Saturday, September 6, 2008

My European Trip 10 -- Museum Burlesque


Sketching on the train from Bonn to Cologne
(The original work is from Kunst Museum Bonn)

Visiting museums, like eating and sleeping, is an integral part of my life. Whatever city I visit, museums are always on the top of my to-do list. It is hard to tell to what extent those museums have exerted influence on my life. But I do feel at home with peace and joy, every time I visit a museum. It is the place for inspiration, learning, and enjoyment.

Europe is such an ideal place for museum-lovers. France surely has the most famous collections from museums like Louvre and Orsay. But to my surprise, Germany has numerous impressive museums as well, especially for the modern art. In this article I will share with you some art works from Art Museum of Bonn, Museum for Modern Art, and Städel Museum in Frankfurt.

I. Kunst Museum Bonn

Interestingly, most modern art museums in themselves are great artistic works. For example, Guggenheim Museum, MOMA in New York and San Francisco. This is Kunst Museum Bonn (Museum of Modern Art in Bonn).


The interior design.


Sculpture by Max Ernst, a painter and sculptor of Dadaism and Surrealism.


RECLINING NUDE, by August Macke, one of the leading members of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider).


II. Museum für Moderne Kunst

Museum for Modern Art in Frankfurt. Another impressive building.


This museum was holding a special exhibition dedicated to Bernard Buffet. It was the first time I got to know this great French painter, and I was immediately attracted to his unique paintings.

Painting, we do not talk about it,
we do not analyze it,
we feel it.
---- Bernard Buffet


Bernard Buffet was once feted as being one of France's most important painters and the legitimate successor of Picasso. As the "painter of existentialism" and the man who found the images to describe post-War sensitivities, Buffet's works had a visual presence and renown in West Europe that almost no other painter has achieved since.


Unlike many artists, Buffet wan huge success all over his life. He had his first painting shown at a famous salon at the age of 18 and had his first solo exhibition at the Librarie des Impression d'Art in Paris at the age of 19. Ever since then he kept winning recognition throughout the world.

Poster of Bernard Buffet's exhibition in Taipei.


Chairman Mao on the cover of Magazine Stern (Star in English).


III. The Städel Museum

The Städel Museum is located directly on Frankfurt's "museum bank" opposite the high-rises of the financial district. Established by a banker and businessman in 1815, the Städel Museum is the oldest and most prominent museum foundation in Germany.

The special exhibition held there was "The Magic of Things. Still Life Painting -- 1500 - 1800."

I generally don't have much interest in still life paintings. Though still life offers the most brazen opportunities for artistic arrangement of color, texture and light, they are anything but a purely aesthetic matter. However, a painting called "PEARS WITH INSECTS" caught my special attention. It reminded me of the fleeting nature of life, a universal thought symbolized by the perishable pear.


Perishable fruit -- staged like a monument and unusual among the skill life of the eighteen century -- is like an ironic commentary on traditional still-life painting.


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