Artistic Endeavors – The Mellon Collection of French Art

Certain names crop up frequently in eastern U.S. art museum collections. Two prominent ones are Frick and Mellon. Last weekend I took advantage of the largess of these collectors at the “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of Art From the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” exhibit on at the The Frick Pittsburgh until July 8, 2018.

Of the three marquee names in this exhibit, Degas is the best represented with 10 pieces. Paul Mellon owned race horses and Degas was a wonderful painter of horses, so it was a match made in heaven for a savvy collector with the means to acquire fine paintings. The three by Van Gogh on display are small and done somewhat early in his career. The three (I think) Monets are OK but I prefer much of his other work.  There’s a scattering of many other famous Impressionist and modern painters among the 70 plus works, and I found a few to delight me. Except for three by Berthe Morisot, all were done by men.

I love the high horizon composition Degas used and I can feel the coiled energy of the horses’ bodies. You’d think that all the horses on the right side would make for an unbalanced effect but it doesn’t.

One of Degas’ most famous works.

I wanted to smuggle this small gem by Boudin out in my bag, but my husband insisted I wouldn’t get away with it.

I enjoy how the black lines in this 1953 Picasso painting (“The Chinese Chest of Drawers”) carry my eye in and out of the composition.

Dufy somehow painted this oasis of artistic calm in Nice, France, during World War II.

A Toulouse-Lautrec without cancan dancers! My husband and I both felt it has a German expressionist feeling to it. The bartender looks like an alien. Great use of triangles in the composition.

An icon of St. Catherine of the Wheel that’s part of the regular Frick collection. Doesn’t she look pissed off? I guess being martyred on a burning spiked wheel will do that to you.


Filed under Commentary, Exhibits

8 responses to “Artistic Endeavors – The Mellon Collection of French Art

  1. Did you see quilt inspirations here? I can see directions to go, especially from the Boudin and the Dufy. Not that that would be my kind of quilting but someone like you could go wild!

  2. Thanks for this peek of the exhibit. You see much in these works and it is interesting to read what you see. I really like the little landscape you wanted to abscond with! I love that the “strokes” (is it pastel?) seem to cause the intensity in the sky.

  3. What a great exhibit. We visit galleries and museums regularly here in Santa Fe – one of my favorite outings. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Rosemaryflower

    I love every single one of these. We are so fortunate to be able to photograph these paintings. I can connect very well with your urge to snatch that painting. That would look perfect in my home.
    I love Picasso. His paintings make me happy

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