit the galleries. Yet here we are, living in one of the greatest cultural centers on earth, and I can't even be bothered to go and take advantage of any of it. Enter Stephanie, Amber, and the Snobby French Day :)
Truth be told, there were some times where I stood there and thought to myself...hmm... so that's art, huh? But then again, you're talking to the girl who went through the Museum of Modern Art with her mother giggling at all of the displays of "art" - using the term loosely, and horrifying the "serious" patrons in the process. However, I do find myself fascinated with Toulouse-Lautrec's work... although I'm sure neither of us will ever admit to being caught discussing the nuances, symbolism and meaning of art out loud in a public place, Stephanie and I both commented on the use of color to portray not just emotion, but also situation in life... the intangibles, if you will.
All of the bright, lush colors personify the stimulation and perceived joie de vivre that came part and parcel with locales like the Moulin Rouge but the cool colors on the face of the dancer... the dead look in her eyes... more of a realistic view of such a life than you would get from a brief glance, I think. I have a great admiration for Toulouse-Lautrec's use of color... his design principles and the use of line, all of the things that have led modern critics to hail him as a forerunner of graphic design... his unique perspective and the honesty of his work... all traits of one who is rightly attributed a spot among the greats of post-impressionism. I can't help but feel a bit sad when I see his work, though. It reminds me of lives un-touched by the Gospel. Despite the gaiety of the surroundings he's painted, I see no joy. However I also can't help but be touched, in small part, by the story of a man who was born to rough circumstances with severe limitations who didn't let his challenges stop him from making a name and a place for himself in life. While I wouldn't have made the same decisions myself, I admire his strength and I'm inspired by his art.
Rachel, Steph, Me and Amber... After-dinner popsicles near the Capitol :)