Balthus at the Met

Once again I was so annoyed by the wall labels of a Met show that I had trouble appreciating the art. This time the show, apparently conceived and titled for marketing purposes, was called “Balthus Cats and Girls” – thus, appealing to the Met’s two main audiences: men and women. The first shortcoming of the […]

The Best Non-Rembrandts

The MIA’s “Rembrandt in America” featured, by approximate count, 50 paintings – 25 by Rembrandt, 25 not so much. The spectrum ran from two authentically great works – the MIA’s own Lucretia and the Self-Portrait from Washington – to two sad pastiches – the Young Woman from Allentown and the Ringling’s Lamentation. Everything else fell […]

Rembrandt in America

Rembrandt van Rijn painted great works of art from 1628 to 1669. There wasn’t much art collecting in the United States in those years – of course, there wasn’t even a United States. The first Rembrandt painting came to America probably in 1884, more than 200 years after Rembrandt died. So it is not surprising […]

The Essential 20

      Not wanting to be seen as totally negative, after posts on the Worst Paintings and the horrors of Glazing, and returning to Minneapolis after six months in California, I toured the MIA’s third floor to pick out 20 paintings I couldn’t do without. That is to say, I am not purporting to call these […]

Ten Worst Paintings at the MIA

Nicola di Maestro Antonio d’Ancona, Madonna and Child Enthroned  (c. 1490) This will introduce you to the very subjective nature of this tour. For starters, I just don’t like my women (in art) to be heavy-lidded, flat-chested and with lips no wider than their nostrils. The human face may be shaped like an egg, but […]

Until Now: The Contemporary Art Tour

Welcome to Until Now, the MIA’s first exhibition of Contemporary Art. We’ve picked the period from 1960 to 2010, which happens to be half a century, a nice round number. But is there a significance to this particular 50-year span? I think you will see that there is, and the place to start is where […]

William Holman Hunt at the MIA

We will undertake a bit of time travel as we enter Sin and Salvation, to the Victorian Age in England. What do we think of when we hear the word “Victorian” today? […] One dictionary definition I came across is, “A stifling and prudish moral earnestness.” In design we think of excessive ornamentation, even fussy clutter. […]

These Are A Few of My Favorite Frames

Next to the paintings, what I like best are frames, and the MIA collection has some great ones. In case you’ve never picked out your own favorites, here are mine. First, you will note that my list ends around 1900, because that seems to be when framing, as a decorative art, started its decline to […]

Birdwatching at the MIA

You are all here for a lecture on James James Audubon, the great American bird artist. He is the first great bird art in America, but artists have been portraying birds long before his time and all over the world. What I propose is that we all go on safari together, to discover how birds […]

Pretty Women in Sculpture

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of sculptures on display at the MIA, and it would take us days to explore them all. So, since we have just under an hour together, I thought I would concentrate on one particular sculptural subject, one that will nevertheless take us all over the museum, and even then […]