A Rainy Day in the Art Institute of Chicago
November's Print of the Month is of one of my favorite paintings. It is perhaps the best known of Gustav Caillebotte's works -- with good reason. As you can plainly see it is done on a rather grand scale. I was hoping that one of the viewers was carrying an umbrella that I could talk them into opening -- alas, museums are pretty skittish about umbrellas.
Probably working from photographs taken by his brother, ol' Gustav painted this piece with three different vanishing points then cleverly concealed the borders between the three segments -- the light standard in the center is one of them and the point of the triangular building to the left of center is the other. The effect as you walk across in front of this work is that you are looking down the streets to the left and right. This gives it a haunting air of being there that I really enjoy. Edward Hopper used this technique in some of his paintings, too. In a fit of curiosity I tried it out with two negatives taken at the corner of 2nd Avenue Extension and Prefontaine Place in the Pioneer square district.
Wadda' you know! It works with photographs also. One negative looks down Prefontaine (on the right) and the other on 2nd Avenue (on the left). The border between them that hides the discontinuity it the corner of the building. This certainly has a different look than a wide angle photograph of the same scene. I confess that I had to repair the bike rack in the foreground a bit. Painters have it easy -- if they don't like something in the image they leave it out.
There is a recently opened new museum in Burien (Washington) near where we now live. The"Highline Heritage Museum" is a local history and culture museum and, trust me on this one, has a bit of something for everybody in it's collection. I went to an open house there recently and on impulse took my metaportfolio -- a book of descriptions of my several ongoing projects and a single print from each of them. I had a chance to chat up the curator, a young woman who is a ball of energy and enthusiasm, who latched on to my metaphor of "Spying on a Memory" and this print in particular. She sees my work has having a strong community feel and connection and that my memories are stand-ins for everybody's memories. She offered me a chance to show in their local artist's display in February/March/April. This is not a formal, hang prints on the wall space. It is a glass display case perhaps 20 feet long, 8 feet high and 3 feet deep. I can display prints -- unframed since they are behind glass -- and text on the back wall, flat on the raised floor, on easels on the floor, on plinths inside the case. Designing this display is going to be a lot of fun.
By the way, nobody including me noticed that last month's Print of the Month was listed on the home page as September, not October. (sigh)