ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

The Young Monet at the Kimbell

wife-on-beach02202017TRAVEL HERE: DID YOU MISS IT?
Seems like I’m doing a lot of apologizing of late and here I go again!  There’s been a wonderful exhibition on the young Monet at the Kimbell in Fort Worth and even though I’ve been several times, I didn’t tell you about it.  By way of atonement I’ll warn you that another Impressionist and European Masters show is on its way in May.  In the meantime, I’ll fill you in on what you missed, if you did, in fact, miss it.

Early Monet

Monet is a known entity for most of us.  He’s that Impressionist guy who did all the water lily paintings.  Over the years, the Kimbell has offered several very good Monet exhibitions, so those of us in the DFW Metroplex have had a better than average chance to get to know him.  One of the reasons is a large beach scene in shades of gray and brown – more Van Gogh than Monet when you first look at it.  This shoreline landscape was the first piece Monet showed in a Beaux Art Salon and the Kimbell owns it.  That’s how it gets all the good exhibitions.  Want to borrow my Monet?  Include me in the exhibition schedule! 

Thanks to them (and lots of study on my own) I knew Impressionism was something Monet grew into.  He started out as a fine landscape painter in the traditional sense, but grew into less exacting ways of capturing a scene.  Most of us know another reason for his style is related to his vision.  As he grew older his eyesight got worse and he painted what he saw.  That’s the reason some paintings of Venice ,from late in his life, look almost as if he abandoned representational painting altogether.

I had all this floating around in my mind, but this latest exhibit fleshed out what I had learned.  The exhibition took him from a very traditional landscape painted in his teens, through his first Salon painting and on to the height of Impressionism.

You may be wondering why I don’t just quit jabbering a go ahead and show you some art.  Fine!


The most delicious painting I can’t show you, because they didn’t have a postcard.  It was a scrumptious snow scene, which at first glance seemed to be all white, but then the more you looked at it, the more color you could see.  Then there were all the bittersweet paintings showing the rift, his art and significant other caused, between him and his family of origin.  Oh, and the luscious picture of the melon with the blue and white china…. Well you get the idea!

Joe T.'s Fiesta Garden
Joe T.’s Fiesta Garden

Double Dipping

One of the reasons I feel so bad about leaving you out of the loop is that it’s not like I went during one of the last weeks and just missed by a few days.  I first went a few weeks after it opened with my bestie.  I made a day of it for her birthday.  That’s when I picked up all these postcards with the best of intentions and snapped this gorgeous shot at the entrance to Joe T’s wonderful Fiesta Garden.  Of course, we went to Joe T’s.

My second visit was with the Buffalo Gals.  In case you didn’t know, that’s the Bible Study group we have here in my neighborhood.  We’re on our fifth Beth Moore Bible Study together and we always take a play date to celebrate our friendship somewhere along the way.  Here’s a few shots of that expedition!  Come back next week, because I have to catch you up on what’s been happening at the DMA, too.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL

The Brothers Le Nain at Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum


So, imagine you’re a Seventeenth Century Parisian and you’re looking for a little something for the palace wall.  Are you going to settle for some no-name artist? Or are you going to hire the guys who just installed the new altarpiece in Notre Dame Cathedral?  You got that right!  You’re going to pick the Brothers Le Nain.

How the Le Nains Spelled Success

The most frustrating thing about the current exhibition at the Kimbell is no one really knows very much about Antoine, Louis and Mathieu Le Nain.  Oh, the curators can give you birth dates and show you a few paintings, but in truth, they can’t tell you much about how three guys came in from a small French burg and became the Toast of Paris.  However, art voices spend a lot of words speculating about it.

The forty painting on exhibit at the Kimbell right now demonstrate the talent of this trio of brother artists, but talent alone doesn’t get you gigs like altarpieces for Notre Dame or portraits of bishops and musketeers.  (Yes, those musketeers; the ones in the novel.)  However, I do suggest you hurry over there and see the exhibit, because whatever their formula for success was, these guys knew how to paint.

Who Painted What?

After listening carefully to every word of the audio guide (included with the $14 price of admission) the one thing I can tell you for sure is the art world is very frustrated by their inability to identify which brother painted which painting.  The Brothers didn’t sign their names to their work and while they may have kept some journal of who painted what, that log didn’t make it to modern times.  Can you imagine the auction price if it ever came to light?

While talent certainly played a role, I think it may have been the brothers ability to play a variety of roles which brought their fame.  Want a portrait?  We’ll paint you up a humdinger.  Need an altarpiece?  We’ll go all mystical and ethereal for you.  Need a little genre painting?  Well, we do great peasant pictures.  I can just hear one brother calling out to the others, “We got a few Brits on the way! Put out the Dutch look-alike paintings!”

The Le Nain Genius

Thank you
My favorite!  Thank you  Can you find the religious allusion?

Beyond the fact their oeuvre contains a variety of styles (which may or may not be related to which brother painted any given picture), I found several things of interest in the exhibit.  My favorite observation was the presence of various models in more than one painting.  There’s a mop-headed boy who plays both angel and peasant.  A chubby cheeked girl made a merry appearance in a number of scenes.  Even a donkey in an altarpiece is copied exactly in another painting. I’d like to spend more time with a catalog in hand making comparisons, but since it costs $75 I probably won’t be availing myself of one.  I may spend time on sites like WikiArt, though, scoping out the faces and looking for repeats.

For another thing, I was struck by how religious 17th century Parisians were.  It’s given altar pieces will be religious, but whether the Le Nains were painting soldiers cheating at cards or peasant children dancing by the fire, they included something religious.  Whether the Le Nains themselves were religious or they were merely pandering to the tastes of their patrons, there is no way to know, but either way, that little something for your castle wall needed to have a Sister of Charity, symbols of communion or a little morality tale – or you’d look elsewhere.

20160619_164015Perhaps most interesting was their most frequent subject was peasants.  Apparently, that was the going thing at the time.  The Brothers captured them doing all kinds of things and there was always group of them.  I painted a mental picture of the Seventeenth Century French Court singing a chorus of “What Do the Simple Folk Do” from Camelot, the musical.  Meanwhile, out in the streets, the actual peasants were desperately trying to keep food on the table and shoes were out of the question.  Perhaps if helping the peasants had been as popular as hanging pictures of them on the wall, there might be a few less to paint.

Regardless of the matters of taste or which brother painted which piece, I think you’ll enjoy The Brothers Nain.  It will be at the Kimbell until September.  Come back next week and I’ll tell you where we went to eat after the exhibit.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Scotland Visits Fort Worth TX

Kimball Art Museum, Ft Worth TX
The Exhibition Brochure


It’s been very nose-to-the-grindstone around here lately, so when Bill said, “Let’s do something different this Sunday,” he didn’t get any argument from me.  In fact, I’d already been formulating a play date in my head.

Day Tripping to the Kimball

On Sundays, the Kimball doesn’t open until noon, so we took a leisurely attitude about our drive.  It’s been a good six months since our last visit and probably longer since we were on I-30 west of Dallas.  We were amazed by the construction.

A companion for our beautiful Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge  is being built to replace the old I-30 bridge.  I’m looking forward to that.  The current bridge has been in bad shape and sadly insufficient for a long time.  I’m sure the daily commuters who are dealing with the construction issues are even more eager than I am for the new bridge.

In fact, much of I-30 is being renovated.  I remember when the thoroughfare was a toll road, but that was a long time ago.  As a child, I was fascinated by the punch card the toll equipment spat out.  It indicated the entrance you had used and being a child, I wondered how it knew.

Somewhere along the way, they made the road free and named it to honor a beloved coach of our Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry.  A few years ago, they started using his trademark fedora as an icon for that stretch of highway.  As a long time Dallasite and a big fan of Landry, I was glad to notice they are incorporating an image of the fedora in the overpasses.

The Exhibition 

We scored curbside parking under a tree and entered the museum.  To get to the Piano Pavilion, where they house the special exhibitions, you have to go back outside and walk across the museum’s campus.  Usually this is a pleasant prospect, but in the melting heat we did not linger.

The masterworks of Botticelli to Braque, Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland were drawn from three different museums in Scotland: the Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.  I’d been to the Scottish National Gallery a long time ago and had been amazed by their collection, so I was thankful for the opportunity to revisit a few of them.  All fifty-five of the paintings are gorgeous.  You need to see this exhibition.

The first thing you will notice when you enter are the bright red walls of central section of the exhibition.  It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve started to pay attention to the color of walls in a museum.  Usually they are some shade of white, but somewhere along the way they started using color on the walls of exhibitions and I like it.  It helps set the mood for the show.  These red walls mimic the red walls of the National Gallery of Scotland, as illustrated in a lovely photo near the entrance.  I don’t remember if the walls were red when I was there or not.

Mr. Bill immediately walked into the glowing center section, but like a good museum girl, I read all the information posted on the entry walls and then headed to the left, just like I was supposed to.  That placed me right in front of the Botticelli – The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child, which immediately became one of my favorites of the exhibit.  I love that the Kimbell includes an audio tour in the price of admission.  From it I learned the lovely pink roses of the painting had no thorns, which symbolized the virgin birth and that the sleeping Christ child sleeps to remind us of the three days of His death before His Resurrection.  I was also reminded to look in the lower corner of the painting to see the symbolic strawberries, but I had to turn to wiki to discover what they were symbolic of, but the list was too long to include here.

Another favorite of mine was a small portrait of a young girl mourning the death of a bird, painted in lovely pastels.  The complexion of the girl is absolutely radiant and the whole painting seems to bloom with warmth  I’d love to show it to you, but couldn’t find it online.  I found the title and the artist, but they have it attached to a different picture on several sites and the Scottish National Gallery site says there are copyright restrictions.  So, here’s another reason to go to the show.

A John Singer Sargent portrait of Lady Agnes of Lochnaw stares steadily from one of the exhibition’s walls. According to the audio tour, her calm confidence is deceiving, because while she appears stoic in the painting, she famously suffered a nervous breakdown while enjoying the fame the painting brought.  Nearby is the familiar Three Tahitians from Gaugin.   I also enjoyed Matisse’s charming little painting that comments on imagery.  I couldn’t find it online either, but for a final taste of the show I offer Watteau.

The Second Look 

One of the benefits of twenty-one years of marriage is that you finally figure out how to do things.  We do exhibitions differently.  He rarely starts at the beginning, doesn’t like audio tours, infrequently reads exhibition labels and hence is usually through long before I am.  At the Kimball, he found a comfy, out-of-the-way chair and cat-napped while I lingered lovingly over each and every item.

When we were first married, we tried visiting museums in lockstep, but that only resulted in frustration for both of us.  Enjoying the art and exhibits separately, lowered the frustration, but I missed  sharing part.  Our compromise is to look at exhibits separately, then go back through for an overview, showing each other our favorites and comparing our opinions.

The painting of the skater on the brochure above was one of Bill’s choices.  He hadn’t been as fond of the Botticelli and had missed the strawberries completely.  Most the other items on his list were very different from mine. This is the Carot he wanted to take home.

Do make time in your schedule to see this exhibition.  It will only be in Fort Worth until September 20th, so make it soon!  And come back next week, because I’ll tell you where we had a marvelous brunch before we headed over to the Kimbell.

Architecture, ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Restaurants & Bars, TRAVEL

The Basses at the Kimbell in Fort Worth

Bass Show03232015_0001


If you had so much money that you could buy anything you wanted, what would you buy?  The first thing I would probably do is run out and buy a Jaguar.  Thankfully, folks like the Kimbells and the Basses are a little more philanthropic than that.

Time for a Day Trip

Building a house is an all-consuming project, but on a recent Sunday, hubby and I took a little trip over to Fort Worth.  We needed a break.

I’d been over to the Kimbell for the “Faces of Impressionism” Exhibition, back in November, but it was a quick trip and I hadn’t lingered see the Kimbell’s own collection spread out into what had always been the special exhibition space.  Hubby hadn’t even seen the Piano Pavilion, yet, so he was overdue.

Hello Old Friends

I’ve been hanging at the Kimbell since 1972, when it opened.  Most of the time I was there for special exhibitions and their own collection was stuffed into one corner of the museum – but oh what a corner!  It was sort fun to see what items from their expansive collection they chose to display at any given time.  Seeing the collection spread out over twice as much space was such a joy.  Old friends I hadn’t seen in decades were there to admire.

As I appreciated the wonderful collection I was reminded why the Kimbell gets so many wonderful special exhibitions.  They get the exhibitions because they have so many amazing pieces of their own.  You can get the Bernini exhibition when you have spectacular Berninis to lend to the exhibit.  You can get Carravagio, when you have the compelling “Cardsharps” to lend to the show.  And the list goes on.

Hello New Friends

After lingering for awhile in the South Gallery, I decided it was time to take Bill over to the Piano Pavilion.  His attention span is somewhat shorter than mine at a museum and I didn’t want to go home until I’d seen the Bass collection, currently being exhibited.  I almost lost him anyway, because as he wandered through the open spaces between the two buildings he started speculating on where he could put a rock garden like they have.

As I drug him up to the door of the Piano Pavilion, he asked if we’d have to pay money.  I hadn’t actually researched that part of it, so I told him yes – but I was wrong.  The Bass Collection exhibit is FREE.  Thank you very much.  Free and fabulous.

We walked in the exhibition space and almost bumped into a Rodin.  Yep, this was going to be good.  Rounding a corner we were gobsmacked by a bouquet of Impressionism so sweet that my heart throbbed.  “I’ve never seen this one before,” Bill exulted as he stood in front of Vincent Van Gogh‘s “Streets in Santes-Maries-de-la-Mer.”  Well, obviously, it had been in the Bass’s home, which we’d never been into, but his amazement was that in all the Impressionist exhibitions and TV shows and books and such that his wife has forced on him, there was more to see.

Rounding the next corner, we found another Rodin along with a marvelous collection of other sculpture, including a Remington and a Russell.  The balance of the exhibit was more contemporary than our tastes run, but we appreciated the opportunity to see it.  The Basses were purported to love their Rothko above and beyond all their other pieces.  Me, I’d take one of the Van Goghs or maybe the Bonnard.

Shopping and Culinary Opportunities

Not only has the Kimball effectively doubled their exhibition space, they also doubled their opportunities for monetary collections.  The old gift shop is now mostly devoted to books, while a gift shop in the Piano Pavilion is given over to delicious trinkets like jewelry, evening bags and desktop toys.  Outside the new gift shop they were exhibiting a lot of primitive sculpture from places like South America and Africa.

When it comes to food, you can have snacks in the new pavilion or enjoy a meal at The Buffet Restaurant.  I haven’t eaten at The Buffet since we lost Mom.  Somehow it feels like it would be cheating.

More Old Friends

I knew I didn’t have much more time until Bill’s fatigue alarm went off, so I scurried back to the main museum and into the North Galleries.  Along with many old favorites we enjoyed seeing Lawrence Alma-Tadema‘s “Between Hope and Fear,” a work which was visiting from elsewhere.20150322_152418

No time like the present to get over to Fort Worth for a visit. The opportunity to see the Bass Collection is well worth the trip.  And then you can visit Joe T. Garcia’s.  That’s how we topped off our perfect day trip to Fort Worth!



Architecture, ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Museums, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

Enjoying the Metroplex Part Duex


Here’s the rest of the stuff I did when I was too busy to blog about it.

Kimball Art Museum, Ft Worth TX

The Kimbell Art Museum (Faces of Impressionism) – I mentioned the Musee d’Orsay while describing the DMA’s current exhibit, but the portraits over at the Kimbell right now are actually from that famous depository of Impressionism.

Confession, portraits are not my favorite thing.  I like paintings with people in them, but I prefer almost every other subject matter over portraiture.  Confession number two: I had no idea what special exhibition the Kimball had going on.  I’d just been meaning to get over there and see the new Piano Pavilion ever since it opened last fall.  (Even more proof of how overwhelmed I’ve been lately!)

So, when my little sister suggested a play date, this was at the top of my list.  I also hadn’t had a Joe T. Garcia’s Tex-Mex fix since my birthday in March, so I added lunch to our itinerary.  The ever-amiable Susan was agreeable.

Confession number three.  I loved this exhibit.  I loved it so much that I bought the catalog – and believe me,  I’m not exactly hurting for art books.  Perhaps the reason I loved it so much was the fact that when it came to portraiture, the Impressionists shook the art world up with it, as much as they did with everything else they painted.  This show will be there through January 25th.  You need to get over there and see it.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Piano Pavilion, also.  The Kimbell has an amazing collection of art, but at any given time, most of it was under wraps to make way for the spectacular special exhibitions they have hosted.  With the Piano Pavilion, they’ve created a wonderful place for special shows and made more room for their own extraordinary collection.

All in all, it was a great day in Ft. Worth, in spite of the fact that my little sister balked at sitting out on the Fiesta Patio.  So what if it was a chilly November day.  I sat inside munching on my family style dinner looking through the window at the patio wishing I was there.  It was almost perfect.

DAB Autumn11292014Dallas Arboretum ( Autumn at the Arboretum) – When we finally got to this year’s Autumn at the Arboretum it was in it’s last days.  You could tell, because workers were already assembling the holiday exhibits.  Still there were plenty of beautiful flowers and about a zillion pumpkins of every imaginable shape, size and color.  As you can see from this photo borrowed from the front of the DABS fall program, the garden is beautiful whatever the season.

I was glad to see that the water features of the Magnolia Glade were finally flowing.  They’d proven to be a sticky wicket for a while, but none of the previous frustrations are apparent nowadays.  One of my favorite parts of the garden is currently under renovation.  It used to be the Lay Ornamental Garden and it is being transformed into the Lay Family Garden.  I’m excited to see what they’ll do, but I did miss seeing it.

The Dallas Arboretum is always treat – whatever time of year it is and regardless of whether there is currently any special event going on.  right now, it’s all decked out for the holidays, so do plan on seeing it.  However, you should see it often, so you don’t miss a thing.

Arhaus NP11292014NorthPark Center (Arhaus Grand Opening Party Nov 14) –  How could I leave NorthPark out of this cavalcade of my favorite places – the ones I go to even when I don’t really have time to go anywhere?  I am on NorthPark’s weekly email list.  That doesn’t mean I’m any cooler than someone who’s not, except that I did take time to go on their website and click the button.

As a part of this list, I get frequent updates as to what’s happening at this mall which I consider to be the center of the universe.  Seriously!  When we first discussed building the house in Heath, one of my first considerations was how long it would take me to get to NorthPark from there.

Anyway, some weeks all they tell me about are sales or the latest addition to the food court, but I also get some awesome invitations.   That’s what happened on the week in question.  In fact, that NorthPark Noteworthy was chockful of good stuff.  They were inaugurating something called Watch Week and I was invited to the Arhaus Grand Opening.

First allow me to rave about Arhaus.  If you are interested in furniture and furnishings, it’s in there.  They have gorgeous stuff and they have lots of it.  You shouldn’t have to be bribed to visit with free champagne.  However, it certainly was nice to see all their beautiful merchandise while munching exquisite goodies and quaffing cold champagne.  (In real flutes I might add.  No plastic or paper cups for this crowd.)  Make your way to Arhaus!  It’s worth a special trip.

As the Arhaus party wound down, we wandered back into the mall and happened onto a place called Pirch.  We seriously couldn’t figure out what it was.  Was it a coffee shop?  Were they selling plumbing fixtures?  Was it an appliance showroom?  Believe it or not, the answer to all three questions in YES!!

Unfortunately, I was a little late in requesting an invitation to the Watch Week events.  We did go back to the mall on Saturday and visit several of the watch and jewelry boutiques, but all we heard over and over and over was that we SHOULD have been there Thursday night.  See if I ever wait to ask Bill whether he’s interested or not.  I’ll just request the invitation and then figure out who will go with me!

So, we had a great time at NorthPark and now you have three assignments.  Visit Arhaus.  Visit Pirch.  It’s right next door to Arhaus.  Sign up for the NorthPark Noteworthy email list.  Then I’ll be seeing you at some of their fabulous events.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Body by Bernini


The Kimball Art Museum, over in Fort Worth, is hosting an exhibition called “Bernini, Sculpting in Clay,” but I think, perhaps it should be called, Body by Bernini.  Do you remember when our American cars used to be built by Fisher Body Corporation?  Each car bore the seal, “Body by Fisher” and that assured the owner of a quality chassis.

Who is Bernini?

Bernini may not be a familiar name to you, but you’ve most likely seen what he did. As the go-to sculptor for the popes, about a century after Michelangelo, his magnificent works are all over Italy.  The central focus for all his sculptures are spectacular human specimens and let me tell you, he created some pretty amazing chassis.

Bernini’s finished works are massive works of marble, integrated into fountains, bridges and tombs.  There would be no way to transport them to Fort Worth, but this exhibition is not focused on his finished work.  In order to plan these triumphs in marble, Bernini thought out loud in clay.  It’s these clay models you’ll see at the Kimball and I found them fascinating.

Modeling in Clay

Modeling in clay is a beginning point for most sculpture,whether the finished product will be marble, bronze, gold or granite.  There are two types of clay models.  One type is the model presented to a client for approval.  “See, this is what it will look like when I get through!” There are examples of this type of clay model in the exhibit.  But artist usually indulge in a few other practice models before they tackle a block of granite or marble.  What was unique about Bernini was the sheer number of models he would create.  This is the focus of the Kimball exhibition.

The exhibition follows the creation of works through a series of models, so you can see Bernini’s creative genius in stages.  Through the wonders of technology, we can now peek behind the surface of paintings and see what changes an artist made throughout the creation of the work, but that’s impossible to do with marble.  Clay tells the whole story.  Through the clay of Bernini’s models we have his actual fingerprints, pressed into clay to create feathers on angels and scales on fish.  We can see where he picked up clay to add bulk and where he used tool to create a texture.

Bernini a Rock Star

Another reason the Bernini exhibition reminded me of the Fisher Body Corporation was the separation between design and execution.  Every car chassis bearing Mr. Fisher’s name was not crafted by Mr. Fisher himself.  He was just the designer.  And that’s just how Bernini worked.  Bernini was the rock star of his age.  Everyone wanted a piece of him.  It would have been impossible for him to produce all the masterworks attributed to him all by himself.  Many artist had people who worked with them, but Bernini was sort of the McDonald’s of art.

Bernini created the ideas behind the works, but he’d ship off his employees with an armload of models to sculpt the actual statues.  Art historians have been able to figure out that he’d even turn the creation of the patron’s model over to members of his staff.  Bernini would whip out sort of a rough clay sketch of his idea and his best modelers would turn that sketch into a finished piece for the patron’s approval.

Sculpture by Subtraction

One thing which has always baffled me about sculpture by subtraction (i.e. marble and granite) is how they know where to start.  In sculpture by addition, they work out from a base, and even I can figure out how to add material to make fingers, toes and hair.  But when you’re working with a block of marble, how do they know where to start forming that extended finger or a curl of hair or an elbow?

Bernini’s clay models give us an idea of how that happens, too.  Small holes in the models show where pins were placed.  Then the craftsmen would use string tied between the pins to guide them as they started chipping away at the marble.  I still can’t imagine doing it, but I understand it better.

The Kimball is one of my favorite museums and this may just be the most interesting and informative exhibit they’ve had in a long time.  Yes, I think you should go.  The models are certainly works of art in their own right, but seeing them adds to the appreciation of the final works, of which there are life-sized photos throughout the exhibit.  Besides that. once you see the exhibit, you can pop over to Joe T. Garcia’s for your Tex-Mex fix!