“This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, from France. Rooted in imagination and memory, The Starry Night embodies an inner, subjective expression of van Goghs response to nature. In thick, sweeping brushstrokes, a flamelike cypress unites the churning sky and the quiet village below. The village was partly invented, and the church spire evokes van Gogh’s native land, the Netherlands.
This is one of my favorite paintings, so why did I wait so long to see it? I really have no good excuse other than it never really occurred to me to go. But go I finally did, and I can report, seeing “Starry Nights” in person absolutely took my breath away! The second I turned the corner to where the crowd of people were gathered, I stopped and my heart sang. I literally felt such an excitement like that of an operatic soprano bursting from my chest. Something to check off the bucket list.
What really started this adventure was wanting to see the exhibition of “American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe” running from August 17, 2013 to January 24, 2014. I have always been a fan of those artists, and have a fascination with life depicted in the early 20th century.
Edward Hopper. House by the Railroad. 1925.
According to the MOMA’s press release:
Drawn from MoMA’s collection, American Modern takes a fresh look at the Museum’s holdings of American art made between 1915 and 1950, and considers the cultural preoccupations of a rapidly changing American society in the first half of the 20th century. Including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculptures, American Modern brings together some of the Museum’s most celebrated masterworks, contextualizing them across mediums and amid lesser-seen but revelatory works by artists who expressed compelling emotional and visual tendencies of the time.
The selection of works depicts subjects as diverse as urban and rural landscapes, scenes of industry, still-life compositions, and portraiture, and is organized thematically, with visual connections trumping strict chronology. Artists represented include George Bellows, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, and Andrew Wyeth, among many others. Far from an encyclopedic view of American art of the period, the exhibition is a focused look at the strengths and surprises of MoMA’s collection in an area that has played a major role in the institution’s history.
For a listing of the other works shown, go to: http://press.moma.org/wp-content/files_mf/4_americanmodern_presschecklist2013.pdf.
The best part about visiting the MOMA? Uniqlo is bankrolling FREE FRIDAY NIGHTS. The line snaked around the corner of a long city block, but it moved fast and we were in within 10 minutes. I’m not sure when this promo will be ending, so hightail it over to the MOMA before it goes away and check it off your bucket list.